How long to do you struggle with a book before deciding to give up on it? When I was younger, I used to percevier with books I didn’t enjoy just so I could feel like I’d achieved something. Although, that was back during the days when it would take me around a month to finish a single book. Now, my time is so precious that I can’t waste my time on books I don’t like. Although, there are times when I go back into that mindset. I get so far and just think “I might as well get all the way through.” This was one of those times. It took me around a week to get this finished and it wasn’t even that long a book. It’s one that I’ve had on my TBR for a while and one that I was quite excited about. So, what went wrong?
I’ve had this book for a while now and never even attempted to pick it up. It’s the first book by Jasper Fforde that I’ve tried to read but I know of him. By which I mean I’ve heard of his Thursday Next series but never bothered to read them. They just sounded a bit too whimsical for my liking. In reality, I’d probably enjoy them but I just haven’t had the inclination. This sounded too good to ignore and I always prefer a standalone to a series. It sort of sounded like Snowpiercer and was released during the time when I was still fully obsessed with that film. So, I bought it and, last month, I finally decided to read it. Mostly because I’m pretty short of E book titles.
I’d better get this out of the way at the start of this review: I’m not really a fan of The Beatles. I should clarify that point. I do think they have pretty decent music for the time. However, I reject the idea that The Beatles are the greatest band of all time. Did they influence music? Yes. But were they really pushing the boundaries of music? Not on your nelly. Even in the 60s, they weren’t the most interesting and exciting band around. I mean you’re looking at the same decades that saw the birth of The Kinks, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. Just because The Beatles sold millions doesn’t mean they are any good. Look at Ed fucking Sheeran. Popularity is no indication of how “good” a band is. The Beatles were safe and wrote very lovely songs about falling in love. Of course, girls were going to eat it up. So, straight off the bat, Richard Curtis’ film didn’t sit well with me. The Beatles didn’t change the face of popular music as much as people will tell you. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Admittedly, we’re a select group of people but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong. Again, the number of fans isn’t the same as the amount of talent. Look at Taylor Swift. If anyone can offer me an argument for why the Beatles are the greatest band ever without mentioning the number of fans or record sales then I’m all ears. Until then, I know who’s right. And it’s not Richard Curtis. It’s never Richard Curtis.
One of my best friends works for Vintage books so she is constantly offering to pick up cheap books for me. I know I know. I’m making it sound like a bad thing when it’s not. The only problem is that I never remember to ask her. I buy the book myself and then have to put up her with telling me she could have got it for me. So, when I heard about Ian McEwan’s latest book dealing with AI, I knew this was one of the times I should take her up on it. I was a massive fan of Ian McEwan as a teenager but I’ve lost my way over the last few years. Basically, everything after On Chesil Beach has remained unread on my shelf. And I’ve been okay with that. Sweet Tooth and Solar I wasn’t that interested in but I did really want to read The Children Act and Nutshell. Honestly, I did. I just never got round to it. But this one sounded interesting. An alternate reality 1980s where AI technology exists. Part of me was worried, though. AI has become a bit of a thing in literature recently and I wasn’t sure that McEwan was the best to add to the conversation. But, I couldn’t let my friend down again.