The Waterstones World Cup of Books Review

As some of you may know, Waterstones did a World Cup of Books poll this week where they let people on Twitter vote on their favourite books. The winner, with 51% of the votes in the grand final, is (drumroll please):

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1. To Kill a Mockingbird

This is undeniably deserved. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the best books I have ever read and it is definitely one of those “everyone should read this” books. The issues discussed are highly relevant to this day and the lessons learned can be applied in infinite situations. Harper Lee’s writing is beautiful and the perspective from which it is written captivated me like no other. The story is told through the eyes of Scout, the daughter of lawyer Atticus Finch, as he defends a black man in court. Scout’s pure but mature view on the world was spectacularly described. If you haven’t read this book yet, get on it! I promise you won’t regret it.

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 2. The Lord of the Rings

I love Harry Potter beyond words and fantasy was always my go-to genre when I was younger, which is why it may come as a surprise that I’ve never read Lord of the Rings. I only watched the film for the first time a couple of weeks ago. The films were, of course, spectacular and because of this poll, I may just have been convinced to add the book to my TBR pile.

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3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Did I hope this HP would win? Of course I did. The sheer impact this book has had on myself and the entire world is unfathomable. I am who I am today because of this book. Harry Potter brought generations back to reading, it began a revolution of children’s fiction and the sheer power of this fandom continues to inspire. The Potterhead in me really wanted it to win, though I would be foolish to ignore the masterpiece of TKMB and the beast that is Lord of the Rings. An understandable outcome, but HP is still the best, in my opinion.

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4. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This is an awesome book.The characters, the storyline, all the various details of space. Awesome! I read this as an audiobook I was walking around the forest back fighting the urge to chuckle to myself because it was so clever. It’s  a brilliantly enjoyable book and it might be exactly why it is so high up on this list. It is a great book.

 

Did you vote? What do you think of the results? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

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Top 5 Inspiring Female Authors

In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought it would be appropriate to acknowledge some of the most influential female authors in history. Trust me, I would have liked this list to be longer, but there is always next year.

  1. J.K. ROWLING

    I’m sure it comes as no surprise that J.K isBritain Scotland Celebrities part of this list. The Harry Potter novels have impacted millions of lives and is considered the most successful book series of all time. The Harry Potter universe has grown to include a range of books, films, a play, a studio tour, a theme park, an interactive website and a lot more. She has worked incredibly hard to get where she is and she only continues to inspire us.

  2. HARPER LEE

    03-harper-lee-2-w750-h560-2xLee only ever wrote two books, but her huge impact on literature is clear. To Kill a Mockingbird is an incredible novel and an instant classic. She debated racial inequality and injustice in the purest way possible, through the eyes of children. Lee won a Pulitzer for the book and was in 2007 awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.

  3. JANE AUSTEN

    Jane Austen died 200 years ago this yearjane_austen_coloured_version (if you
    find yourself in the proximity of Winchester, I recommend you attend the Jane Austen 200 exhibition this summer). Her writing has inspired women everywhere, and her discussion of women’s dependence in the pursuit of a socially and economically successful marriages is incredibly important. Her face will be on the new £10 note, which will be released this summer. It is clear she is one of the most influential female authors in history.

  4. SIGRID UNDSET

    undsetsakUndset was a Norwegian novelist who wrote a trilogy about a woman living in the middle ages. In 1928 she won the Nobel Prize for Literature for the series. She tackled issues such as women’s emancipation and other ethical issues. She was also catholic, which was highly unusual in Norway, a primarily Lutheran country, and she received a lot of criticism for her religion. This inspired her in her writing later and prompted her to participate in several debates, giving her the nickname “The Catholic Woman” and “The Mistress of Bjerkebæk.”

  5. LAURA INGALLS WILDER

    Wilder wrote the Little House on the Prairie series. My laura_ingalls_wilder_cropped_sepia2mother received these books when she was a child and when she passed them on to me, I fell in love instantly. It is such a compelling story and has remained one of my favourite children’s book series. Her writing  would inspire many authors of children’s books later. The hit TV-series, Little House on the Prairie, from the 1970s-1980s was based on her book series.

 

WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS HAVE INSPIRED YOU?

My Top 5 Science Fiction Books

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

1. GONEgone_michael_grant

GONE is a mind-blowing science fiction series which deserves so much more hype than it currently has. It is without a doubt my favourite science fiction series and few, if any, have ever kept me on the edge of my seat as much as GONE has. The quick moving plot, varied character base and intense storytelling bodes for a reading experience like no other.

PLOT

In an instant, every person over the age of 15 disappears. Only young children are left behind and the events that follow are disastrous. There are no phones, no Internet and no way of finding out what has happened. Eventually, the children start changing, developing new abilities, people riot, hunger strikes, a war is rising. For everyone, time is running out. When you turn 15, you disappear without a trace.

 

2. FAHRENHEIT 45141cx8my2unl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

This book is a brilliant read. It immediately became my favourite stand-alone science fiction book. The concept is fascinating, and as a book lover, this premise is undeniably painful to read. What made this book an instant favourite is Bradbury’s literary skills. His poetic writing style is rare and makes the book an instant modern classic. I want to read this again and again.

PLOT

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

3. THE HUNGER GAMEShungergamescover

This book has become the epitome of dystopian science fiction and I am a dedicated fan of the series. Over the years I have read quite a few similar dystopian novels and the Hunger Games remains one of the absolute best. While the romantic triangle is a trope I could do without, the concept of the Games is undeniably fascinating. A hundred years from now I believe the Hunger Games will be considered one of the classic dystopian fiction books of the early 21st century.

PLOT

In a post-apocalyptic America, The Hunger Games is an annual televised competition where 24 children compete in a battle to the death. Two contestants are chosen from each of the country’s districts as a punishment for a rebellion that happened in the past. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. She sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

4. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY51bxlbtslyl-_sx304_bo1204203200_

I specifically bought this as an audiobook to listen to it while out walking. This book is incredibly funny and I kept extending my walks solely because I wanted to keep listening. The seemingly random facts and specific descriptions are hilariously funny in a way few books are. Douglas Adams has a limitless imagination that he so amazingly demonstrates by creating the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is the most science fictiony science fiction-book I know, and I am eternally grateful it exists, for it has brought me very much joy.

PLOT

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

5. THE MAZE RUNNERthe_maze_runner_cover

The Maze Runner surprised me. Its initial premise reminded me of a combination of GONE and the Hunger Games, and what could be better than that? The story itself, however, is completely original and dangerously intense. What I loved about this book series it its ending. Science fiction often ends on a slightly disappointing note, either because I want more detailed explanations or a different ending entirely, but the Maze Runner has a simultaneously open and closed conclusive ending that really stuck with me and made the whole book series stand out from the crowd.

PLOT

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SCIENCE FICTION BOOKS?