Wednesday, 28 February 2018

February 2018 Reading Wrap Up

Well, I can say that I was more successful with reading than I was with blogging in February. I read 12 books, and most of them I enjoyed.

1. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

I had seen a lot of hype surrounding this book, and it made a lot of people's most anticipated books of 2018 lists, so I thought I would check it out, knowing not much about it other than it was magical realism. Set in 18th Century London, it is the story of a Mr. Hancock, who is a merchant awaiting the return of his ship. One night the ship's Captain arrives at his door and tells him that he as sold the ship and bought a mermaid instead. When he decides to exhibit it, he is brought into contact with the glamorous courtesan Angelica Neal, and it changes the course of both their lives.

It is essentially an historical romance, which I enjoyed a great deal. I have read some reviews saying it was too slow;  I agree, it was quite slow in places, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. It is a beautifully written story. I can imagine it being announced as a contender for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction when the longlist is announced next month.

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This was in the January Fairyloot box, and again, I had seen this book hyped all over the book community. I was excited to read it, especially after enjoying Holly Black's Tithe last month, but at the same time, I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the expectation.

I loved it. It is the story of Jude, whose parents were murdered when she was seven, and the man faerie who did it took her and her sisters to live in faerie land. All three girls react very differently to their new situation, and being outsiders in a world they do not belong to. Jude wants to be a warrior and to impress the faeries, who see her as a lesser being. She is drawn into a world of secrets, and for the first time feels that she belongs, but this is not without costs. The ending was both surprising and satisfying. The only change I would make would be to cut out most of Jude's romantic story line, but thankfully there wasn't much of that anyway. I am so looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

3. The Dumb House by John Burnside

This was one that a lot of people compared to The Collector. It came close for me, but didn't quite topple Fowles. I immediately identified with this book because the main character was fascinated by the stories his mother told him as a boy about 'The Dumb House', where a prince, convinced that modern language had evolved away from the holy language that god had intended us to speak, ordered an experiment where babies were brought up hearing no spoken language. In the story, when the prince visited the compound some years later, it was completely silent.

When I was a teenager, and I first heard of psychological experiments, I spent a long time wondering about what would happen if you took children and left them to fend for themselves, would they be like animals and just know automatically what it was to be human. I am not sure if there may have been something in the news at the time, because this book would have been written about the same time, and perhaps Burnside's imagination was sparked by the same source as my own.

Unlike me though, the narrator is so obsessed that he makes it his life's goal to repeat the experiment. It is a fascinating look onto the mind of the narrator, a natural loner who doesn't value other people's lives, not even those of his own flesh and blood. It is not an easy read, but extremely engrossing.

4. The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

I remembered to read this month's Booker winner early in the month. I picked it because it won in the year I was born. However, unknowingly (although perhaps the title should have been a clue) I picked up a retelling of The Tempest which was everything I wished Hag-Seed had been.

Like Hag-Seed, The Sea,The Sea follows a famous theatre director, but this time he exiles himself  to a small village by the sea, rather than being cast out by others. He wants to live his final years in isolation, but not only do the people he wants to leave behind keep turning up at his doorstep, but he finds that he is living in the same village as the only woman he ever loved. He decides to sabotage her marriage and convince her that they should finally be together and live the rest of their days together. This book is so many things, from tragic to farcical, and I loved every page.

5. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

The theme for Penguin Books UK #readtheyear challenge for February was obsessive love. What can be more obsessive than Lolita. I am going to assume that you know what this is about. I thought the first half was all consuming and beautiful despite the subject matter. However, the second half of the book lost me and I found it very underwhelming and difficult to read. I am glad to have it ticked off my TBR.

6. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore

This was my Nan's favourite book, and ten years after she died I felt I should finally read it. Set on the border of Somerset (where my Nan lived her whole life) and Devon. This is an epic love story of John Ridd a farmer, and Lorna Doone a girl of noble birth who now belongs to the lawless clan who killed his father.

It is a bit on the long side, but for me that didn't matter so much because of the connection to my Grandmother. I loved it the more because of that, but I think this deserves to be included on more books of classics you must read.

7. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

When I was eleven my brother and I shared a small second television set. Some days it would be in his room and some days it would be in mine. We were not allowed to watch anything after lights out, but that didn't stop me from trying. It was through these illicit late night viewings that I became aware of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the adaptation starring the amazing and sadly missed Charlotte Coleman. I was too young to understand my feelings at the time, but I knew that when I was older I wanted to come back to Oranges. Almost thirty years later and I wish I hadn't waited so long. I wish I had read this as a teenager and dealt with those feelings and come to terms with who I was much sooner.

It is the story of Jeanette, a semi autobiographical novelisation of the author's life. She was adopted into a very religious household, and her mother believes she has been given Jeanette in order to turn her into a missionary. Jeanette is happy to go along with this vision for her future, but this comes crashing about her when she falls in love with a woman.

It was poignant, funny and magical, interspersed with fairy tales. At 224 pages it packs a lot in, and I can see myself rereading it in the years to come. I am looking forward to reading her autobiography, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal.

8. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I had heard good things about this book, not least that my favourite thriller writer, Harlan Coben, called it 'Masterful' on the front cover. A man is kidnapped and knocked out, waking to a life where his wife isn't his wife and his son was never born. It is a thriller with a sci-fi twist. It is a page turner and I finished it in almost one sitting. I did manage to guess the kidnapper on page 23, but I don't hold that against it. A great thriller, and I will definitely read more from Blake Crouch in the future.

9. Amongst Women by John McGahern

For a book under 100 pages long it packs in an epic of a family saga. I have to admit, at one point at the beginning I almost gave up, thinking it was perhaps the most boring thing I have ever read. I am so glad I persevered, because I ended up loving it. It was nominated for the Booker Prize in the same year as Possession, so it was interesting to compare the two, and I think I agree with the judges decision, but it is a close thing.

10. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

I must admit. I did not finish this book. I persevered as long as I could, because I changed my mind with Amongst Women. However, I hated the narrator, she was shallow, narcissistic and bigoted. I just couldn't make myself care for her story, and I have loved some abhorrent narrators, so it is not that she was just unlikable. It was an important book when it was first published and it gave many women the courage to change their lives for the better. There were parts of the book that made me laugh out loud and the writing was enjoyable. I think had I read this 20 years ago, I would have devoured it.

11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I have a slightly conflicted feeling about this book. For the most part I adored this book. The first couple of chapters read as a modern day Bridget Jones, but then we are shown that there is something different about Eleanor, and that is where my conflict emerges. I loved this book, but whereas with Bridget Jones the humour comes from her clumsiness and awkwardness, much of the humour is played off of Eleanor's differences. A woman who has been thoroughly let down by the society in which we live. She had a tragic upbringing, is now an alcoholic, and an outcast of society.

Despite those misgivings, it is a heartwarming read, as she goes from lonely to finding herself surrounded by people who actually care about her. It won the Costa first novel award last year, but I am not convinced it will be revealed on the Women's Prize longlist next week. I look forward to reading whatever Gail Honeyman writes next.

12. The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

The novel's opening line must be one of the best opening lines of all time: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It is certainly something to bear in mind when reading books from another time. Things that are unacceptable now were social norms back then, and in the case of this book, things that were unacceptable are not a problem for our generation.

The Go-Between is told by Leo, a man in his sixties, looking back at the events of July 1900 when he was 12 years old, when he spends the first part of the summer holidays in Norfolk at the home of one of his school friends. When his friend falls ill, he is transported into a world of adults that he doesn't understand. Charmed by his friend's older sister, Marian, he agrees to act as the messenger between her and local farmer, Ted.

I loved this book, even the two chapters on a cricket match! I actually looked up when the next cricket match would be shown on telly. Luckily it seems that it will not be until 2020 when the cricket is back on the BBC, and by then I shall have forgotten all about it. The ending is not so shocking as it would have been back when the novel was published, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of it. I cannot wait to reread this later, I think it would be a fascinating text to study.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January 2018 Reading Wrap Up

I had a pretty good start to the year in terms of the number of books read, 14 in total for January, but in terms of enjoyment it was a bit of a mixed bag. A couple I loved and more than a couple that I didn't.

1. Everless by Sara Holland

This is the first book in a new Young Adult Fantasy trilogy, which is not a genre I have read a lot of, but let me start by saying I cannot wait to read the rest of it! It is set in a land called Sempara, where they have discovered that time can be extracted from the blood, turning it into the most valuable resource. Naturally, this means that the rich live for centuries and the poor have to sell off their time to feed their families. It tells the story of a young woman, Jules, who puts herself in a dangerous position in an attempt to save her father.

I don't want to give much away, but I found it to be an engaging read with some fantastic twists. I had half ideas of how the story would unfold, but Holland exceeded my expectations and did the unexpected at every turn. My second favourite read of the month. Even my boyfriend, who has been reading the same book for the past three years, devoured it in less than a week.

2. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

It may not come as a surprise that I chose this book because of the cover. I mean look at it, it's beautiful! I am not sure why but it took me a long time to get into this book. I actually started it in 2016 and have sporadically picked it up and read a few pages before putting down again. I thought now was good time to actually get it read.

It follows the eponymous Inspector Chopra, who is freshly retired from the Mumbai police service, who has inherited an Elephant from his Uncle. However, he just cannot let go of a promise he made on his last day to a mother whose son's murder was officially ruled a suicide. He takes it upon himself to investigate and bring the murderer to justice.

There were flaws in this book, not just an unbelievable Deus ex Machina moment involving the elephant, I don't care how 'special' he is!! However, I would definitely pick up the second book in the series, now that we have been introduced to the main characters.

3. The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

I am a huge Agatha Christie fan. I remember the excitement as a child, when the Miss Marple theme music started at a beginning of an episode (it still gives me the chills 30 years later), which started my love of all things Christie. A couple of years ago I rekindled my love for the Queen of crime, and have been steadily working my way through her works.

