Like many others, I first became interested in this book when it was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2018. It sounded like an interesting story and I’m always intrigued by feminist dystopian fiction. I never actually bought it though because, as is always the case, I had far too much to read first. I then got a copy in a book subscription box that I used to get. It wasn’t a great subscription all round but this was definitely a highlight. The book has spent the last year or so on my shelf waiting to be read. Why did I decide to read it now? I wanted the excuse to experiment with water in some photos. I’ve had worse reasons for picking up a book but this isn’t exactly my finest hour. I was still interested but I’d also heard mixed things about Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel. I guess that I had to find out for myself.
I finished Twleve Nights about 2/3 days before the end of 2020 so I had a bit of a conundrum about what to pick next. I wanted something that I could definitely finish in time because I hate the idea of carrying a book over. I feel like a failure and I don’t like that it skews my final count. I picked this one up even though it’s the longest book I’ve read for ages because I was being cocky. Of course, when it got to the morning of the 31st, I still have about 200 pages to go. Considering we were babysitting my niece during the day, it didn’t leave me with a great deal of time to read either. So, as soon as she left, I retreated to my room and didn’t come out until I’d finished. As it turned out, I finished it in about 2 hours, which goes to show how much more I could achieve if I just took the time to read properly. Anyway, I did what I wanted and got it finished. But was it the best book to choose as my final book of the year?
Can we all come to some sort of agreement, please? That we stop comparing contemporary crime thrillers to Agatha Christie? I know that she still has a reputation as a cosy crime writer but Christie is the type of writer that very few can live up to. She has a deep understanding of human behaviour and knows how to mislead her readers convincingly. I blame her writing for the fact that I so often guess book twists. She, and to some extent Arthur Conan Doyle, has trained me to start thinking too critically about everything I read. I’m always disappointed by modern crime books. Especially those super hyped ones that everyone loves. Like The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. I’ve heard so many people praising it but I was not blown away. I’d guessed who the victim was from the start and it was super obvious who had killed them. So, I hadn’t intended to read her follow-up The Guest List. Until the ebook was on offer. It might not be a great read but at least it would dull the boredom for a while.
After finishing two audiobooks last weekend, I decided to keep the good times rolling and listen to another one during the week. As I mentioned in my Sunday Rundown yesterday, I still haven’t been able to pick up a physical book so I decided to keep going with audiobooks. I’m hoping that it will stop me falling ina to a slump. The book I chose was something I bought ages ago on Audible. I imagine it was a deal of the day because it really isn’t my usual kind of book. I was intending to listen to it before I went to bed, on my commute, and on my lunch break at work. In the end, I listened to it for most of Tuesday as I got on with my jobs. I work in an office with 4 other people and it’s super quiet. Most of the time, we’re all just plugged into our music and getting on with stuff. I know it sounds really unsocial but it means we all just get on with things. There is still enough chat but it means we just do our individual thing. It also means that, on days when I don’t have as much writing to do, that I can listen to an audiobook. It’s quite effective.
Christmas films are a complicated thing. There are so many classics but, let’s be honest, they’ve sort of ground to a halt in recent years. Christmas films just aren’t as good these days. Seriously, I think that last one time a festive movie really spoke to audiences was Elf and that was way back in 2003. I can’t even remember a Christmas film that’s come out since. Okay, there are the terrible Netflix films that I love so much but they’re hardly good. Something being so bad it’s impossible not to watch isn’t the same thing. So, I guess the world is waiting for something great. On paper, that film could easily have been Last Christmas. Co-written by Emma Thompson? Check. Directed by Paul Feig? Check. Starring Emilia Clarke? Check. Soundtrack celebrating George Michael? Check. What is not to love there? So, could Last Christmas really fail? I had to find out.