Ian McEwan used to be one of my favourite authors. I would instantly buy any book that he wrote. Over time, it became harder to care. I’d either not read it or just wouldn’t bother buying them. It wasn’t until Nutshell came out that I was bothered by his latest releases. It just sounded so good. So good that I promptly bought a copy and then didn’t read it for years. I tried to read it once but couldn’t get into it. I figured it was just going to be another one of those books that sit on my shelves forever unread. Until I found the audiobook in the library catalogue. Then it became the soundtrack to my work over a couple of days this week. Was it worth the wait?
I’ve had quite a few boring and repetitive jobs to do at work recently, so have turned to audiobooks to get me through. Turns out, it’s pretty easy to get your reading count up when you can get through an audiobook or 2 in one day. Now it makes sense how so many people on Instagram are regularly getting through 20+ books a month. It’s not something that I could do every day because I have to write a lot. If I try and listen as I write, I just end up typing words from the audiobook. Definitely not worth it. Last week, I made it through 3 books and managed to cross off 3 more letters from my monthly reading challenge. I’m starting to feel quite good about where I am in a reading sense. I just wish the rest of my life was as easy.
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.
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 It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year.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.
One of the positive side effects of taking part in my friend’s virtual book club is that I find out about loads of great books. Of course, most of the time we don’t end up reading the ones that I’m really interested in, so I have take it upon myself to read them. This book was my pick or February’s Valentine theme and it was one that I knew I had to buy for myself. It just sounded like such a different take on a love story. Although, I did have some fears about it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel about super heroes that I’ve enjoyed. The superhero genre is such a visual one that I think it’s really hard to translate that in words. Could you imagine trying to write a novelisation of some of the most popular graphic novels? It’d be so difficult. As this book didn’t sound quite as bothered about the superhero element, I figured that it might be a bit safer.
We’re so close to the end of the year which means that everyone is thinking about what they’ve achieved this year. For us bookish folks that mainly means the number of books that we’ve read. I’m already seeing people compiling their list of favourite books for 2020. How are they so on it? I’ve figured out which my top 5 rated books are but that doesn’t mean they were my favourite reads. Flawless books don’t always give us the same feels as slightly flawed books do. It’s not always the most fun to read a technically brilliant book. I have been looking back over my reviews for the year though. I think I get more wary of ratings near New Year’s Eve because I remember all of the great books I’ve read over the last 12 months. The books I’m currently reading start to pale in comparison to the books I’d long forgotten about until now. I blame that for my struggle to rate this book. I couldn’t decide so went with a bit of a compromise. Next year, I’m only doing rereads on December. It’s easier.
This would typically be the time that I post a book review but, unfortunately, I was never going to finish a book for today. I’m so used to reading shorter books at the moment that I completely underestimated the time it would take to read a 300+ page book. When it comes to books, size doesn’t matter. Some of the best books that I’ve read recently have been around 200 pages. I know in certain parts of the bookish community, there is something competitive about book size. To some people, if you’re not reading long books then you aren’t doing it right. Me? I’ll do whatever it takes to get enough books read in a week. With a full-time job and other committments, shorter books are the best way to do that. Of course, this means that I’ve got quite an arsenal of quick reads ready to recommend.
I saw this book in a bookshop a month ago and immediately wanted to read it. But, considering my TBR list is so huge, I decided against it. Until a few weeks later when I couldn’t resist anymore and bought a cheap copy. I couldn’t wait to start reading it. As soon as I’d done with Love, Nina I did it. And, if I hadn’t already passed my GoodReads challenge score, it would have been a perfect read. I finished it in 3 days, which for me is kind of miraculous. Does it help that I’m on holiday this week? Certainly but let’s not take away from my achievements.
You may remember that last week I read a purposefully quick read in order to get another review posted. After starting the first book in the Mistborn trilogy last week I knew I wasn’t going to get that finished in time. I mean it’s an epic fantasy novel that’s over 600 pages long. At this point in time I’m only about 1/6th of the way through. I’m being pretty slow at reading lately so even if I had forgone sleep every night I still wouldn’t have done it. And it really wouldn’t have been worth going through work being that tired. It’s been a rubbish few days as it is so I don’t need anymore problems! So, realising that there was no way I could write anything about Brandon Sanderson’s novel but wanting to continue my streak, I decided to pick a short novel to read. That ended up being this novella by Joyce Carol Oates.