March rolled around fast, eh? It’s World Book Day today, so I thought it’d be a good time to show you what I read/audiobooked in February! As with all these round-ups, I’m not going to give you a synopsis of the book (that’s what goodreads and amazon are for), but just tell you whether I rate or slate them.
This has been on my bookshelf for ages. I think we got it as a 2 for a fiver at Sainsbury’s or something. I didn’t realise this was a YA book before I started reading, not that that would’ve put me off. It was… meh. Something and nothing. If it wasn’t a short-read I’d have probably given up. Not really on my recommends list!
On Audio: I’ve listened to all of Stephen Fry’s autobiographies on audiobook, and they never disappoint. I couldn’t imagine reading an autobiography not read by the author, or someone close to the author!
My god, private single-sex schools! I mean, we all know these things go on, but it’s a whole different story when you hear Stephen Fry narrating his losing-of-virginity in one of the bathrooms, isn’t it? I would thoroughly recommend any of Fry’s autobiographies, I’ve enjoyed every one of them, even though I haven’t listening to them in chronological order.
I read this at the start of the month while I was up in Northumberland in a little cottage by the sea. I haven’t seen the film adaptation yet, but that’s what made me get this book.
There’s a lot of criticism about this book on Goodreads & amazon, but I really enjoyed it. There’s navel gazing, for sure, but that’s what personal accounts and autobiographies are for, right? For me, this book was about how Cheryl dealt with grief after the loss of her mother, it wasn’t solely about how incredibly unprepared (and stupid) she was on her long hike, or about the mistakes she made in her life. That was just part of the ‘self exploration’ journey. As a hiker myself I appreciated her descriptions of her journey & all the things she found difficult and had to overcome.
This has long been on my To Read list, and it came up on Amazon’s kindle deal of the day to commemorate the Dresden bombings. I really enjoyed this book, and I’ve added it to my re-read list. It’s the kind of book that made me wish I’d read a paper copy so I could’ve added notes to the margins. A twisted plot with so much under the surface, it might be a quick read but it stays with you.
On Audio: I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Goldfinch last year, the narration on that one was excellent. This one, though, was read by the author herself which, when the main character is an early-twenties male, is a bit weird. I ended up switching the speed up on audible to play at 1.25x, such was the monotony of Tartt’s narration. Kinda wish I’d read the book instead, as I don’t think it did much good to the story.
Loads of people say that this is their favourite ever book, a masterpiece, perfection. I mean, I found it interesting, and a good listen, but I don’t think I’d put it in my top 10. I preferred The Goldfinch! I found the characters to be overwrought and overworked, kind of like Tartt had tried to inject them all with too much personality. I couldn’t find myself rooting for any of them, or feeling any kind of affinity.
Now this is what you want in a trashy novel (after my last trashy novel, The State We’re In, left a bitter taste in my mouth). The characters are a bit vapid, the storyline tries to be more than it actually is, but it’s exactly what you expect from a book like this. Perfect long flight or Friday-night-on-the-sofa fodder, an easy read with a few twists and turns that keep you turning the pages.
In February I also started, and gave up on, Concretopia. I might revisit it at some point, but I found it really text-booky and not as interesting as I’d hoped. I guess not all non-fiction can be as good as Bryson, eh?
Topics of the books on my shelf for next month: adventures on motorcycles, long walks, short stories, and comedy genius.
You can find me on Goodreads! PS. All amazon links above are affiliate links, if you click + buy, I get a few pence.