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’m yet to be convinced by Disney’s plan to remake all of its animated film as live-action. At best, they can be described as fine. At worst, they’re pointless. The best by far is The Jungle Book because it was only slightly concerned with the original film. I guess Maleficent worked pretty well but I wonder how much that had to do with Angelina Jolie rather than the actual film. So, I wasn’t exactly hyped when it was announced that Cruella DeVil, first seen in 1961’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians, was getting an origin story. Or that she was going to be played by Emma Stone. Don’t get me wrong, I love Emma Stone but she’s no Glenn Close. The 1996 remake did many things wrong but casting Close as the villain was a genius stroke. I didn’t see how Stone would be able to compete and that was before I heard her dodgy accent.
I’d started reading The Mystery of Love in February for LGBTQ+ history month. Although, I didn’t really get very far. I just wasn’t in the mood for it and I had plenty of other books to finish first. So, I decided that Pride month was the perfect time to finish it. I ended up listening to the audiobook on my lunchbreaks so it took a few days to actually get to the end but I managed it just in time for the end of June. I actually think getting the audiobook made a big difference to how easy this was to read. Whether it was the narrator, the book or both, The Mystery of Love was the perfect thing to listen to.
I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would finish this in time or not. I’d had a slow end to the week and had let my reading go. Thankfully, it was a pretty quick read and I got the majority of it done on Sunday. I forget that YA novels don’t take as long to read as the books I usually read. Mostly because it doesn’t have that literary fiction desire to complicate things. It did take a bit longer because I was so careful not to ruin the gorgeous stencilled edges of this book. It’s such a beautiful thing and I need it to say as pristine as possible.
I’m having a nightmare with my photos at the moment. My Instagram feed is all over the place because I can’t the lighting consistent. The image at the top of this post was the worst to edit so far. Nothing went right and I was ready to pack it in completely. But I persisted and it will do. This book was my book club’s pick for Pride month and it was my suggestion. I normally don’t get too involved in the picking process because I was the last to join. I know it’s mental but it feels as though my opinion is less important than the others. So, I am a little worried about what they’ll think of this one. It’s been on my TBR for ages and I was looking forward to reading it. The book group is mostly full of people looking for gruesome murders though. I’m not sure this will be everyone’s cup of tea.
My last Tuesday blog ended with me saying that I needed to stop watching random animated movies and start watching real films again. Of course, when I said real films what I meant was grown-up films. It’s not that I think animated films aren’t real. So, I guess it could be considered something of a failure that I’m back this week with another animated feature but I think this one’s okay. After all, the latest Pixar release is a far cry from the random stuff that keeps popping up on Netflix these days. I’ve always been a big Pixar fan, so I knew that I had to check this one out as soon as possible.
I promised myself that I would try and read some Pride appropriate books during June and, so far, I’ve not done a great job. I’ve got my book club’s choice to go yet but I decided it was time to get some LGBTQ+ representation up in here. I had originally set aside Giovanni’s Room to read during Black History Month but that never happened. It’s probably a good thing as well because James Baldwin doesn’t address race in this book. Instead, his entire focus is sexuality. Making it the perfect book to read in the month of June.
Despite the fact that I vowed to buy fewer books this year, my Spell the Month reading challenge has made it difficult to do this. I have a lot of unread books but there are plenty of letters that I still don’t have books for. J is one of the most awkward letters for me at the moment and I had to go searching for something to pick up. I read about this when looking on the Booker Prize website. I’m not normally a fan of short story collections because I prefer a longer form. However, this sounded like something that I couldn’t miss. The fact that it’s a J title was an added bonus.
I’d love to be the kind of reader who keeps up with all of the literary awards. You know the person I mean. They take note of the longlists and shortlists when they’re released. Then they manage to make their way through them before the winner is revealed. For one thing, who can get their hands on that many books? For another, who has such a small TBR that they can happily add so many books to them? If I tried to do this with the major literary awards then I’d never cope. So, I tend to have a look through the lists and then see if any take my fancy. Even then, I don’t tend to read them in time because I never do. However, sometimes a book comes along that has such an exciting premise that I can’t not pick it up. The Employees was one of those books. I knew that I had to read it and I had to read it soon.
When I get chance, I need to make a list of every Agatha Christie novel and cross off the ones I’ve read since October 2020. That way I can keep track of how I’m doing with my reading challenge. It will also help me plan how many I can fit into the next few months. I’m not going to get through them all before October this year but I’ll try and do as many as possible. We’re over halfway through the 12 months and I’ve only read 15, so I really need to get a move on. At least I’ve already got one more crossed off in June. I’m focusing more on Miss Marple at the moment and this one also let me cross off another letter for my monthly reading challenge.