Can we all come to some sort of agreement, please? That we stop comparing contemporary crime thrillers to Agatha Christie? I know that she still has a reputation as a cosy crime writer but Christie is the type of writer that very few can live up to. She has a deep understanding of human behaviour and knows how to mislead her readers convincingly. I blame her writing for the fact that I so often guess book twists. She, and to some extent Arthur Conan Doyle, has trained me to start thinking too critically about everything I read. I’m always disappointed by modern crime books. Especially those super hyped ones that everyone loves. Like The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. I’ve heard so many people praising it but I was not blown away. I’d guessed who the victim was from the start and it was super obvious who had killed them. So, I hadn’t intended to read her follow-up The Guest List. Until the ebook was on offer. It might not be a great read but at least it would dull the boredom for a while.
June went by in a bit of a whirlwind, didn’t it? What should have been a great month where I celebrated the work of LGBTQ writers and stories, became something else entirely. The death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests made a huge impact all over the world. It’s something we’ve all experienced before but something feels different this time. Although, I say that in July when it’s apparent that the media are already changing the narrative. I hope we don’t get to the end of the month and find that we’re all back to how we were before. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Today is for looking back on the past 30 days.
It’s been a long and stressful week this week. Friday was a busy day and I had to work extra to get it done. Of course, as I’m working from home, I’m not getting paid for it. Not that I mind but it doesn’t help that I get the feeling my boss doesn’t think I’m working hard enough. I was asked to come back to work this week because he’d apparently forgotten that I was high risk. I mean we had that exact conversation when lockdown started but why the hell would he think to remember a thing like that? As you can tell, I’ve been in a pretty dire mood this weekend. I could not be bothered with anything yesterday. I doubt I’ll be in a better mood today. Which means I’ll be starting off the week in a terrible mood as well. I just really need a holiday.
One of the most underappreciated films at the 91st Academy Awards was Barry Jenkins’ adaption of If Beale Street Could Talk. It was nominated a measly 3 times in total. To put that in context, the boring remake of A Star is Born got 8. Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody both got 5. That’s fucking insane. Even more insane is the fact that it only won 1 of those 3. Maybe the Academy thought that they’d done Barry Jenkins enough of a favour when they gave Moonlight the award for Best Picture? Or maybe they just thought that they’d done enough to fight racism that year by giving fucking Green Book so much recognition? Whatever it was, it was a travesty. I loved the film though and, once I’d started to compile my anti-racist reading list, I knew that I had to read the original book. So, I started it this weekend and finished it just in time for this review.
It feels as though it’s been a busy week with everything going on at work. It’s nothing too major but my boss isn’t making working from home any easier. Getting everyone to stop for updates every 5 minutes for updates really doesn’t help anything get done. But never mind. The positive thing about working from home is that as soon as the day is done, I’m done. No more commuting. I know that my journey home isn’t exactly long but it’s a lot longer than simply walking upstairs. It does make it a whole lot easier to signoff and destress at the end of the day.
I, like so many people in the last few weeks, have added a lot of anti-racist books to my reading list. The majority of them were the sort of books that I should have read a long time ago but I’m really bad at reading non-fiction. Not just political or social non-fiction. There’s something about non-fiction that makes it seem so intense. It’s not the kind of reading that I think really works when you’re struggling to stay away. But, in the wake of yet another death at the hands of an American police officer, I knew that I had to do better. At the same time, I’d joined forces with some people I knew on Instagram to try and start a conversation about racism. We decided that we would all read this book and then talk about it as a group and with our followers. I know, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot but it’s all about making positive steps right now. Ideally, I’d be out showing my support but I can’t. So, I’ll use what small platform that I have to help spread a positive message. To help share other people’s stories. Starting with Reni Eddo-Lodge.
It feels like ages since I last posted something on here. Given how everything has gone in the last week or so, I’m glad that I made the decision to stop posting here. It would have felt weird trying to act as if everything is normal when so many people are fighting for their basic human rights. I’ve always considered myself to be anti-racist but I’ve realised that I’ve been doing the bare minimum. So, I’ve taken the last few days to think about who I am and what I can do to help. That includes reading and learning as much as I can. Meaning my June wrap-up may have a bit of a theme to it. For now, one week late, it’s time to look back on my last month.
Just a quick one this week. I’ve got a busy few days ahead. I’ve got a big work-related project on and it’s taking my time away from me. Which is why I’ve decided to take a week off blogging. I just need a break. But, don’t fear, there’s a big chance that I’m going to be furloughed as of next week. That means I’ll have more time to write nonsense for you to read. I might even get a few more things read. Won’t that be a novel experience. It’s not set in stone though. I find out on Tuesday. Still, I thought they were going to sack me so being furloughed is a welcome shock. I mean they might still fire me but at least not in the middle of a pandemic when I can’t leave the house to find a new job.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been rewatching the whole of the Game of Thrones TV adaptation. Until season 7 and 8, it was a great reminder of how good a show it was. It’s weird to think now, that it was once one of the greatest shows ever created. It also got me wishing that George RR Martin was ready to release the next instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I can’t even remember how long ago it was that I read A Dance With Dragons. When the new book eventually comes out, I’m not going to be able to remember a damn thing that happened. Not that I’m complaining. I’d rather he take his time and do it right. If the last two seasons of the show taught us anything, it’s that it isn’t a series you can rush. I’ve often thought about going back and rereading the fifth book but it always seemed like a silly thing to do. My TBR is too big and The Winds of Winter won’t be out for ages anyway. This week I decided to get my George RR Martin fix elsewhere. I’ve tried and failed to read some of his non-ASOIAF books in the past but I just couldn’t get on board with them. So, this time I went for a related book. It’s not actually part of the same world but it’s in the right area.