I’m on holiday next week, so I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a bit. Meaning, this will be my last book review for a while. It better be a good one I guess. I’d never heard of this book until Amazon suggested it to me. I know that I should use Amazon as little as possible but I’ve discovered so many novels thanks to its algorithm. This one was perfect for so many reasons but mostly because I was struggling to find shorter reads for my September reading challenge. I’ve got so many letters to cross off but the majority of the books I’d lined up were all over 300. That wouldn’t do. The Reader comes in at under 200, which means I already loved it before I’d even opened it.
I’m really happy with how all of my reading at the moment. I don’t know whether it’s just that I’m coming out of a very recent slump or that I’m just reading better books. Whatever it is, I’m very pleased with how it’s all going. I’m not necessarily as fast as I normally am but I’m definitely inspired by the novels I’m finishing. The latest one was a book club pick but also a book that I’ve wanted to read for ages. Longer than I actually realised. When I was about halfway through the paperback version, I realised that I had bought a Kindle copy of this book in 2016. So, I’ve been meaning to read this for 5 years and had forgotten all about it. My Kindle is full of books like that. Ones that I buy when they cost 99p but forget about moments later. At least I can finally cross one off the my list of unread ebooks.
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.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which means that lists of the most romantic reads are popping up all over the internet. Now, I have a huge problem with these lists. Mostly because of the books that continually appear on them. I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the romance genre anyway. It’s just not my thing. There’s nothing wrong with it but I get bored of the waiting. I also know that romance novels aren’t as terrible as certain people try to make out. There is a pretentiousness that often comes out when talking about romance that mostly occurs because, historically, it has been a genre written for women. I could go deeper into the problematic history of the genre and the marginalisation of certain writers/subjects but I think that’s best saved for a better writer. Instead, I want to focus on problematic books that appear on lists of Valentine’s Day reads. Let’s be honest, many of the supposedly most romantic books ever written feature relationships that we shouldn’t be celebrating. Everywhere I go, I see young bookish people romanticising toxic and awful relationships and I can stay silent no longer. Here are just a view literary loves that we really need to accept aren’t #goals.
Back in 2018, you couldn’t go anywhere without people talking about this film. Okay, when I say anywhere” I actually mean social media but the fact remains. Not seeing this film when it came out did set me apart from popular opinion. So why didn’t I watch it? To be honest, I just had no interest. I’m not a fan of the whole romantic-comedy thing and this sounded like every other film about two star-crossed lovers. Of course, this one had the added benefit of giving some much needed Asian representation on film. Even though didn’t actually go as smoothly as it should have. Even when we take one step forwards there is always going to be someone who complains about something. As it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day, I decided that I really should watch something of this type and it’s been staring at me every time I search through Prime. It finally felt like the time to do it.
On Saturday, I set out a list of reading resolutions for the year. As usual, one of the majors ones was to buy fewer books. This is something I try and fail to keep every year. The publishing industry just can’t stop bringing out more fantastic books. However, I do intend to do better this year because I’m painfully aware that I have something of storage problem. In order to stop myself from buying new books, I have set myself a second resolution of actually reading the books on my shelves. I have that classic bookish problem of having owned books for years. This is especially true of my Kindle. I tend to buy cheap ebooks on a whim and then forget about them. According to Amazon, I bought Jonathan Unleashed in December 2016. That means I’ve owned it for 4 years. It feels as though it was time to finally give it a chance.
I haven’t been a massive fan of romantic comedies since I was a stupid tween but I can definitely see the appeal this year. There is so much awful stuff going on in the world that escaping into a rom-com seems like the perfect thing to do. There is a familiarity about these films that is pretty comforting. You know where you’re going to end up before you’ve even started, so you can just sit down and let it all wash over you. Considering the rest of the world is in utter turmoil, there’s a lot to be said to knowing what to expect. This is my only explanation for sitting down to watch the new Netflix original romantic comedy despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t really going to enjoy it.
As I suggested in my review of How to Build a Girl, there was an obvious choice for a companion TBT film. Almost Famous is a clear bedfellow for Caitlin Moran’s coming-of-age tale. The only problem is, I never want to watch Almost Famous again. I know that I’m in a tiny minority of people but I really don’t get what the fuss was about. It just seemed a bit too overindulgent and facile. It was pure Hollywood and didn’t really speak much to me or my experiences. I don’t understand why people adore it so much. So I needed to find an alternative. I went for another Kate Hudson film. Not one I was any more excited to watch but one that I could at least sit through. Handily, she plays a journalist who tries to get ahead by being unnecessarily mean. Oh, and it has “how to” in the title. Not a bad companion film after all.
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.
Last night, I attended my first virtual book club meeting. Despite being a massive book person, I’ve never actually been part of a book club before. So, to attend my first one on Zoom wasn’t great. I’m awkward and introverted at the best of times without adding being uncomfortable on camera as well. But, of course, it was mostly fine. I’d read the book in time and, as you’ll have read in my book review on Monday, I really loved the book. I knew before going in that it had been adapted into a film for Netflix but I didn’t want to watch it before reading. Fearing that it might alter my opinion of the book or something. Once I was finished, it seemed like the perfect choice for my TBT film this week. After all, any chance to watch Jane Fonda is something is welcome.