I finally feel as though I’m making my way through my ARC backlog. To the extent that I almost requested some more today. I haven’t yet but I’m sure it won’t be long. The latest one that I’ve finished is a book that I wasn’t sure about. It was one of those that I requested on NetGalley but didn’t expect to get. If I’m honest, I don’t expect to get any of the books that I request. I also always feel really cheeky asking, which is ridiculous. After all, it’s standard practice for publishers to give out free copies and digital copies aren’t exactly going to cost anyone anything. It just goes to show that there isn’t anything that I won’t feel awkward about.
I had a pretty successful reading month in October, so it’s been pretty disappointing that November seems to be starting off so slowly. I was really excited to get into this one but it just took me so long to read. I had to have a huge reading session yesterday in order to get through it in time. Still, I managed it and that’s the main thing. I’ve just been so tired lately. It’s not as if this is a particularly boring story. In fact, fat from it. It’s just not the kind of book that could keep me awake at night. Thankfully, I had plenty of time this weekend to get it finished.
If you ask the wrong person, you’ll no doubt be told that the horror genre is going through something of a revolution right now. That it is moving away from its traditional reputation as the trashy and pulpy outcast of the literary world. A recent article in the Guardian prompted some people on Twitter to celebrate the fact that horror was finally becoming political and literary. Well, that’s one way to admit that you don’t know anything about horror fiction. It also has nothing to do with the actual article. The basic argument of that seems to be, look at these minority voices who are now writing horror novels. Just because someone who isn’t white is writing a certain genre doesn’t mean it is only just becoming political. It’s just becoming more diverse and rightly so.
Do you ever get those books that just live in your online shopping basket forever? This was one of those books. I was interested in reading it but not enough to actually go through with it. I guess I just wasn’t totally convinced by the premise. I mean, another book that wanted to explore the impact of your online life on your real life? Yeah, we haven’t seen something like that before. I know this was nominated for a bunch of stuff but it just sounded like the kind of book that had the potential to be disappointing. So, I didn’t really feel like wasting money on the hardback. It was only when the audiobook came up on Audible for £3 that I decided to give it a go. The fact that it was also under 5 hours long helped my decision. I’ve been getting behind on my schedule quite regularly at the moment, which is why I’m posting this on Friday instead of Wednesday as usual. It’s too hot to read and writer anything.
I have been a lover of Agatha Christie for a long time but I’ve never read any of the novels that she published under her pseudonym, Mary Westmacott. Mostly because of the way they’ve been labelled. If there’s anything more likely to get me to avoid a book it’s referring to it as a romance novel. It’s not that I think romance novels are bad but it’s just not my thing. Love is a fact of life but that doesn’t mean I need to read about it for 200-300 pages. I will read the odd romance every now and them but I prefer something a bit darker. Give me a love story full of grisly murder and maybe we can talk. Otherwise, I’ll probably look elsewhere. Although, I decided that I couldn’t really call myself a true Christie fan if I didn’t at least try to read her other books. Why pick this one? It was the first one I saw and it crossed off a letter on my monthly reading challenge.
I have a problem with Bookstagram. My problem being that I can’t stop myself from buying the books that I see people raving about. This was one of those books. Last year this book seemed to be everywhere and I hadn’t heard anyone say anything negative about it. Of course, I was slightly skeptical. I mean book that starts off by comparing itself to Get Out and Rear Window has some pretty high expectations of itself. It’s safe to say that I have been pretty dubious about contemporary thrillers. I find the majority to be superficial and not very thrilling. Of course, the added theme of racism and gentrification of this narrative had got me interested, so I decided to go against my natural instincts. Could it possibly change the genre completely? Especially when it sounded pretty similar to the plot of Vampires vs the Bronx.
It’s been a while since I last logged into NetGalley. It’s mainly because I hate the pressure of it. I would always get overexcited and request loads of books. Then I’d never be able to read them in time and feel guilty. I lost access to a lot of books and, consequently, my rating went down. So, I walked away and decided to read the books I wanted to buy. Then I realised that NetGalley were offering audiobooks. How perfect? I find it much easier to fit in an audiobook in my schedule. So, I went on and requested a bunch. This was the first one that I got and I was really happy. I’d been interested in this collection but, I admit, I’d been left scared after The Wall didn’t really do much for me. Could this collection be as good as it sounded?
You’ll hear plenty of people bemoaning “cancel culture” at the moment. Usually, it’s the people with the most controversial opinion who are so critical of it. All you need to do is look at JK Rowling and see that. Of course, the people who are so vocal about “cancel culture” are also the first people to vow never to use a service again if it goes against their ideas. You know what I’m talking about. The people who threw out their Yorkshire Tea because they don’t agree with racism or set fire to their Nikes when they stood behind Colin Kaepernick. They’ll also be the same people who have cancelled their Netflix subscription after the controversy surrounding one of their latest films. Although, you have to wonder how many have actually watched the feature film debut of writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré. I’d bet all of them have just eaten up what they’ve been told by right wing politicians or the media.
One of the things I’m tired of hearing about George Floyd is when people keep bringing up the fact that he had a criminal record. As if that, in some way, makes his death acceptable. That the fact that he was once in prison makes it okay that a police officer put his knee on George’s kneck for almost 8 minutes. Why does it matter who George was or what he was doing at the time? Nothing should be able to justify the death of a man regardless of what they’ve done. And what about all of those white men who were arrested for mass shootings? How many of them are still alive in prison despite murdering people? I mean Nikolas Cruz shot 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. He was arrested “without incident”. Without incident? All George Floyd was arrested for was allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note. Allegedly. And he was killed. A 19-year-old white kid shot 17 other kids and was arrested “without incident”. And people still don’t think systemic racism exists? It’s bullshit.
One important thing to think about at times of civil unrest is how to explain the situation to young people. Parents need to find a way to make sure their children understand why people are angry and how we have reached this point. It’s all very well and good doing anti-racist reading for myself but what about anti-racist reading lists for children? How can you possibly help a child come to terms with the idea of systemic racism and how it explains the death of innocent people? You don’t want to traumatise them or make them too fearful of society. However, you need to understand that people are protesting for good reasons. That the violence of the Black Lives Matter movement is different from the violence performed by police officers. So, I decided to check out some fiction intended for a younger audience. Just to see what’s out there.