I must have bought a copy of this book when it was super cheap on the Kindle store because it definitely isn’t the kind of thing that I normally have much hope in. I’ve also never read anything by Louise Candlish before. Still, there was obviously a time when it appealed to me and I ended up buying the ebook and audiobook version. After finishing Animal Farm last week, I decided that I wanted to read something silly and an audiobook sounded like a great idea. I’ve been so tired that even reading exhausts me. I had reached a point when I couldn’t get my way through a chapter before I started falling asleep and I hate stopping halfway. It just makes me feel uneasy. As if I’ll have no idea where I am when I start reading again.
Yesterday was the first day of my holiday and I did absolutely nothing. I should probably have sat down to finish the book I’m reading but I was just so damn tired. I know I’ve been shut up inside since mid-March but it’s been exhausting. So, I just need to get some rest this week. After all, I’m pretty sure I have to go back to the office in August. I’m not entirely happy about it but I don’t think work will let me continue working home. Now that Boris Johnson has called time on shielding for high-risk people, I just can’t see them listening to my concerns. But, no matter what the PM says, the virus is still out there and I’m still at a huge risk if I get it. The virus can stay in the air for 3 hours and I work in a small office with only the windows as ventilation. This means if any of my colleagues are asymptomatic then I don’t stand a chance. Work can say they’ve taken precautions but they can’t guarantee that we won’t catch it. I’m sure that none of us wants to get it but having a suppressed immune system does make me extra wary. And it’s not as is I haven’t been doing my job at home for the past few months. But nevermind that now. Let’s talk about books.
Not long after Donald Trump became President of the United States, there was a massive increase in sales of 1984. The George Orwell dystopia received a boost after Kellyanne Conway uttered the phrase “alternative facts” in a TV interview. Everywhere you looked, people were turning to social media to make sure the world knew that they knew how Orwellian it was. That’s the great thing about social media. Thousands of people are having the same original thought at the same time. Just think about what Orwell would have made of Twitter. But I digress. The point is, it seemed that everyone had suddenly decided that we were living in a time that was just as awful as the one Orwell had imagined. In the same way that people had started to see the world as mimicking Gilead, we were suddenly living in a version of Airstrip One. It’s a fun idea but, let’s be honest, it’s total bollocks.
I feel tired this week but I also feel good. I had some good news on Tuesday when I found out that I passed my apprenticeship. Not only that but I got a distinction! Part of me is sure this has something to do with the fact that I’m about twice as old as the typical apprentice and have made it through an Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree. However, I’m choosing not to focus on that and, instead, am focusing on my achievement. Something my boss isn’t doing. I’ve only heard from one person I work with since I got my grade, which really sums up their whole attitude towards the whole thing. I’m not letting it get me down. I feel great about what I achieved and how I achieved it. Now I just need to start thinking about the next chapter. It’s a shame that Covid-19 has made that more difficult than I’d have liked.
I’ll be honest, I’ve not done that well this week. It’s taking me ages to get through my current read but I’m hopeful that I’ll get ahead this week. Well, I can hope. I could really do with a break. I know that holidays are sort of off the agenda at the moment but I had a week booked this month. I might not be able to go anywhere but getting some time off work would be so good. The last few months have been tough for everyone and I just want to sleep and read. But I always want to do that. Whether there’s a pandemic or not.
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.
It’s been another tough week but, hopefully, it’s going to get better from here on out. We’ve been super stretched but things are getting easier. And I might actually get a break this month. Pre-Covid, I was meant to be going away with my family this month. Obviously, the holiday is off but I might still be able to use my days. Although, work may very well turn around and say they can’t spare me. Hopefully not. The idea of having a week off is the only thing keeping me going right now. A week to read, relax, and catch up on my sleep. Yes, it’s not like I go anywhere or do anything but I’m a homebody anyway.
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.