What I’ve been reading: December and January

Hi everyone,

It feels good to be back posting, this bloody laptop will be the death of me! I thought I’d start a series of posts that are a little different, I’ve recently got back into reading as it gives me something to do on the bus on the way to work. So I’m going to post every month with a short review of what I’ve been reading. I don’t read e-books, I can’t stand them. I need to feel the paper of a book in my hands. So the prices I will list are for the paperbacks, although there are usually hardbacks available, as they are cheaper. If you like e-books then I imagine everything I read is available in that format. I also will post photos of the books I read but unfortunately the books for this first post have been packed away to protect them from my damp house.

The first book I finished was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, I’d seen a few people talking about this book and decided it was worth a go. I really loved the story, the difficulties that the male character goes through, depressive and suicidal thoughts are something which many men deal with but find themselves unable to express. As someone who has studied psychology and knows the rates for male suicide I found the ideas of this book very interesting. The book takes you on an emotional journey from both of the main characters points of view, each with their own battles to deal with but also really trying to help each other through it. I ended up finishing the book in two days as I was so engrossed, the ending conjures up a mixture of feelings and I wouldn’t call it a particularly happy ending but it is definitely worth a read. I also like that the author include organisations which can help at the end of the book.

The paperback is £3.85 on Amazon.

The second book I picked up was The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett, I had this pre-ordered from the announcement of its release. I love Terry Pratchett’s writing and the Discworld that he created, but I also love the Tiffany Aching series and have been reading it since I was a teenager. This is the last book in that series, but also the last book that he wrote before he passed away. He couldn’t finish the book himself so his team created the ending with a note that the book may not have finished exactly how he wanted and that made me sad. The book was absolutely beautiful and I was thrown back into the world that I love so much, with rich characters that I have known since I was a child. The story is both funny and sad, but also very touching. I found that the ending was very final, and it’s been said that there will be so more books so I’m glad that it ended that way. The lovely bit about Terry at the back made me cry and I was so glad that I’d been able to read this book.

The paperback is £7.99 on Amazon.

The third book I read was The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson. I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I read before the English film came out. I don’t know why I never got around to continuing the series, especially after finishing this fantastic second book. Larsson’s writing absorbs you right into the story, Lisbeth is richly described, and I love how nobody understands her because she has learnt to not let anyone in. She is a strongly moral character, despite what others in the book try to say about her and she’s an antidote to the general misogynistic views of many of the series’ male characters. I find this especially important when the book is dealing with themes such as violence against women and the underground sex trade. I love Larsson’s attention to detail, each character is meticulously described, including their history, so you can be in no doubt as to what each character wants and what their motives are. After reading this book I could not wait to get my hands on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

The paperback is £3.85 on Amazon.

The last book I read this month was The Red House by Mark Haddon, having read and enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time when it was released I thought this book was worth a go. From the off there is rich description of all the characters, each with their own issues, he really gets into the mind set of each person and there is a varied cast. I liked that the chapters are separate days of the family’s trip so you can see how events and relationships evolve of the course of the week. However, I don’t like how quickly he switches between each character, to another character observing someone else, to a different characters thoughts. It’s a stream of consciousness which would work well with minimal characters but for eight people it was too jumpy. I found it intense, too hard to keep up and quite difficult to read. I liked the poetic language and the focus on real human struggles and managed to finish the book but I wouldn’t like to read something like that again.

The paperback is £8.99 on Amazon.

Okay so that’s my first book review post, I read all these books in December and January and am currently working on my post of February. I hope you enjoyed it. As I am scheduling this post I am about to leave for work during Storm Imogen, I have to walk to the bus in heavy rain and 60mph gusts. Oh, and the soles of my boots have broken so I am going to have soaking feet. I desperately need a new pair!

Hope you’ve had a great day

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