Yesterday, I posted my review of Nick Hornby’s novel A Long Way Down. As it was the first book that I finished this year, it only felt right that I also watch the film adaptation for today’s post. The fact that it also stars Pierce Brosnan was just a wonderful benefit. Although, I’m always up for watching Bronhom is anything and there’s a brief scene of him dancing in this one. Yep, even after the first Mamma Mia! film he still thought it was perfectly acceptable for him to dance on screen. Say what you will about his acting but, boy, does he have a great of confidence for a man born without rhythm. I must say that I’m incredibly jealous. I’m also a terrible dancer despite all my best efforts. I wish I was able to give as few fucks does about what I look like on the dance floor and just went for it.
I admit that it took me longer to read my first book of 2021 than I’d have imagined. I started on January 1st and have only just finished today. I’m just experiencing that classic January reading slump. I could have spent last weekend reading but I just couldn’t focus. It doesn’t help that I’m pretty tired now I’m starting back in the old work routine but it should help me get better at reading. It got so bad this week that I was worried I wouldn’t even finish the book in time. So, I turned to the audiobook version to finish the last two thirds. It turned out to be a bad idea because I really didn’t get on board with one of the narrators. She just didn’t sound like I imagined the character would. In fact, very few of the voices seemed to fit their characters. It was a real shame and made it harder to engage with the story.
I finished this book fairly late on Friday night so was feeling pretty smug that I wouldn’t have to rush to get anything finished today. I was going to have a relaxed day and try to get ahead with my next read. Did I? No chance. So, I’m hoping that I can get this written in super quick time and get a fair chunk done before bed. Will I? Well, considering I’m still get my head around my latest read, it doesn’t bode well. I was really looking forward to reading this one because I’d really enjoyed Convenience Store Woman. Although, I know that it’s an incredibly divisive novel. One of my friends absolutely hated it when she read it and I get it. It was the weird story of an outsider trying to find away to fit it. There wasn’t a great deal of plot and it did cross the quirky line quite dramatically. I assumed that Earthlings would also fall into this divisive realm of literature.
This was one of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2020 and I was definitely intrigued by it. It took me a while to get a copy though because I was still under the illusion that I could keep my promise to be more restrained about buying books. Once I had the copy in my possession, it still took me a while to get round to it, which is the reason I’m trying to be restrained about my book buying. I buy books thinking that I need to read them immediately but find my desire wanes when the time comes. Still, after my month of cosy crime, I was looking for something a little different and this seemed like a great thing to get my teeth into. I love a character study with little or no plot. From the sound of it, Pizza Girl would be right up my street.
As I said in my review last Monday, I always like doing what I can to help writers promote their work. A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a couple of poets via Instagram offering me the chance to read their latest poetry collections. As someone who is always trying to read more contemporary poetry, I readily agreed. This Sunday, after having a small issue with Amazon, I sat down to read The Daylight Plays Tricks on Us by Julieanne Hoffmann. I hadn’t planned to finish it in one go but that’s exactly what happened.
Talk about “exciting times”. There was a huge question mark over whether or not I’d get this book finished in time to write my review today. I had a bit of chunk left on Monday night but I had an early blood test the next day. This meant minimum late-night reading. The plan was to finish it on my lunch break on Tuesday. Unfortunately, that never happened. A big issue with working from home is the proximity of my bed to my workstation. I tend to eat lunch as I work and have a break later in the afternoon. This means I can spend the whole time doing nothing. Yesterday, I set my alarm for an hour and had a nap. It was pathetic. I’m not going to be fit for anything once I’m no loner shielding. Still, it got me through the rest of the day. It did mean that I had to quickly get through the final 60 pages and write this review all in the same night. As you can guess, I managed it and with a pretty good chunk of time to spare. It’s all down to the power nap.
I rented this film from Amazon Prime when it was on offer but it never felt like the right time. This seemed like the kind of film that needed my full attention and I’ve just not been in the right frame of mind lately. I’ve been so exhausted, which has meant I could only face watching lighter/sillier films. I really wanted to watch this film though. Thankfully, my time was running out. After getting ahead of my things to do this weekend, I sat down to watch it and was able to give it my full attention. After a couple of fairly mediocre films, it was going to be good to get back to something decent. I was craving a film that had a real story to tell. One that would fully explore its characters and their lives.
I’ve probably said this far too many times recently but I had decided that I was never going to read this book. I’d been put off by the bright pink colour and the title. I couldn’t help but imagine romantic-comedies or YA fiction. I’m not against back protagonists but I am against anything too sentimental and lovey-dovey. I don’t really do romance. I’m too cynical for hearts and flowers. However, I’ve only heard good things about this book so I had to try it for myself. And it’s just another way to add to my anti-racist reading list. The more non-white authors and protagonists I embrace the better, right?
One of the best thing about being a book blogger is that you often get the chance to read things you would normally have missed. Has Samiksha Tulika Ransom not messaged me on Instagram, then I might not have known this anthology existed. When I checked out the anthology, it sounded like exactly the kind of thing that I should be reading. I know I say it every time I review poetry but I don’t read enough poetry. Even though I studied the Romantic poets at university, I am still a little intimidated by poetry. I have much respect for anyone who writes it. I wouldn’t have confidence in myself. And if I did, I’d definitely never try and deal with such important themes.
As it’s the first day of a new year and a new decade, it seems like the perfect time for some self-reflection. Yesterday, I posted my lists of top films, books, and audiobooks for 2019. I normally manage to get through a lot of films each year so 2019 was nothing new. In terms of reading, I’ve really outdone myself. 2018 was the year that I set my first reading challenge. I put it at a fairly meagre 30 books but it was something that I only just managed to pass before December 31st. This year, to be on the safe side, I put it at 30 again. As you’ll know if you’ve read any of my recent bookish posts, I surpassed the 30 mark with a quarter of the year still to go. So, I upped it to 50 and managed to finish 58 books in total. I know compared to many people in the bookish community that this isn’t a great achievement. It is for me. Last year I struggled so much with reading slumps and not wanting to open up the book I was reading. In the last few years, I’ve spent months trying to get through single books. This year, I was normally reading about one a week. It begged the question: what had changed? Well, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I think I know.