Thanks to Covid, I missed the actual mid-year point to post this review but that’s not going to stop me. Before writing this post, I felt like I’d been having a good year but not as good as last year. There’s a definite difference between the amount of socialising I’ve been doing this year compared to last year. So, I was sure my reading had taken a hit. Turns out I was wrong. Either I’ve been reading shorter books or I’m just getting better at it.
Normally, I have enough self-control to not pre-order books because there’s really no need. It’s not as if it will become impossible to read it, so it’s just a waste. I very rarely pick up a new release as soon as I buy it, which means it just sits on my shelf for ages. Well, I’ve a lot more time on my hands in 2021. This definitely explains why I’m suddenly all about the pre-orders. There are quite as many this month but there are some that I’m very excited. As I couldn’t face writing today’s review, I decided to go through the list.w
I have quite a terrible habit of treating pre-orders as fake book purchases. After all, you can order them way in advance and not worry about the consequences of your actions until later. This year, I’ve made a few pre-orders and, it turns out, a lot of them are coming out next month. I’m excited about them all but I’m not sure I’ll actually get chance to read them. That’s the only problem with my Spell the Month Reading Challenge. It does limit me somewhat. The fact that September is the longest month name, it just makes it more difficult. As you probably won’t be seeing them on here for a while (and because I’m not quite ready to review my latest read), I figured we could go through the books I’ll get getting in a few weeks.
If I’ve scheduled this correctly (and I don’t always do a very good job of that sort of thing), it should be going live at noon on 1st July. In other words, halfway through the year 2021. As we’ve reached this point in the year, I figured it was good time to look back on my progress. Let’s have a quick look at some stats.
We all had such high hopes for 2020, right? We were all kind of hoping that it would be the year everything got a bit better but now we’re living in the start of a disaster movie. In the UK, we’re battling with a Prime Minister who is two weeks behind where he should be and still not willing to do what he needs to. Yes, the economy may take a hit but why are there so few people who see that as less important as saving lives? The economy can come back, we’ve seen it. You know what can’t come back? All the people who have already died. But now that most of the world is practising social distancing or self-isolation, there has been a lot of talk about how to fill your time. Most people appear to have high hopes for their time stuck inside. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people mentioning King Lear as though they, like Shakespeare, are going to pen a masterpiece that is still performed/read hundreds of years later. Well, if their plans go anything like mine, the next few weeks will be pretty unproductive.
On 01/01/2020 I started reading a book. I finished that book on 16/02/2020. Even for me, that’s a bloody long time. Yes, I managed to read a fair few books in between those two dates but it was a struggle. I just couldn’t face picking up a book in January. Thankfully, February has proved slightly better. Not much but slightly. Having finally opened the covers of a physical novel has encouraged me and I think I’ll be able to take a bit of a break with the audiobooks. Not that I have a problem with them, something that my post last week can verify, but I do have a problem with buying them. In order to justify my spending habits, I need to start getting a few more finished. Unfortunately, listening to books isn’t going to get that done. Still, we’re only 47 days into the year and I’ve finally crossed one off the old TBR list. It’s some kind of progress. Not good but something.
I’m not a fan of horror films. I never have been. When I was a child, I used to freak out about everything. My sisters still make fun of me for not being able to watch the part of The Neverending Story with the creepy eyes in the cave. The first time I watched Jurassic Park I couldn’t sleep because of the spitty dinosaur. I’m happy to say that I’m much better now but I still can’t be bothered with most contemporary horror films. They’re just a load of jump scares put together with a super flimsy and silly plot. Either that or torture porn like the Saw movies. It’s just not something I want to spend my time watching. Which means, next week on October 31st, I won’t be enjoying a horror movie fest. I might see if I can find a classic to watch but I’d rather spend the night reading a scary book. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I wanted to list some of my top spooky reads for Halloween.
All being well, I should finally be watching The Joker tonight. I’ve been trying to arrange a time to see it for ages. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to think about it. I try not to take too much notice to criticism before I see a film but it’s been hard to avoid most of it. I know there has been some backlash from female critics and some questions about the motivations of the Joker in it. But there has also been a lot of praise. Plus, I’m already biased against Todd Phillips thanks to his absolutely stupid comments about comedy and “woke culture”. Guy sounds like a dick and I’m assuming that his film is bound to match his outdated ideas. But, I still want to go in with an open mind. After all, the Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. So, for this week’s Friday Favourites, I thought I’d explore some of my favourite Joker centric Batman storylines. Quick disclaimer, I’m by no means a Batman comic expert. I’ve not read as much as I’d like to have read but I’ve read enough to get by comfortably.
Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale last week was a great reading experience. Obviously not because of the subject matter because it’s horrendous. But because of the writing. There are a lot of things about the novel that feels inhumane and awful. There are also plenty of things about it that feel all too familiar in this day and age. However, one of the most powerful aspects of the novel for the reader in me is the lack of literature in women’s lives. The idea that writing is so impactful that it can corrupt their tiny minds. Books have always been seen as powerful and groups have always sought to have them removed. But, as we all know, everyone should have the right to read what they want. Reading immoral words doesn’t make you immoral. Reading obscene things doesn’t make you an obscene person. People who seek control have to take people’s freedom away wherever they can and books are an easy target. Which is why Banned Books Week is such an important thing. The fact that we set aside time to celebrate the books so many have tried to remove from the world. Keeping the words alive so generations to come can experience them and make judgements on them for themselves. And, for my second Friday Favourites, I’m going to talk about some of my most loved banned or challenged books.
For the past few weeks, I’ve left work telling myself that this was going to be the week that I started my new blog post series. It all started after I listened to the episode of the Empire podcast where they were deciding whether they preferred Batman or Superman. I had decided it would be an easy thing to steal and, because I don’t really like Superman, it wasn’t exactly going to be a huge choice for me to make. Of course, as always, I ended up failing to see it through. However, I really liked the idea of doing another blog post a week and the Friday Favourites thing appeals to my love of alliteration. Thankfully, this week I was super inspired after reading The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood really is one of the greatest writers around these days. She manages to be a beautiful writer of literary fiction whilst being so down-to-earth. Her novels are incredibly readable even with her breathtaking use of language. I highlighted so many quotations during my re-read that I knew I had to do a post about them. And it was one that could have gone on forever. I might as well have just typed the whole thing out. But, instead, I narrowed it down to 18. And I refused to include the oft-quoted “nolite te bastardes carborundorum” because it seemed like such an obvious choice. Not that the rest of them are particularly original mind you. So, do your favourite quotes appear on this list? Have I missed any? Let me know.