I’m back in the world of blogging….

I must apologise to my readers because I hug my books has being a little quite of late. I haven’t purposefully neglected my blog, I’ve being in Paris for the past week and frustratingly couldn’t get access to the internet. Not being able to access your blog certainly makes you realise how much you miss it.

It was great to come back however and see all of the wonderful comments left and to check out everyone else’s blogs and what they had been reading. I didn’t do my usual monthly wind up post last month due to being away, however I thought I would briefly share with you here my reading experiences in February.

The month began with the brilliant The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks which was kindly recommended to me by Sammy Dee as part of my Day Zero challenge. For years people have being telling me to read this book and yet I’ve always put it off. Something about the blurb and it’s promise of unprecedented violence put me off. More fool me because not only was the book amazing but it was one of my favourites this year.

 Next up was Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay, this book as you will see from my review blew me away and had me captivated from the first to last page. The book formed part of a book tour hosted by TLC book tours, I must again thank them for asking me to take part, again this was one of my favourite books this year. I’d highly recommend this story, especially to those interested in Russian history and ballet.

Last up was Moby Dick by, this is the book up for discussion at our next book group meet this week. Therefore I will refrain from saying too much about it now. I’m still not completely finished the book but I think I can be forgiven for that when it’s such a weighty number.

I don’t have too many concrete plans for March, I need to finish Moby Dick by Herman Melville and I’ve recently also started my very first Agatha Christie book, By The Pricking Of Thumbs, after that I’m keeping my options open. Does anyone have any recommendations, after all my recent ones have being brilliant. What’s everyone else’s plans for March and did you read anything interesting in February?

On another note my blog will be a whole year old this month. I will be running a quiz and giveaway to celebrate so do keep an eye out for that. Happy Reading everyone.

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The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Shocking and unconventional. Nothing about The Wasp Factory will fail to impress upon your mind. Enter if you dare.

At a very young age Frank suffered a terrible, life altering accident. The particulars of this incident are ambiguous but it’s clear that it’s deeply scarred and shaped him into the boy he is.

To say the least Frank is a peculiar boy. Living on a small island in Scotland with just his father, he spends his days isolated from the local boys his own age and instead fills his time tormenting and chasing the local wildlife. He sets fire to rabbits and captures wasps only to torture them in a contraption called ‘The Wasp Factory’.

Not only this but by the tender age of 16 he has murdered three children. Of course Frank doesn’t intend to be a murderer, it was a phase. He had to do it; the factory told him.

Severely out of touch with reality Frank guards his tiny strip of land as a king might his castle. Any perceivable threats to his precious world must be treat with the most serious and more often than not violent actions.

When news travels to him that his older brother has escaped from a mental institution and is heading back to the island Frank goes in to over drive. Panic stricken, his tightly controlled world is under threat. Consulting the wasp factory for aid means sacrificing wasps, raining terror on the local animals, creating sacrifice poles and consulting the skull of an old dead dog.

But if your reading this and thinking what a gruesome and awful book this must make then think again. Yes the content can be a little heavy and there certainly are parts of the story that you might need to put down and start again. But for me these moments weren’t without purpose; Banks uses the character of Frank to exhibit the many contributing factors that have led to him being such a lonely, violent and unusual person.

I was particular harrowed by the way his father raised him; a past hippy he chose never to officially announce Franks birth, therefore for all intents and purposes he is a visiting cousin to the family. There is no official record of his existing and all of this has led Frank to be a boy extremely detached from the real world.

To me Frank seemed like an intense exaggeration of an ordinary boy in a damaging world. An example perhaps of the effects such a masculine and violent culture can have on young boys. All little boys are taught to be fighters, to play with toy guns. But Frank and his unusual circumstances seems to have propelled in to deeper more serious depths.

Or maybe there is no reason for Frank’s insanity? Maybe he is just an extreme and singular case?

I finished the book a few weeks ago and still I find myself debating and thinking about the many meanings of the book and the reason why Frank is the way he is.

From start to finish the book had me riveted. I felt beyond intrigued by the world Banks creates.

On paper I thought I would hate this book, overly violent just to shock the masses. That’s what I thought The Wasp Factory would be.

But in reality this book is an excellent, original and important exploration of the human mind, the effect of society upon in it and the dark more intricate habits of human nature.

Thank you to Sammy Dee from Manchester Meanders for recommending this book to me. In all honesty I probably would have just disregarded it otherwise.

What about everyone else? Have you read this book? Do you love it or loath it? I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks.

Goodbye January….Hello February

Yikes is it really already February? Where does the time go? If things have been a little quiet at I hug my books recently it’s thanks to hectic schedules and nasty college deadlines. But thankfully I’ve still managed to squeeze in some brilliant reading, some I’ve shared with you, some I’m looking forward to sharing soon.

I began the month with The Particular Sadness of Lemon cake which I enjoyed despite it really not being my usual kind of book. I hadn’t given it too much thought after reading and reviewing it until a friend asked me my thoughts just the other day. It made me re-asses my feelings and realize just how much I’d liked this book in spite of the unusual and unpredictable turn that it took.

Next up was another book that I probably wouldn’t normally read, Ask The Dusk by John Fante. Thanks to a work colleague insisting I try it I was soon immersed in the wonderful world of Arturo Bandini, enjoying another novel set in the heart of L.A. A setting that doesn’t usually show up in the books I read but one that fascinates me.

I then read The Secret Life of bee’s which was given to me as a gift. I’m yet to post my review so I’ll remain quite hushed up on this one for now. Also I haven’t quite made up my mind on this book. I enjoyed it, in the momentt, but it was one of those books that once finished seems to vanish from your memory almost immediately.

And lastly a book I’m not likely to forget anytime soon is The Shadow of The Wind which I read just the other day as part of my book group. Again I’m yet to post my review but once I do I’m sure you’ll find I was enthralled by Zafon’s magical story  and the mesmerizing world he has created. I’ll also be posting the thoughts of my fellow book groupers. There will also be a small quiz posted on this book in the near future with a chance to win a free book. More details to follow shortly.

For now I don’t really have any solid reading plans other than reading The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks which I’ve finally managed to get a copy of from my local library. I’m also going to be reading Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay as part of a book blog tour, more details of that to come soon.

So what about everyone else? Read anything god this month? Got any plans for February? I’d love to hear what you’ve being up to reading wise.