As I mention far too often, I’m currently taking part in a virtual book club. It’s something my friend set up at the start of the first lockdown and one that I joined after a couple of months. I never thought of myself as a book club kind of person but I’m really enjoying discussing the books every week. My major problem is having nothing of interest to say, which mostly happens with books that I don’t really like. When the monthly pick is an underwhelming book, I tend to forget a lot about it before the meeting. Part of the reason that I try and read the book as close to the deadline as possible. Luckily for me, there has only been a couple of duds since I joined. In fact, it’s been a great range of titles that I’m really glad to have had the chance to read. This month, I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the potential titles, so I didn’t even vote. Considering how it’s turned out, I think I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about taking responsibility for yourself.
When I review the first book in the Artemis Fowl series, I mentioned that wanted to read it before watching the film. It’s always tricky when it comes to book adaptations that you care about. Especially when you care about it for nostalgic reasons. You obviously want to it be as good as possible, but you also know that there will have to be changes. You can’t get everything into a film version without the runtime being uncomfortably long. Which is why I don’t normally reread books just before I watch a film. Otherwise, you’re too close to it to be objective. But with Artemis Fowl, it had been too long since I’d read the series for me to be happy to watch it. I needed to refamiliarise myself a little more first. But would it be my undoing? I was already going in with low expectations thanks to the criticism the film garnered. Would my recent reread cause even more problems? I had to find out.
It’s becoming something of a tradition that I read at least one Agatha Christie book each month. Not only are they super easy to get through but they just make me feel happy. Considering what the past 12 months have been like, we all need to dedicate more time to the things that make us happy. Christie is not only a fantastic writer but she has an incredibly wicked streak. As I say every time I review one of her books, she understands people and what might compel them to commit murder. In my recent rereadings of her novels, I haven’t actually read any Miss Marple stories yet. I think in terms of the books, I prefer a lot of the Poirot novels but who can’t love Miss Marple. I also think the ITV adaptations of these novels were fabulous. They made a few changes and modernisations but they capture the spirit perfectly. The adaptation of this novel is definitely one of the better ones.
What have you been reading this week?
I love the idea of a 4-day working week. Starting working on Tuesday was a lot less stressful than it will be tomorrow. Although, I can’t say that it’s been a good week but that’s mostly because the other guy in my role was on holiday. That means I was doing the work of 2 people over a shorter period. Friday was a particularly rough day and I was glad to see the weekend. I really need some time off. I can see things only getting busier over the next few weeks. So, I’m also getting ready for my reading to drop off dramatically too. I’m already struggling to read and am having to resort to audiobooks to get me through. I’ve got nothing against them but I’m not exactly concentrating on them as much as I should. I’m about to tackle our super short book club read, which I hope will get me out of this funk. But we’ll see.
It’s not very often that I watch a film adaptation after just reading the book, so I normally don’t get as good a sense of just how much is changed. I mean, yes, I have an idea but it’s never quite as vivid as it was this week. I watched The Remains of the Day the evening after I’d finished reading the book. That’s pretty damn fresh in my mind. As such, I was probably a little more annoyed by the changes made to the original story. Well, after you’ve read something as perfect as Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, how can a film adaptation ever be as good? Still, I knew that I couldn’t let this get in the way too much. I don’t want to be one of those book fans who always pretend the book is massively better than the film.
As much as I enjoyed Klara and the Sun last month, it did leave me with a great desire to reread this beauty. I read a fair few reviews that described the ending of Ishiguro’s latest novel was the most heartbreaking of his career. Yes, it was sad but the most devastating ending? He’s an author who doesn’t think twice about leaving you on the edge of an emotional precipice but I found Klara quite tame in comparison to his earlier work. Particularly this one. I honestly believe that The Remains of the Day has one of the saddest endings I’ve ever read. Yet, it’s a sad ending with hopefulness. This really is quite a book and it was definitely about time that I reread it.
I first found out about this book because of Instagram. I’d been following Harriet Young (thesenovelthoughts) for a while so I had been aware that she was writing her first novel. When she was looking for funding on Unbound, it didn’t take a lot of persuasion for me to preorder it. I was fascinated by the story and the history of the Pendle witch trials. I’ve been waiting to read this one for a long time and, when it arrived last moth, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Of course, it was just a huge coincidence that it also crossed off one more letter on my Spell the Month Challenge.
I always knew that I could never maintain my pace of reading 10 books each month but I didn’t expect things to turn around so abruptly. It took me ages to get into the books I was reading this month. Even the ones I was most excited about. I was worried about finishing my monthly reading challenge but, thankfully, I got there. Hopefully, April will be a bit less of a struggle.
Number of books read: 7
Number of rereads: 0
Number of physical books: 2
Number of ebooks: 1
Number of audiobooks: 4
Number of 5* reviews: 2
Number of 4.5* reviews: 1
Number of 4* reviews: 2
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t put much effort into my film choice for this week but things haven’t gone as I expected this weekend. Being incredibly exhausted and pretty busy was a terrible combination. So, when it came time to watch something, I was mostly looking for something quick and tat didn’t require any real effort. At one point, I’d considered watching the Snyder cut of Justice League but I wasn’t capable of concentrating on something for over 4 hours. Especially something that I didn’t enjoy enough the first time to really want to watch again. Instead of Snyder, I turned to Netflix and found the least appealing film that I could find. The fact that it ran to just under 90 minutes was just a happy bonus.
I have been a lover of Agatha Christie for a long time but I’ve never read any of the novels that she published under her pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Mostly because of the way they’ve been labelled. If there’s anything more likely to get me to avoid a book it’s referring to it as a romance novel. It’s not that I think romance novels are bad but it’s just not my thing. Love is a fact of life but that doesn’t mean I need to read about it for 200-300 pages. I will read the odd romance every now and them but I prefer something a bit darker. Give me a love story full of grisly murder and maybe we can talk. Otherwise, I’ll probably look elsewhere. Although, I decided that I couldn’t really call myself a true Christie fan if I didn’t at least try to read her other books. Why pick this one? It was the first one I saw and it crossed off a letter on my monthly reading challenge.