Earlier this year, I went a bit mad on NetGalley and requested a lot of ARCs. It didn’t occur to me that I’d get approved for all of them but that’s what happened. So, this month I’m madly trying to get through them all. Most of them are already out but a few are set to be published next month. This one was published this week. It was a great premise but I’ve been burnt by books like this before. Would it live up to its potential?
After struggling to finish Beautiful World, Where Are You, I definitely needed something to get me back in the reading spirit. So, I guess a book that promised something pretty distressing wasn’t the most likely choice but I felt like this would be a good tonic to Sally Rooney’s latest dense tome. Considering I got through it in a couple of days means that I was correct in my assessment. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sunset but I’m glad that I finally got round to reading it. I was definitely fooled by the colourful cover. I don’t know what it is but I never expect pink books to be heavy-duty. I thought they were meant to be light and fluffy. This was anything but.
My monthly reading challenges to Spell the Month in book titles has been a great way to approach my reading. However, it isn’t always easy coming up with titles for each of the letters. Especially as I’m trying to avoid buying too many books. I’ve already bought way more than I should have done. At the start of this month, I figured that April would be an easy task but I hadn’t thought about “i”. When it came down to it, I couldn’t think of an obvious choice for this letter that I already had a copy of. I don’t even know if I still have my childhood copy of I Capture the Castle. So, I decided to get myself a copy of this book because I’ve been wanting to read it for so long. The only problem was that I wasn’t a fan of the paperback cover that I found. So, I spent far too long trying to find a cheap copy of the cover I actually wanted. It’s beautiful, obviously, but I do hate how much of an issue I make things like this.
One of the things I’m tired of hearing about George Floyd is when people keep bringing up the fact that he had a criminal record. As if that, in some way, makes his death acceptable. That the fact that he was once in prison makes it okay that a police officer put his knee on George’s kneck for almost 8 minutes. Why does it matter who George was or what he was doing at the time? Nothing should be able to justify the death of a man regardless of what they’ve done. And what about all of those white men who were arrested for mass shootings? How many of them are still alive in prison despite murdering people? I mean Nikolas Cruz shot 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. He was arrested “without incident”. Without incident? All George Floyd was arrested for was allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note. Allegedly. And he was killed. A 19-year-old white kid shot 17 other kids and was arrested “without incident”. And people still don’t think systemic racism exists? It’s bullshit.
One important thing to think about at times of civil unrest is how to explain the situation to young people. Parents need to find a way to make sure their children understand why people are angry and how we have reached this point. It’s all very well and good doing anti-racist reading for myself but what about anti-racist reading lists for children? How can you possibly help a child come to terms with the idea of systemic racism and how it explains the death of innocent people? You don’t want to traumatise them or make them too fearful of society. However, you need to understand that people are protesting for good reasons. That the violence of the Black Lives Matter movement is different from the violence performed by police officers. So, I decided to check out some fiction intended for a younger audience. Just to see what’s out there.
In December 2019, I listened to an episode of Mark Kermode’s podcast where he was talking to Lesley Manville and Edgar Wright. I’ll admit, I was mostly listening because of Edgar Wright but I’ll never be upset to hear from Lesley Manville. She’s an amazing actor and generally just seems wonderful. She was talking about the release of her new film and it sounded amazing. Terribly sad, obviously, but amazing. In her interview, Mandville told Mark Kermode that the film embraced the humour within the story and brought the humanity to the fore. I never got around to watching it when it came out but I was always interested in seeing it. It’s probably not the most uplifting thing to be watching during the Coronavirus pandemic but Lesley Manville promised that it wouldn’t be all doom and gloom. I feel like I can trust her.
I’m an avid listener of Adam Buxton’s podcast and I have been eagerly awaiting the release of his new book. He’s been banging on about how hard it’s been to write for ages, so I was worried that we’d have another George RR Martin on our hands. But he did it. The book was finished and it started appearing on book sites. Obviously, I’ve preordered a signed hardback of the book for when it’s released in August but, thankfully, Adam Buxton is a really nice man. He decided to produce the audiobook version himself so we all had something to listen to in quarantine. I used my Audible credit to preorder the audiobook and waited for its release. It took me a while to get through it because I started it on a bit of a whim. I couldn’t sleep one night and decided the only thing that would calm me down was listening to something. Then I had to finish the other books that I was reading before I carried on. But I got there eventually and, thanks to a bit of desperate listening this week, I finished it in time to review.
I’m never one to turn down a cheap deal on an audiobook. Especially one that I can finish in under 2 hours. It always helps to have a few super short books on hand just in case I need to get a review out in time. I’m not doing awfully well with my current book so I definitely needed something to fill this post. Thankfully, Audible had me covered with their half-price sale. I bought a few bargains and pre-ordered Adam Buxton’s upcoming book. I never really count audiobooks in my book buying ban but I probably should. I never buy them at full price but I guess it should be included in my book haul. But that’s beside the point right now. I listened to this book before I went to bed yesterday. I kind of regretted it because it’s never a good idea to come face-to-face with mortality just before you turn the light out. Still, I’d wanted to read it for a long time and being able to do so while lying back and doing nothing was even better.