After the debacle that was February for reading (thank you, January, for giving me such a meaty February Reading Nook post), March was a better reading month, though it also had it’s peaks and troughs!
I’ve now made it 12 books through my goodreads goal for 2020 (which actually brings me up to half way), and I’ve made the decision that I’m not going to change it, but rather, I’m going to see how many I go over by (if, indeed, any) and then set my 2021 challenge accordingly, whatever it may be (I’ll do the same if I go below).
But enough waffling… let’s get into what I have (and haven’t) been reading.
I’m pretty pleased to say that quite a few reads were physical books – in one case, I started it in Korea as a paperback and finished it in the UK on kindle.
So we’re kicking off this list with The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. This book has been everywhere recently, and in WHSmiths ‘buy one get one half price’ offer for even longer, or so it feels. I picked this up in the kindle when it was on offer for 99p, and finally got down to reading it.
I finished it in about 24 hours.
This was a classic rom-com novel. You know what’s going to happen from the off, but thankfully this is actually a benefit. Knowing what was going to happen, even if I didn’t know how, meant that I didn’t have to think about that part of the story and could pay attention to the characters and what was happening to them. It was like a re-read without having to make the first pass.
Anyone who knows me and who has read this book will understand why I liked Tiffy so much (creative, all the colour, all the random things, POST-ITS) – yeah she’s great, and all we know about her appearance is that she’s a red head. There was actually very little description in this book regarding characters – enough so that you have an idea, but plenty of scope for you to be able to fill in the gaps as you see fit. I liked that. A lot.
Then there’s the ex-boyfriend and the fallout from the relationship. Without spoiling anything, this was a topic that was dealt with fantastically, and added so much depth to Tiffy’s character, and to the book as a whole. Far too often, a break-up feels merely like a tool to facilitate a new relationship, with no rhyme, reason or care behind it. In The Flatshare, the break-up is more focal to the story than any new relationship.
Overall, this was fab! An easy read, but a thoughtful one, and I’m really keen to read Beth’s next book, The Switch which will be landing in April 2020.
I’ve read a handful of Alex Gray’s books and I’ve found them to be easy, compelling enough reads. The Stalker was less so.
I feel I have to preface this with saying that In a Dark Dark Wood isn’t a bad book, not really, it’s just that I feel like I read this years ago in the form of a young-adult thriller series. I little bit of searching later and I found it: the point horror novel Funhouse bi Diane Hoh (looking through them, I realise I read my way through most of Hoh’s point horror books back in the day.)
So, it’s not exactly the same story (obviously) but the feel of the book was so redolent of those point horror books that it just felt like a poor copy, or a poor attempt at making the genre suitable for a more adult audience. For me, it just missed the mark!
The upside to all this, is that I feel like sourcing and diving into the teenage books of my past.
I really enjoy Korean fiction, in no small part due to the way Korean in spoken and, therefore, the way it translates into English. Korean is a far more lyrical language than English, if that makes sense, and when translates it just reads… differently. In a wonderful way. Japanese translations are somewhat similar in this way (though I have no knowledge of Japanese) and I imagine that Chinese books in translation might also follow this theory (I’ve not dipped my toe into that avenue yet, but I will).
The Miracle on Cherry Hill is .a short read (short, but took me ages) from Korean author Hwang Sun Mi*, whose previous book The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, was an international bestseller.
The book opens detailing two older Korean men, one a convenience store owner (Jang), one a high-powered professional (Kang) – both accurate stereotypes (if you know, you know). This is the story of Kang and his tumour (Sir Lump) and how he deals with the what will be the inevitable.
The book is beautifully written, as I expected it to be, and is, as with many Korean novels, nostalgic as it reminds me of people I met, places I went and events I experienced in Korea.
I’ve not completed a non-fiction book yet this month, but there is one that’s in progress – check out the currently reading section below.
No re-reads this month as I attempted to get through the mammoth TBR pile. I think I’ll be adding a re-read to mix things up next month.
The Sew Me Sunshine blog has been a go-to this month. A handful of sewists and crafters I follow on Instagram have been featured on their blog, and when I saw this fantastic By Hand London Hannah x Tilly And The Buttons Indigo hack, I was inspired (and a week before the New Craft House social sewing weekend!!)
Alongside this post, there are a whole host of fabrics and patterns showcased by sewers of the internet and the inspiration has been fantastic (and there’s a shop section, too). You’ll have to check back to see some of the things I’ve made!
I find that, with anything that come recommended, the more it is hyped, the less likely I am to enjoy it; or, perhaps, the more likely I am to be disappointed.
Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women is a good book. I get that. I get that the subject matter is more than important. I didn’t like the writing… The writing style was hard, abrasive, somewhat emotionless. You might have guessed, from what I’ve said earlier in this post, that I enjoy a more lyrical style, and Three Women was not it.
This wasn’t for lack of trying – I’ve been attempting this book since early in January and I’m still under 10% of the way through. At this point in time, with all the books I want to read and for all the lack of enjoyment, in any form, I’m deriving from this book, I’ve decided that now is
There’s a fare few books on here (as always!)
First up, is Sandi Toksvig’s Between the Stops, which is a journey through London on the number 12 bus, with local history and Sandi’s memories and anecdotes meshed together between. I have a lot of time for Sandi Toksvig, of course, being a Bake Off judge helps, but she’s always been pretty cool.
Her style of writing is conversational and enjoyable, drawing you and and making you feel like she’s having a chat with you. I’m keen to continue this one.
An Adventure History of Paris is still on-going, but not a priority. These two were excellent tube books, and as my social distancing is taking the form of near-total isolation, the tube isn’t going to be a thing for a good long while.
I’d started Alice, as you might remember from the last Reading Nook post, but I’m putting this on hold for now. I first read this in book form, and I’m finding the Kindle version less enjoyable… one day, it shall be in my hands again, and the re-read shall resume!
(*) I prefer to write Korean names in the Korean fashion (family name followed by given name), rather than converting them to suit Western conventions – merely because, to be, they sound really odd this way.
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