RECENTLY READ #13

15 Feb 2016


GANG LEADER FOR A DAY // SUDHIR VENTKATESH

This was a recommended book to read for my Sociology course this year and, from the raving reviews I got off my teachers, I knew it would be worth a read and it was. Following Ventkatesh's 10 years as he studies some housing projects in America, you really get a feel for the way things are run in this particular gang, The Black Kings and how the community feels towards them. It was quite surprising to see how things we were run and how the public services seemed disregard those living in these housing projects. What I loved most about this book is seeing Sudhir strike up a sort of "your a gang leader I'm studying but yet your basically a friend" relationship with J.T as well as hearing the stories of other residents. From a sociology student's perspective, this is a great one to read for your studies into carrying out research and studying crime and punishment. But also, from an avid reader's perspective, it's also so interesting to read and I think it' actually written well. It cuts down 10 years of reseach into just short of 300 pages picking out the most important events. Half way through, things did start to die down which is why I didn't give it five stars but overall it gives us a serious insight into the inequality and reasons why gangs evolve in poverty ridden areas as well as showing the solidarity between the residents and even showing the positive sides of gang culture.

ARISTOTLE & DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE // BEN ALIRE SAENZ 


Apart from good reviews, my knowledge of what I as about to read was limited. I didn't even know it was a YA contempory till after a few chapters- it just shows to not judge a book by its cover otherwise this would have been science fiction in my opinion. I love YA and this was another great one to add to the list. It follows the friendship between Aristotle and Dante across 2 summers as their friendship blossoms. It's a story of two opposites that seem to fit like a jigsaw. I really did enjoy this book and the tone reminded be a lot of Where Things Come Back. The storyline was nothing drastic but I think that helped me focus on the underlying points of the book. An element I loved was the parents. For once they weren't lousy parents who left them as a kid or were alcoholics or, in a lot of YA books, not even there so seeing each boy interact with their own parents as well as the others was nice and also funny in parts. The reason this dropped a star was mostly to do with the ending. Without spoiling anything, I could feel the book going the way it was but I didn't want it to- just to leave some bits up to the readers imagination or to show that not everything happens the way it seemed. That probably won't make sense unless you've read the book so maybe come back and read this once you have and it might make more sense. It was a book that came at the right time for me with it being such an easy, enjoyable read of friendship and family. Would definitely recommend.

ROOM // EMMA DONOGHUE


Saving the best till last comes the unique story from a very unique perspective. This was the first book I decided to download on to my Kindle after seeing numerous reviews as well as the film trailer. It follows the story of a woman who was kidnapped and locked in a room for 7 years and in those 7 years she had a child named Jack. The story opens on Jack's first birthday where it is Jack telling us about life in the room. We soon realise that Jack believes that room is the only place on earth and that it's just him, Ma and Old Nick. It's Jack and Ma's story of survival, escape, and readjustment. It might seem like a very un relatable story line but somehow it pulls at your heart strings and make you able link it to your own life which I love. This book was nothing short of perfection for me. Some parts were tense, others moving. It made me feel whole when I finished it and there's not one aspect I would wish to change- even the long chapters I didn't mind! 

I've starting this reading year off great with 3 fabulous books! While it's now half term and I should be enjoying even more books, I'm having to read a lot for my English course including another excruciating re-read of the Kelly Gang so which me luck!
Have you read any of the books mentioned? And what have you read recently?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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