It’s been a while since I did a monthly wrap-up. January has been such a phenomenally long month that November seems like it was years ago. I guess the drama of my 2019 wrap-up and my lack of reading in December made it pointless in doing my usual post. But, we’re kicking off 2020 with some good news. I’m pretty sure that this is the most books that I’ve ever read in a month. Well, at least since I left university and wasn’t obliged to read about 4 things a week. How have I done it? Audiobooks. I started reading a physical book on January 1st but I realised quite quickly that it wasn’t going well. Not because of the book but because of my mood. I couldn’t focus and I was too tired stay up to read. I’ll pick it up in February and hope I can get back into the swing of things. But this blog isn’t about looking forward; it’s about looking back.
Number of books read: 8
Number of books on hold: 1
Number of physical books: 0
Number of ebooks: 0
Number of audiobooks: 8
I didn’t finish my first book until January 5th. It was at that point that I really started to worry about getting enough books done to post reviews this month. But I carried on listening to my weekly audiobook and got myself on track. I started with this comedy travelogue from one of the greatest comedy characters ever invented. I enjoyed it. Although, I’m not sure I would have if I’d read the book instead.
I love Neil Gaiman. He’s such an engaging and exciting writer. He manages to create such interesting and new worlds. One of the best things about listening to an audiobook every weekend is that I feel okay about rereading my old favourites. My Neil Gaiman reread started with Coraline last year and I decided to carry on with this number. It’s such a sweet collection of stories tied up in one over-arching narrative. Perfectly read by the author himself.
This was the moment that I think I decided this would be an audiobook month. I had a day off work because of a hospital appointment but had no plans in the afternoon. As it was still early in January, I was tired and lacked energy. So, I listened to an audiobook and attempted to do a jigsaw. The jigsaw didn’t go to plan and, to be honest, neither did the book. I’ve had this for a while but it certainly didn’t live up to expectations.
This was the moment that I started to listen to books at work again. It’s been a slow month in the office and I’ve been able to listen to some books as I work. I’ve been doing the kind of tasks that go well with a story. It’s just a shame that the first one was so uninspiring. I had some high hopes for this one but it wasn’t to be. Just another badly written and badly plotted thriller.
I love James Acaster, so I was really looking forward to this book. I decided to listen to it because I really want to read Perfect Sound Whatever. It made sense to wait until after I’d heard the first one. And what better way to hear it than from the horse’s mouth? Well, there are many as it turns out. I’d heard a lot of these anecdotes before and I’d heard them performed better. Maybe he’s just not the type of comedian whose style lends itself to the written word? Maye it’s just too awkward recounting the tales to yourself in a room? Whatever the reason, I just didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected to.
Sometimes, going back to old favourites can be a wonderful thing. It can reaffirm everything you’ve ever thought about that book and make you fall more in love with it. Other times, you can see how naive you were the first few times. You start to pick up on flaws and inconsistencies. Maybe you’ve also learned that the author is kind of racist, sexist, and homophobic. Maybe you’ve just experienced more of the world. Whatever the reason, the book just isn’t the same. I’m sorry Fahrenheit 451 but I was a little troubled by you this time.
Of course, for every beloved book that can’t live up to your memory, there is a favourite book that finds an even stronger place in your heart. I’ve loved The Monk since I was at university and I don’t think I could ever tire of it. It’s funny, silly, violent, over-the-top, and garish. It’s also sophisticated, deep, political, and a very clever gothic novel. I could and indeed have spoken about my love for this book so much over the years. It is a really entertaining book and one that I’ve wanted to reread for ages. But I’ve never allowed myself because I have such a huge TBR. But, it’s January. I needed cheering up.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I finished this yesterday evening, so it became my 8th and final read of January. First things first, I’m not a big Jane Austen fan. Something my last Friday Favourites post will prove to you. I get that she’s witty and stuff but it’s just not for me. And Pride and Prejudice is definitely not one of the favourites. Still, I decided to give it another go. After all, I’m older and a lot less cynical these days. And by cynical, I mean pompous and stupid. I still couldn’t do it. I’ll post a full review next week.