My birthday was over a month ago now but I’ve been meaning to do a birthday books haul for a while now! If you’re anything like me, when your birthday comes around and you’re asked for some present ideas, the list I create is pretty much just my reading wish list. This year was absolutely no different. I already shared my ‘to be read’ list this year, but now I’ve got an even longer list for the rest of this year!
Most of the books I received for my birthday were ones I asked for or ones people thought I would like, plus one that I counted as a little birthday present to myself!
Throughout the year, I buy myself the odd book here and there if I spot a good offer or one I’ve been wanting for a while is put on sale, but I also keep a list in my phone notes of books I’ve seen cropping up on bestseller lists or featuring pretty heavily on Instagram. I like to read the synopsis to see if it’s the kind of book I’ll like – although I’m open to reading pretty much anything – and then I ask for it for my birthday.
So, here’s the list of books I received for my 22nd birthday – there’s definitely quite a mixture; we have classics, Instagram faves, bestsellers and even a pretty niche autobiography!
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins
Synopsis: It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit and outmanoeuvre his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favour or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
The 14-year-old in me just had to have this book. Like so many young adults around the world, I absolutely adored The Hunger Games series and when I heard another, similar book was being released by the same author, I knew I wanted to read it. I’ve heard that it’s quite different to the original series but I’m looking forward giving it a go.
Without A Doubt – Marcia Clark
Synopsis: From the outside, the prosecution’s case looked bulletproof, but Marcia Clark knew better. Mountains of physical evidence connected O.J. Simpson to the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, but that didn’t mean it would be easy. For the woman charged with prosecuting the ‘Trial of the Century’, the light of fame would glow white hot as the media scrutinized her strategy, her family, even her hair. As the case spun out of control, Marcia Clark stood tall – a single mother fighting an army of overpaid attorneys and a judge who let the media coverage go to his head. Now she tells her story.
The bloody glove, the botched evidence collection, the LAPD’s war with the black community of Los Angeles – Marcia Clark understands every moment of the O.J. Simpson trial like no one else. In this gripping account of her life, her career and the trial that made her a legend, Clark shows what it truly means to fight for justice.
I’ve mentioned my interest in the O.J. Simpson trial before as I love Kim Goldman’s podcast but after watching the popular dramatised retelling of the trial, I was intrigued to read Marcia Clark’s perspective on the whole thing. The sexism and scrutiny she faced was horrendous and I’m so interested to hear her side.
The Beach – Alex Garland
Synopsis: The classic coming-of-age novel telling of a paradise found – and lost. Backpacker Richard lands in East Asia in search of an earthly Utopia. In Thailand he is given a map promising an unknown island, a secluded beach – a new way of life. What Richard finds when he gets there is breathtaking: more extraordinary, more frightening than his wildest dreams. But how long can paradise survive here on Earth? And what lengths will Richard go to in order to save it?
This book was actually bought for me by a friend after they enjoyed it. It sounds very different to anything I’ve read before but I always love reading something someone else has loved and it sounds like such an interesting story. I’m intrigued to read something set in Asia too as the books I’ve read before are usually set in the UK or the US.
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Synopsis: It’s Christmas time and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters – shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends. The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning.
Synopsis taken from Penguin.com
I never read The Catcher in the Rye at school – we were given Of Mice and Men instead – and I’ve always wanted to. I have to be honest, I had no idea what it was about until I looked into it but it’s widely regarded as a classic and it sounds like something I’ll enjoy!
Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn
Synopsis: It’s been a while… but Camille Preaker has finally gone home. Sent to investigate the disappearance of two little girls Camille finds herself reluctantly installed in the family mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and a precocious thirteen-year-old half sister she barely knows. Haunted by a family tragedy, troubled by the disquieting grip her younger sister has on the town, Camille struggles with a familiar need to be accepted. But as clues turn into dead ends, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims and realises: she will have to unravel the puzzle of her own past if she’s to survive this homecoming.
Although I’ve never actually read Gone Girl, also from Gillian Flynn, I loved the film and have been assured her writing and stories are just as good. I’ve been loving murder mysteries and thrillers recently and this seems like another to get my teeth into.
The Truants – Kate Weinberg
Synopsis: Jess Walker is drawn into a tightly knit group of rule-breakers in her first year at university, and begins to experiment with a new version of herself. But the dynamic between the friends – and their maverick professor – begins to darken as they share secrets, lovers and finally a tragedy. Soon, Jess is faced with the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?
One of my friends actually got this book for her birthday and as soon as I read the blurb, I knew I had to read it. Again, it seems to be another thriller or mystery, and I love books set at university. I don’t know if I’ve just not seen many but I find it really difficult to find books set at university; if you know any good ones, let me know!
Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Synopsis: Everybody knows Daisy Jones and The Six. From the moment Daisy walked barefoot on to the stage at the Whisky, she and the band were a sensation. Their sound defined an era. Their albums were on every turntable. They sold out arenas from coast to coast. This is the story of their incredible rise: the ambition, the desire, the rivalry – and the music. And then, on 12 July 1979, Daisy Jones and The Six split up. Nobody knew why… until now.
This was definitely an Instagram and book blogger inspired choice. I’ve seen this book absolutely everywhere and I’ve heard such good things about it. It seems right up my street and I’m looking forward to reading.
The Flatshare – Beth O-Leary
Synopsis: Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, it seems this flatshare is more complicated than expected.
Another Instagram and book blogger one! I’ve seen so many reviews of this book and so many people seem to love it. I’ve actually started reading this one already and it seems like a nice light-hearted read which I’m looking forward to. Hopefully a review will be coming soon.
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
Synopsis: Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman. A handsome thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises The Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. Just what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?
I’d seen this book all over bestseller lists and I was in Tesco on a lunch break and thought ah, I’ll pick that up! It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realised I’d actually bought The Rosie Result, a later book in the series! So, I thought my birthday was the perfect opportunity to ask for the first book so I could get started on the series.
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Synopsis: Meg longs for marriage; Amy wants to be a painter; Beth is content to stay at home: while Jo wants adventure and a life without limits. Four decidedly different sisters, growing up during the American Civil War, each face their own unique challenge. Little Women tells the story of the March sisters. Through parties, travel, illness, arguments, dinners, love affairs and ice skating escapades, we follow these unforgettable women as they come of age.
I’ve not really read too many widely regarded classics so I thought I’d ask for another to grow my collection and get reading. To be honest, this was a choice based on that Friends episode where Joey and Rachel swap books. I feel like that episode was a huge spoiler for me, but I’m still excited to read the story.
So, those are all the books I received for my birthday this year! I’m hoping to do some reviews once I’ve read these, but I’ve got such a long ‘to be read’ list at the moment so I’m not sure when they’ll come – it might even be a year or so!
Have you read any of these books? Anything else you think I’ll enjoy based on my choices?