As I mention far too often, I’m currently taking part in a virtual book club. It’s something my friend set up at the start of the first lockdown and one that I joined after a couple of months. I never thought of myself as a book club kind of person but I’m really enjoying discussing the books every week. My major problem is having nothing of interest to say, which mostly happens with books that I don’t really like. When the monthly pick is an underwhelming book, I tend to forget a lot about it before the meeting. Part of the reason that I try and read the book as close to the deadline as possible. Luckily for me, there has only been a couple of duds since I joined. In fact, it’s been a great range of titles that I’m really glad to have had the chance to read. This month, I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of the potential titles, so I didn’t even vote. Considering how it’s turned out, I think I’ve learnt a valuable lesson about taking responsibility for yourself.
It’s becoming something of a tradition that I read at least one Agatha Christie book each month. Not only are they super easy to get through but they just make me feel happy. Considering what the past 12 months have been like, we all need to dedicate more time to the things that make us happy. Christie is not only a fantastic writer but she has an incredibly wicked streak. As I say every time I review one of her books, she understands people and what might compel them to commit murder. In my recent rereadings of her novels, I haven’t actually read any Miss Marple stories yet. I think in terms of the books, I prefer a lot of the Poirot novels but who can’t love Miss Marple. I also think the ITV adaptations of these novels were fabulous. They made a few changes and modernisations but they capture the spirit perfectly. The adaptation of this novel is definitely one of the better ones.
As much as I enjoyed Klara and the Sun last month, it did leave me with a great desire to reread this beauty. I read a fair few reviews that described the ending of Ishiguro’s latest novel was the most heartbreaking of his career. Yes, it was sad but the most devastating ending? He’s an author who doesn’t think twice about leaving you on the edge of an emotional precipice but I found Klara quite tame in comparison to his earlier work. Particularly this one. I honestly believe that The Remains of the Day has one of the saddest endings I’ve ever read. Yet, it’s a sad ending with hopefulness. This really is quite a book and it was definitely about time that I reread it.
I first found out about this book because of Instagram. I’d been following Harriet Young (thesenovelthoughts) for a while so I had been aware that she was writing her first novel. When she was looking for funding on Unbound, it didn’t take a lot of persuasion for me to preorder it. I was fascinated by the story and the history of the Pendle witch trials. I’ve been waiting to read this one for a long time and, when it arrived last moth, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Of course, it was just a huge coincidence that it also crossed off one more letter on my Spell the Month Challenge.
I always knew that I could never maintain my pace of reading 10 books each month but I didn’t expect things to turn around so abruptly. It took me ages to get into the books I was reading this month. Even the ones I was most excited about. I was worried about finishing my monthly reading challenge but, thankfully, I got there. Hopefully, April will be a bit less of a struggle.
Number of books read: 7
Number of rereads: 0
Number of physical books: 2
Number of ebooks: 1
Number of audiobooks: 4
Number of 5* reviews: 2
Number of 4.5* reviews: 1
Number of 4* reviews: 2
I have been a lover of Agatha Christie for a long time but I’ve never read any of the novels that she published under her pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Mostly because of the way they’ve been labelled. If there’s anything more likely to get me to avoid a book it’s referring to it as a romance novel. It’s not that I think romance novels are bad but it’s just not my thing. Love is a fact of life but that doesn’t mean I need to read about it for 200-300 pages. I will read the odd romance every now and them but I prefer something a bit darker. Give me a love story full of grisly murder and maybe we can talk. Otherwise, I’ll probably look elsewhere. Although, I decided that I couldn’t really call myself a true Christie fan if I didn’t at least try to read her other books. Why pick this one? It was the first one I saw and it crossed off a letter on my monthly reading challenge.
March hasn’t been the month that I thought it would be. I expected to read way more than I have. The fact that I’m falling behind my target it starting to get me stressed, which is also making it harder to concentrate on reading. It’s a shame. I didn’t manage to finish any of the novels that I’m currently reading for today but, thankfully, I can post a couple of super quick reads. One of them was something I read at the start of the month haven’t been able to get out of my head. The other was one I read on a whim this evening. That’s just how it goes I guess.
There’s nothing like realising that one of your childhood favourites is celebrating its 20th birthday. Talk about being forced to come face-to-face with your rapid aging! I decided to make life even harder by actually rereading the book that I first read 2 decades ago. I’ve been meaning to pick it up for a while actually. I had plans to read it last year before the film adaptation came out. But I didn’t. Then I was going to read it after the film came out so I would be able to compare the two. That never happened either. I think it probably worked out for the best as it means that I can read the first book in Eoin Colfer’s series and watch the Disney+ adaptation during the anniversary year.
Who is the best author to go to when you’re falling behind in your monthly reading challenge? Agatha Christie is definitely one of the best writers for getting me back on track. I always enjoy her books and they’re usually really quick reads. Meaning I can cross off a couple of letters in a matter of days and stop stressing about it so much. So, I picked up a quick standalone novel. I realise that in my re-readings, I tend to focus more on the Poirot or Miss Marple novels. Well, apart from And Then There Were None which I never stop banging on about. But this is definitely one of her best. There’s a reason why it was included on my suggestions for where to start reading Christie books.
I try not to pay too much attention to literary prizes. It’s mostly because I like to decide what I read based on my own parameters. I don’t agree with lists that offer you a list of books that everyone should read. Who is to say which books everyone should read? Wo has the same taste as everyone else? It all goes back to the canon and who decided which books were deemed appropriate. I won’t go into it all again but I’m not the kind of person who automatically picks up an author because they’ve won a prize. However, I was super excited to get my hands on Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature. There was an awful lot of pressure on him to create something great and it did concern me that he was writing about AI. After all, we’ve seen literary fiction writers crash and burn when they attempted science fiction. Although, at least Ishiguro has previous.