I fell behind with my reviews last week because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. To make up for it, I’m back with 3 mini reviews in on post. I guess book reviews are like buses. You wait a week for a new one and then 3 turn up at once. Really though, it didn’t seem worthwhile giving any of these books their own post, which means that they’re all clumped together. Enjoy a bitesize analysis of my last 3 reads.
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.
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.
Yesterday was Haruki Murakami and I’ve seen plenty of people on Instagram picking up his books this month. I decided that I wanted to pick something up and decided to finally get round to this short collection. I’m not as well-versed in Murakami’s short stories as I’d like to be. It’s not about their quality but more about my attention span for short stories. I typically need a longer narrative to keep me going or I just lose my pace. I have lost count of how many anthologies I own but have never read more than one story. So, I was determined to keep to my “read more books from my shelves” resolution and finish this one.
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.
I finished this book fairly late on Friday night so was feeling pretty smug that I wouldn’t have to rush to get anything finished today. I was going to have a relaxed day and try to get ahead with my next read. Did I? No chance. So, I’m hoping that I can get this written in super quick time and get a fair chunk done before bed. Will I? Well, considering I’m still get my head around my latest read, it doesn’t bode well. I was really looking forward to reading this one because I’d really enjoyed Convenience Store Woman. Although, I know that it’s an incredibly divisive novel. One of my friends absolutely hated it when she read it and I get it. It was the weird story of an outsider trying to find away to fit it. There wasn’t a great deal of plot and it did cross the quirky line quite dramatically. I assumed that Earthlings would also fall into this divisive realm of literature.
How do you decide which books to buy? Since being on Instagram, I have found my number of impulse buys increasing. It’s so difficult to see the beautiful covers in people’s photos and then not buy. This book was one of those buys. I’d seen a photo posted by poppymaeve and knew that I had to find out more about it. Once I had the synopsis then I knew it was a book that I had to read. There’s nothing I love more than a simple plot that turns into a great character and that’s what this sounded like.
I’ve been working from home since Wednesday and it took until yesterday for me to really use the situation to get on with my reading. I spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon to finish the last 110 or so pages of my current read, which wasn’t great going considering it is only about 160 pages long. Still, it has hopefully set me up to get better and use my downtime to read more. Which I need to do considering how many books I’ve bought recently. My 2020 book buying ban had been going quite well until I was faced with having to spend an undisclosed amount of time stuck inside my house. Then I went crazy and decided I need to bulk buy books to keep me occupied. Not that I’m ever in any danger of having nothing to read. On the plus side, I bought and preordered a few books by international authors. I’ve been getting better at reading a wider range of authors in the past few years, so 2020 should prove to be my most diverse reading list ever.
I stumbled across this whilst browsing in a bookshop. I read the back and was instantly hooked. It sounded absolutely perfect and everything I wanted to read. So, I bought a copy. Like any normal human being, right? Apparently not. At least not according to the people on GoodReads. Whilst updating my status with this book the other day I saw something that really irritated me so I’m going to have a quick rant before I get on with my review.
I would never have read this novel if it weren’t for the Booker International longlist – I’d already seen the blurb a few months earlier and decided the book wasn’t for me. After the longlist was announced, I requested and received an ARC of The Pine Islands, direct from a very nice member of staff at the publisher
So, you had already rejected a book because it wasn’t for you but then it nearly won a prize. Then you demanded a copy of it for free, knowing that, in all likelihood, you weren’t going to enjoy it that much. What the hell kind of entitlement is that? This is the kind of shit that gives all bloggers a bad name. Like the people who went into a restaurant and demanded a free meal in exchange for a review. It’s pathetic. The fact that this person also appears to be the kind of person who uses their reviews to let everyone know that they’re more intelligent than you. I mean, it’s GoodReads for fuck’s sake. If the review goes on more than 5 paragraphs it’s too much. Anyway, as you can tell it put me in a huge mood. So, I’d better get on with the reason I’m here.