Apparently I didn’t do a monthly wrap-up last month. God knows why. Although, I did do a Mid-Year Rundown last month. A quick look back on the best and worst books I’ve read in the first half of this year.
I made a huge mistake last night. I made the decision to carry on reading until I finished this book. I just couldn’t put it off any longer. It meant I went to bed super late and was an absolute mess this morning. I emailed a colleague thinking he was a customer. It wasn’t a massive thing but it could just have easily have been the other way round. Nobody should have to answer emails before noon. And then, to add insult to injury, I had a 45-minute phone call with a customer. Thankfully, it wasn’t a bad one but it went on too long. She wanted me to sort somethings out for her and insisted on waiting on the line as I did it. As we all know, doing your job whilst someone is hovering always makes it impossible so it was a bit of a nightmare. So, I had a dodgy start to the day. But the rest of it went okay. And at least I didn’t have to worry about finishing the book for tonight’s post.
I stumbled across this whilst browsing in a bookshop. I read the back and was instantly hooked. It sounded absolutely perfect and everything I wanted to read. So, I bought a copy. Like any normal human being, right? Apparently not. At least not according to the people on GoodReads. Whilst updating my status with this book the other day I saw something that really irritated me so I’m going to have a quick rant before I get on with my review.
I would never have read this novel if it weren’t for the Booker International longlist – I’d already seen the blurb a few months earlier and decided the book wasn’t for me. After the longlist was announced, I requested and received an ARC of The Pine Islands, direct from a very nice member of staff at the publisher
So, you had already rejected a book because it wasn’t for you but then it nearly won a prize. Then you demanded a copy of it for free, knowing that, in all likelihood, you weren’t going to enjoy it that much. What the hell kind of entitlement is that? This is the kind of shit that gives all bloggers a bad name. Like the people who went into a restaurant and demanded a free meal in exchange for a review. It’s pathetic. The fact that this person also appears to be the kind of person who uses their reviews to let everyone know that they’re more intelligent than you. I mean, it’s GoodReads for fuck’s sake. If the review goes on more than 5 paragraphs it’s too much. Anyway, as you can tell it put me in a huge mood. So, I’d better get on with the reason I’m here.
I saw this book in a bookshop a month ago and immediately wanted to read it. But, considering my TBR list is so huge, I decided against it. Until a few weeks later when I couldn’t resist anymore and bought a cheap copy. I couldn’t wait to start reading it. As soon as I’d done with Love, Nina I did it. And, if I hadn’t already passed my GoodReads challenge score, it would have been a perfect read. I finished it in 3 days, which for me is kind of miraculous. Does it help that I’m on holiday this week? Certainly but let’s not take away from my achievements.
I’m an avid listener of the Adam Buxton podcast. I love hearing his rambly chats with people and, I’ve found, that it’s a pretty good thing to listen to at work. A few weeks ago, Adam was talking to author Nina Stibbe. Before that point, I’d never read anything by Stibbe but I knew of her. She seemed like such a lovely person that I picked up a copy of her book Love Nina. I had meant to watch the BBC adaptation a while ago but, because I never watch normal TV, I never got round to it. It’s something I definitely want to watch now that I’ve finished the book. I do have to admit that, thanks to my knowledge of the show, I kept imagining Mary-Kay as Helena Bonham Carter and Nina as Faye Marsay.
So, on Wednesday I promised that I’d get my review of Daisy Jones & The Six written up today. I had the day off so I could have done it at any time. When am I writing this? Just before bed time. I just got so carried away with my bank holiday vibes today and basically did nothing. Sometimes I do scare myself with my ability to just do nothing. I’ve always told people that if I win the lottery (I don’t play so no chance) I’d not want to give up work. “I’d just get too bored,” I tell them. Not true. I could easily waste my life just lying in bed, watching Netflix, and reading books. Would it be healthy? Not at all. Would it be fulfilling? Of course not. Would I be wasting my time on Earth? Most definitely. But would I enjoy my life? Certainly. Of course, I’d be even worse at getting these posts up in time. I’d probably not even stick to my schedule at all. So, I guess it’s probably better that I continue to not play and carry on being a semi-functioning member of society. Starting with getting this damn thing written and heading to bed.
So, after a brief stop last week, normal service is resumed and I have a book to review. This is one that has sat on my shelf for a while. I bought it a year or two ago when I decided to try out more short story collections. I figured it might make me a better or, at least, quicker reader. As expected, it did neither of those things and I just shoved it away with my other unread books. But I’m trying really hard to get through my unread books this year so I randomly plucked this off the shelf a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what prompted it but it was probably because I, naively, believed it would be a quick read. And February hasn’t exactly been a stellar reading month for me. I’ve still got two books on the go and this marks my second finished read. I’ve been doing so well so far that this is a genuine crushing blow. Still, let’s not start this review on a downer. Especially as I started this book with high hopes. A short story collection connected by a common theme and character? It sounded wonderful.