I’m not going to give you excuses as to why I’m so behind on my book reviews, I’m just going to work on playing catch up. Luckily for me, many of the things I’ve been reading are books that are coming out from January – May, so that gives me plenty of time to write thought provoking and riveting reviews. [Insert laughter here] Below are some of the books I’ve read lately that are available at your local bookstore.
Longbourn by Jo Baker
There have been many adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but this is by far one of the most creative versions I’ve read. Jo Baker was a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice, but always wondered about what went on beneath the main floorboards at the Bennett’s Longbourn estate. So she created her own account by giving a voice to young servant Sarah. She lives with Mr. & Mrs. Hill and Polly. All are responsible for cleaning, washing clothes and cooking/serving food to the Bennett family. Things take an unexpected turn when James shows up looking for work. Mysterious James intrigues Sarah and their romance slowly begins to take shape.
Readers are quite familiar with the story of Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but as you’re reading Longbourn, you’ll start to forget what’s taking shape upstairs and be thrust into a whole new and unfforbidden love story between Sarah and James. A beautiful and original rendition of a well loved story.
Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
Yes, the big spoiler was revealed before the book hit the shelves and if you’ve been living under a rock, here’s your chance to look away, because I’m about to share what happens. The loveable and charming Mark Darcy has died and Bridget is left to pick up the pieces. Now at 50+, she’s once again a singleton with two children. Gone are the days of bottles of wine and dressing up like a playboy bunny, this new Bridget is packing lunches and searching her child’s head for lice.
It was wonderful to revisit Bridget’s life, despite the fact that one of my favourite elements of her story was removed. We still had the clumsy, yet charming Bridget and I laughed out loud a couple of times while reading. Bridget’s story has been one I’ve been following since the first book was released in 1996, but I’ll be honest and say I’ve always preferred the movies to the books. That being said, I think the book had moments of charm and wit and if you’ve ever read or seen any of Bridget’s adventures, you’ll have to read this great book to see how Bridget’s journey ends.
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
I actually don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but every one in our office was talking about the brilliance that is Isabel Greenberg’s The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, so I had to pick up a copy. This book was a beautiful and stunning package. I compared it to those Russian dolls (known as Matryoshka Dolls) where each doll decreases size and lives inside the other. Why that analogy you ask? Because at the start of this graphic novel, we’re introduced to a young boy that begins telling a story. Each story weaves into the one before it, so that they can stand alone on their own, but they work so much better when they’re all linked together.
This is Isabel Greenberg’s debut graphic novel and the concepts and ideas that she’s formulated are nothing short of brilliance. I had the pleasure of meeting her and she said most of the inspiration came from watching a BBC program as a ten-year-old where there was violence and intricate ideas that “kind of frightened her”, but lucky for us readers, helped to formulate this stunning story.
If you’re like me and you’ve been devouring books, share with me what you’ve been reading in the comments!