I don’t know about you but, when I get the chance to read a short story that is “an updated Holmesian tale with a technological twist”, I take it. This short story by Lauren Wilkinson sounded so good that I jumped at the chance to read it. The story is released today as an Amazon original and I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a quick and fun read that will please any fan of Arthur Conan Doyle. Below you’ll find out more about the story and its author. There’s even a giveaway to celebrate today’s release! I’ll post a separate review of the book.
What have you been reading this week?
We’ve officially reached that time of the year when time has sped up and the months are going by too quickly. I can’t believe that June is nearly over. It’s yet another Pride month where I’ve barely read any of the books I meant to. In fact, I’ve barely read anything books really. Next weekend my friend is getting married and I’m one of the bridesmaids. So, I’ve had a lot of stuff to organise this month.
Listening to audiobooks at work is normally fine. I don’t get too distracted and I’m not the kind of person who normally has strong physical reactions to what they listening to. By which I mean that I don’t laugh out loud or anything. At least I didn’t until this book. On a couple of occasions, I had to stop myself from breaking down in tears. Considering I knew what was coming, this is even more of a ridiculous thing. I know I didn’t get enough sleep the night before but come on.
Holiday is over and it’s back down to Earth with a bump. Not only am I straight back to work but I’ve got some blogging to catch up on. I’m going to try and review as many books as possible this week, which sounds good in theory. However, it’s been a while since I’ve read some of them. Well, it’s been over a week with this one. Thankfully, we discussed it at book club on Wednesday. That should give me a bit of a chance to remember what I think about it.
As we’ve already discussed, I’m a petty and stubborn person. I stayed up way too late on the 31st August to make sure that I finished this damn book before the month was over. After all, I had already included it in my August Reading Wrap-Up and I didn’t want to miss my book count of 10. Thankfully, I did manage it and I didn’t end up being too late a night. The question is, was the book worth it? I wasn’t exactly expecting a great deal from this book because I really hadn’t thought much of Vox. When I wrote my review of Christina Dalcher’s previous novel, I discussed the rise of feminist dystopia and how bored I was with it. I guess, on the plus side, Dalcher has taken a broader approach. Women don’t exactly have it easy in this one but at least it wasn’t another literary world specifically created to torture women into submission.
I must have first read this book just after it was published but, honestly, I don’t remember much about it. I don’t think I really paid attention to it. I was a bad reader in those days. There are plenty of books series that I started but didn’t really take in. I think I was just reading for the sake of it. So, I never really had that great awakening thanks to Malorie Blackman. It’s a book that I always wanted to read again and give a better go. It also helped that the BBC adaptation was coming out and I didn’t want to watch it until I’d reread it. Of course, it got pushed back thanks to my ever-increasing TBR but the recent Black Lives Matters protests have pushed all books about race to the top. I figured this would be a relevant and quick read. As anyone who has ever read my review of The Power will know, I’m not always a fan of role reversal narratives. A lot of the time, they can be a bit cringe and heavy-handed. But this is one of those books that everyone loves. I went in expecting to enjoy it.
I’m not much of a gamer these days because I don’t have the time. I thought about jumping on the Animal Crossing bandwagon but I haven’t picked up my Switch since my birthday. It’s not worth spending the money for a few minutes use. Maybe when it’s cheaper. Back in the day, I spent most of my spare time playing video games. I’m not one of those gamers who likes MMOs but I enjoyed the classics. I recently started playing San Andreas again for the first time since I was a kid and it’s amazing. Yeah, the graphics are a bit dodgy by today’s standards but you can’t fault it as a whole. When we were kids, my sister and I used to be obsessed with the Tekken franchise. Mostly Tekken 3 on our Playstation. God, we played that game loads. My absolute favourite character was Julia Chang. She did this triple kick that was amazing. But that’s really beside the point. The point is, I’d never seen the Tekken film until this week. I just didn’t want to risk. We all know how terrible films based on video games can be.
When it comes to audiobooks the narrator is key. If you get a bad one it doesn’t matter how much you like a book. As I’ve said countless times recently, I’ve been using my audiobook binge as a reason to go back and reread books I’ve not read for a while. I’ve had the Audible edition of Fahrenheit 451 for a while now. I was really excited because it’s narrated by Tim Robbins. I can’t say he’s my favourite actor but you can’t not like Tim Robbins, right? So, I was excited to start listening and, after a weekend’s break, I started on my Monday commute. It should have been a book that I finished that day but I just couldn’t get into it. Robbin’s narration just didn’t engage me. He was too slow and laid back. There was no real fear or danger to his interpretation. His version of Montag just seemed like a bumpkin and that’s not how I imagine him. It took me ages to finish because I was so bored. And this is a book I genuinely love. It should have been easy but it wasn’t. In the hands of a different narrator, this story would have come to life. But, thanks to Robbins, I didn’t really care at all.
This is one of those classic cases of me being completely susceptible to marketing. There had been a poster advertising the paperback edition of this book at my train station. So, every morning on my way to work, I saw this book cover. I also saw the quote that described it as 1984 for our times or whatever. Well, it clearly worked because I had a huge urge to read this book. I didn’t really know much about it. But when it popped up in Amazon as a recommendation I had been conditioned enough to click on it. And it sounded great. I mean it took the Wall from Game of Thrones and added it to the modern world. I’m normally wary of dystopian novels because they tend to just be the same as each other. Nobody has written an original dystopian novel in years. I know there are plenty of people out there who will disagree but I haven’t been excited by one for ages.
It’s been a while since I read The Handmaid’s Tale which is why I wanted to read it before starting The Testaments. The original novel is one of those momentous pieces of fiction that, if you read it at the right time in your life, changes you. I mean, is it any wonder that a teenage girl reading one of the most important pieces of political literature turned out to be this outspoken little feminist? But more than that. Margaret Atwood is one of the greatest writers in recent years so it definitely helped shape me as a reader. However, I have to make a point before I carry on. Just as I ranted before my Blinded by the Light review, I have something to ask. Can we please stop saying that we’re living in a world like we see in the novel? I’m not trying to suggest that things are great right now but America’s (undeniably) severe policies regarding abortions and birth control are not the same thing. And to suggest that it is would ignore the genuinely horrible conditions that many women experience around the world. Like the young girls forced into marriages or the girls facing female genital mutilation. Yeah, every woman should have the right to an abortion but at least you aren’t being sold into sex slavery by your family. Yes, we still have a long way to go but we’re nowhere near Atwood’s dystopia just yet.