Book Review – The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Considering the obsession with the royal family in last week’s newspapers, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing this novella. I don’t know what the absolute fascination with the Queen and her offspring is. I’m don’t consider myself ardently anti-royal because I can see some of the benefits of their existence. However, I wouldn’t be sorry if we got rid of them altogether. It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year. I know The Crown is trying to make the seem like ordinary human beings but you just need to look at the reaction to Harry and Meghan taking a step back from public life. Given the media response, I can see why they’d want to. The Queen and her family just seem so far removed from the rest of the world. It seems like such an odd dynamic. I realise that they’re meant to be part of our great traditions but do they have to be quite so archaic about it? But I’m digressing. The fact is, there is such a fascination about their lives that people have always used them as a basis for their stories. After all, nobody can really imagine what life as a royal is really like. There will always be a market for books like The Uncommon reader and there will always be writers willing to imagine life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.

Book Review – Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

books, reviews

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I’m a fan of Shakespeare. I think he’s way more accessible than people give him credit for. I can also understand why so many people don’t get along with him. For me, it all comes down to how you first experience him. For most of us, we’ll come across our first Shakespeare play at school. If you go through this with the right teacher then he you’ll be able to embrace the Bard fully. If you don’t have the right teacher then you’ll just think he’s old and boring. Thankfully, the first play that I studied was Macbeth and it ended up being a lot of fun. Then I got stuck into Othello, Hamlet and King Lear. By the time I was 16, I was already pretty hooked on old Willy. Although, I’ve never been a big fan of a couple of his most popular plays. Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream tend to be ones that most people are willing to watch. I guess they’re more like traditional romantic comedies, so they might be easier for modern audiences to get behind. Really, I don’t know why people love these plays so much. For me, they’re two of his most tedious plays. And, yes, I have studied the histories. Certainly in the case of Romeo and Juliet. I just think it’s stupid.

Bitesize Book Reviews

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I quite a few books last week but not all of them really warranted a full size review. So, I decided that it was in everyone’s interests if I just shoved them all together in one post. That way, I don’t have to struggle to find the words to fill a whole post on a short book and you aren’t subjected to my waffle. It also means that I won’t make the mistake that I did earlier in the week and give me review the wrong title. Sorry for anyone who read my review of When No One is Watching and expecting it to be about Come Again instead. Not sure how that happened.

Book Review – When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

books, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I have a problem with Bookstagram. My problem being that I can’t stop myself from buying the books that I see people raving about. This was one of those books. Last year this book seemed to be everywhere and I hadn’t heard anyone say anything negative about it. Of course, I was slightly skeptical. I mean book that starts off by comparing itself to Get Out and Rear Window has some pretty high expectations of itself. It’s safe to say that I have been pretty dubious about contemporary thrillers. I find the majority to be superficial and not very thrilling. Of course, the added theme of racism and gentrification of this narrative had got me interested, so I decided to go against my natural instincts. Could it possibly change the genre completely? Especially when it sounded pretty similar to the plot of Vampires vs the Bronx.

Book Review – Come Again by Robert Webb

books, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Do you ever bother with signed editions? I’m not talking about being lucky enough to meet an author in person and getting them to sign it. I’m talking about those books that are already signed and, most likely, cost a little bit more than the usual hardback. I try not to care and will normally only bother with signed books by authors I really love. Of course, there may be an occasion when the signed edition is cheaper on Waterstones than the unsigned. In that case, I’ll definitely go for it but, really, I don’t see the point. If it’s not personalised, it’s just a bit meaningless, right? It’s not as I expect them to become investment pieces that I’ll hand down to my children. Nor am I showing them off to everyone I know. The signature is just a thing that exists and makes very little difference to my life. Why am I banging on about this? I pre-ordered the hardback signed copy of Come Again but it has sat on my shelf since April 2020. I do this all the time and I don’t know why I never learn. I am so desperate to get certain signed editions but then let them languish on my shelf. I definitely have a problem.

Book Review – Yes Please by Amy Poehler

books, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ve had this on my shelf for a really long time. I’d say it’s been about 5 years but I can’t actually remember when I bought it. When I got it, I had every intention of reading it quite quickly because I liked Amy Poehler. Spoiler alert, I didn’t. I think it’s because I struggle with non-fiction so much. I’m especially sceptical of memoir style books. They can be so hit and miss. Something that the writers believes is a hilarious anecdote might actually just be an in-joke that most readers won’t appreciate. So, this could very easily have remained unopened on my shelf for the rest of time. Well, until I decided to take part in my own version of the Spell the Month in Book Titles challenge. When I tailored my January TBR to spell out the name of the month, I knew that I’d need a book starting with “Y”. Looks like the time had finally come.

Bookish Post – January Reading Wrap-Up

books, wrap-up
Teacup on top of vintage books.

We’re one month down in 2021 already and it looks like all of those people hoping for a better year are going to have to wait a while. The UK is going to shit and lockdown will probably keep going forever. On the plus side, I’ve been able to spend more time inside reading and have managed to do better than I normally do in January. Last year was my previous best and I’m already 2 ahead. If I can keep this up (I won’t be able to) then I’ll smash my target in no time.

Number of books read: 10
Number of rereads
: 0
Number of physical books: 6
Number of ebooks: 1
Number of audiobooks: 3

Book Review – Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After the travesty that was my previous read, there was a lot of pressure for the next one to be worthwhile. I’ve had Nothing Can Hurt You for a while now and I was really looking forward to reading it. I almost started reading it last December but decided to stick with more seasonal books. I’m glad I waited because I’m not sure that I was in the right mindset last month. After a couple of false starts where I only got through one chapter a night, I raced to the end of this book. It’s the first time in ages when I’ve just stayed up reading. I got to the final chapter at the time I’d normally call lights out but I knew that I had to keep going. Any regret caused by my fatigue the next day was worth it.

Book Review – The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

books, reviews

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

A friend of mine started her own virtual book club in the UK’s first lockdown. I didn’t join it straight away because I figured I was already putting enough pressure on myself to read 2 books a week. Then they read Convenience Store Woman and I asked her what she thought. She invited me to join and I said yes. As you’d expect, the book selection has been hit and miss. My friend and her boyfriend come up with a selection of titles that are all around 200 pages in length. Then we all vote on our favourite. I think I’ve only picked the winning book a couple of time since joining but there haven’t been many books that I’ve really disliked. Until this week. It hadn’t been my choice but that’s not really the point. It sounded like an interesting read and I was quite excited to read it. How wrong I was.

Book Review – The Death of Francis Bacon by Max Porter

books, reviews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I bought this book, I knew that it would be a useful thing to have around. Almost every week, I tend to be rushing to finish a book in time to write my Wednesday review. At only 80 pages long, Max Porter’s new book would be ideal for finishing in a rush. I knew that it was going to be a lifesaver before too long. What I didn’t expect was that it would come to my rescue so soon. The book was published on 7th January and I’ve had it for about a week. Unfortunately, I’ve not been getting enough reading in each day and there was no way I was going to get my current read finished in time. So, I read this on my lunch break. Meaning I didn’t have to resort to some awful stream of consciousness book post about whatever I could think of. Instead, it’s going to be fairly stream of consciousness book review of a book that’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.