books, reviews

Book Review – #Toots by Linh Le James

441758985_star_rating_system_2_and_a_half_stars Anyone who’s been keeping up with my Sunday Rundowns of late will know that I’ve been making painfully slow progress with Shakespeare: The World as a Stage by Bill Bryson. So, when I was approached by Linh Le James to read her novel #Toots for a review, I decided it would be a good excuse for a break from my current read. And, thankfully, it was a quick read that proved to me it’s not that I’m in a slump that Byrson is taking so long. It’s just the book itself. So, I’m now wondering, still being only about halfway through at 2.5 weeks, whether it’s worth carrying on with it. I don’t want to give up considering how much time I’ve put into it but it feels like this uphill struggle is never going to end. I mean, there’s only so much pleasure you can take reading the history of a man who we know next to nothing about. It’s pretty much all speculation. I’ll be honest, I could have been asked to review any book right now and I’d probably had agreed just to give me the excuse to put Bryson down again. Maybe that explains why I got through #Toots in only 3 days? Or maybe it was just the best book I’ve ever read?

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – He Did It: A Short Story by JT Lawrence

41usdy9tf7l5_star_rating_system_2_and_a_half_stars What’s this? Another Wednesday and I’m reviewing something that isn’t my current read? Yep, yet again, I’ve had to resort to reading a short story in order to stick to my upload policy. There’s something about Shakespeare: The World As Stage by Bill Bryson that is making it difficult for me to finish. Although, I am in the midst of birthday week so I’ve had other things on my mind. So, what was I to do? Check Kindle Unlimited for an interesting sounding short story that I could finish in less than an hour today, obviously. There really was no thought beyond that. It was basically the first short story I came across that sounded interesting. I’d never heard of the author before or the short story collection that it came from. But I guess that’ the joy of having to read something for a review. You pick up things that you’d never have considered before. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton

melancholydeath5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 Up until yesterday, I was only reading Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Billy Bryson. Up until the point I stopped kidding myself that I would finish it for today. Given the fact that I’ve fallen asleep reading it every night since I started it, it was never going to happen. But, as we know by now, I’m pretty delusional when it comes to my reading goals. So it took a while for me to admit defeat. Stubbornness can be useful in certain situations but sometimes it can make life difficult. Like forcing me to find a quick read to finish in one night. Normally, that would involve me buying a super small book during my lunch break. But, as I’m still trying (and failing) to stick to my book buying ban, I decided that this time I would go back to one of the books on my shelf that I have already loved but never reviewed. A collection of poems, in fact, that I’ve owned for years and adored. I loved it so much that I’ve gifted it to a few friends and I’m the kind of person that doesn’t normally force my bookish loves on my unsuspecting friends.

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – Cities I’ve Never Lived In by Sara Majka

img_20190217_131839-018790418202906966352.jpeg5_star_rating_system_2_and_a_half_stars 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.

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews, short story

Book Review – Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

40554247

5_star_rating_system_4_stars1

So, as I’ve been pointing out far too often on my blog and Instagram lately, I’ve been ill for the past few days. I must have caught flu from somebody at work so have been achy, shivery, and pathetic since Friday. I’d hoped that I would spend the time in bed to get ahead with some reading but I’ve basically had no energy. The idea of picking up a book and trying to take it in was more than I could cope with. It meant that I was faced with another Wednesday without a review, which made me feel even more pathetic. But, thankfully, Haruki Murakami came to my rescue. In honour of his 70th birthday this year, Murakami’s short story Birthday Girl was released in its own adorable edition. The story focuses on the 20th birthday of a waitress so, I guess, it’s kind of fortuitous that today my Facebook memory was from 11 years ago: one month before my 20th birthday. I hate this long-term memories just remind me of how horribly pretentious I was. Highlighted by the fact that my status update was an Oscar Wilde quote. I mean, geez. So, god knows what would have happened if this story had happened to 20-year-old Laura. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – The Breadwinner: A Graphic Novel by Deborah Ellis

345284645_star_rating_system_3_stars So, I’ve broken my book buying ban with only one fucking day to go in the month. Why did I do it? Because I knew that I wouldn’t finish either of the books I’ve got on the go by the time I had to write this review. So, I popped into my local bookshop to see if I could find a quick read that looked interesting. I found it in the small selection of graphic novels and, after reading the quote on the front, decided I couldn’t not read it. “A story of courage and heroism to inspire young people everywhere.” I mean who could ignore an endorsement like that? Especially when the back cover reveals that Malala Yousafzai was also a fan. The graphic novel version of Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner is actually the adaptation of the 2018 animated film based on the book. So, I have just read the novelisation of a film I haven’t seen that was based on a book I haven’t read. Whatever could go wrong?

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells

img_20190117_111445-025107787486673166858.jpeg5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 These days I have such a focus on reading the ever-increasing number of unread books on my shelf that I so very rarely indulge in rereading old favourites. And, as Oscar Wide put it so wonderfully, “if one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” As book lovers, we should all take time out every so often to read books that have already given us joy. I know people who will never reread books and I get it. If the thrill you take from reading is to find out the end of the story then reading something again is futile. But, I always think that rereading gives you a chance to really appreciate a book. To really take in the intricacies of the writing style. Although, I do tend to struggle when reviewing books I’ve already read. Even if I’ve never reviewed them before. I don’t know why. I guess already knowing that you like a book means it’s difficult not just to gush about it. Plus, I’ve never been that good at it anyway I suppose.

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra

36532965 (1)5_star_rating_system_4_stars1If you’ve read my blog or followed me on Instagram for a little while at this point then you’ll probably know that I have a bit of a long history with the Man Booker nominees. I always get really excited when the longlist is released and desperately get my hands on loads of the books. Not only do I rarely get round to reading them but, inevitably, my favourites never end up on the shortlist. Maybe it’s my fault? Maybe I’m so cursed that any nominated book that I enjoy reading or like the sound of will never win the prize? My last read is one of those books. From the first time I heard about The Dinner Guest I was intrgiued. Telling the story of the author’s grandfather who was murderd before she was born, it sounded like nothing I’d ever read before. So, I bought it almost immediately and promptly left it on my shelves for ages. But, as I’m trying to make my through my unread books this year, I finally picked it up. It’s a pretty short book at only around 140 ages so I expected to have this done in a matter of days but, being me, I only finished it last night. And it’s safe to say I got a little emotional towards the end. But that’s been a fairly common theme this week. Let’s not talk about how many tears I shed watching the Gilette advert…

Continue reading

Standard
books, reviews

Book Review – Mythos by Stephen Fry

img_20181231_134254-013893944401272125427.jpeg5_star_rating_system_4_stars1 There was a point when I didn’t think I would finish this book for today’s post. I was well on track until I got horribly distracted by a podcast I listen to. A friend from work and I are obsessed with the My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast and love discussing it. I’d been saving series 4 for a bit to give me a break after series 3 but, the other day, she announced she’s finished book 4. So, naturally, I have to catch up with her and I may have listened to that instead of Stephen Fry one night this week. It was enjoyably listening to this book as an audiobook but I’m not convinced it’s the greatest way to do it. For one thing, I fell asleep in the middle of several chapters and had to go back the next day. For another, it took me way less time to read a chapter than it took Stephen to narrate it. I’ve never considered how much longer saying something out loud is compared to reading it in your head but it must have a major impact on the time you spend with a book. But this feels like a topic for another time. It’s late and I have to get this review finished.

Continue reading

Standard