This is not only the first Poirot novel, but it was also Christie's first published work. It is where, thanks to feedback from the first readers that she changed a courtroom denouement into the everyone-gathered-in-the-parlour whodunit reveal we have come to expect. It is a traditional locked room mystery, with a good amount of red herrings. A fantastic debut of a genius of the genre, though slightly lacking when compared to her really great works.

4. Little Deaths by Emma Flint

I was really excited about this book, which was longlisted for last year's Women's Prize for Fiction. It is based on the true story of a woman in 1960s New York, who wakes one morning to discover her children are missing. The detectives decide immediately to focus their investigations solely on the mother. She is ultimately arrested for their murder.

It is undoubtedly a bleak subject, made all the more harrowing for the fact that a real woman was subjected to the same treatment, highlighting the double standards at work when analysing the same behaviour in men and women. As far as the book goes, I thought it was okay. I found it overwritten, in the sense that had Flint told me every time one of the characters inhaled and exhaled I would not have been surprised. She is obviously a talented writer, but I just found the narrative focus a little too much. I would, however, certainly be interested in whatever she writes in the future.

5. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

This is the book credited with being the first English Gothic novel. It was originally published in 1764, but as the editor says in the introduction to the book, 'many modern readers find it by turns ludicrous and unreadable'. Perfect.

It opens with the Prince of Otranto's son being squashed by a giant helmet, which came from nowhere, and is never really explained. So there begins the ludicrousness. I wouldn't necessarily recommend reading it if you have no interest in literary history and intertextuality, but if you do then you will like what you find here. The introduction is especially informative, and it has made me keen to visit Strawberry Hill House next time I am in London.

6. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

I had such high hopes for this book, the synopsis was everything I want from a thriller:

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.
Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.
Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.
You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.
It could have been great!!! The idea was excellent, some of the twists were brilliantly plotted, but  unfortunately, these lacked the best execution. Lapena also did one of the things I absolutely hate, which is to let the narrator inside a character's head, but lie to us about what the character was feeling/their involvement in the happenings until halfway through to make it a twist. Add to that, I hated the ending.

You can safely bet that this will not end up on my Best of 2018 list. However, the synopsis for her next book looks just as fantastic as this one, so I see myself giving her a second chance, so hopefully she won't disappoint me next time.

7. Tithe by Holly Black

Another foray into the world of YA Fantasy, and another enjoyable experience. It follows Kaye, whose has so far been living an unconventional life, moving around a lot every time her mother joins a new rock band. When her mother's boyfriend gets violent, they have no choice but to move back in with Kaye's Grandmother. Kaye spent her early years here playing at the bottom of the garden with some fairies who only she can see. When she returns she discovers the fairies were not simply imaginary friends and she gets caught up in a fued between two fairy courts.

I really like it, not as much as Everless, but I have added The Cruel Prince to my February TBR, and cannot wait to read it.

8. The Very Pointless Quiz Book

I am addicted to Pointless, and the book kept me and my boyfriend very entertained. I was happy to find quite a few pointless answers along the way. I was especially excited when it was for a literature category.

9. The Collector by John Fowles

Have I mentioned how much I love this book already...?

It is the story of Frederick, a young man who doesn't fit in, the only thing that gives him joy is collecting butterflies, that is until he becomes obsessed with the beautiful Miranda, a talented art student. His obsession is so intense that when he wins £70,000 (according to an online calculator it would be the equivalent of £1.1 million today) he decides to kidnap her, believing that this is what everyone would do if only they had the money.

The first part of the book is told from Frederick's point of view, and it is very easy to find yourself sympathising with him. He quickly realises that the reality is far removed from his fantasies, in which Miranda falls in love with him, and he understands that there is no way out of it. The second part of the book takes the form of diary entries written by Miranda whilst in captivity. Miranda is obnoxious, snobbish, selfish and not a particularly nice person. This is where it, for me at least, became morally confusing. Although what Frederick has done is inexcusably awful, I found him a lot more sympathetic, and after all he shows no interest in abusing her, besides the fact he is withholding her freedom, he actually goes out of his way to make things exactly as he thinks she'd want them to be. Frederick is unaware that his actions will cause her to be frightened of him. He reminded me of the chap a few years ago who wrote a blog post about benevolent stalking - both men driven by deeply intense feelings, and an impulse that most normal people would be able to control.  There is, of course, nothing benevolent about this, unrequited love sucks, but you cannot force someone to love you. No one deserves to be kept in captivity, but if it has to happen to someone, does it makes it a bit less terrible if the person it happens to is a person like Miranda? Thought provoking and beautifully written. I cannot wait to read more Fowles.

10. The Tempest by William Shakespeare

One of the things I loved about The Collector was it's intertextuality. One of the works referenced very directly was The Tempest, obviously Miranda being a character in The Tempest, but when Frederick introduces himself to her he tells her his name is Ferdinand, Miranda's love interest in The Tempest, and she in turn calls him Caliban, after the savage slave who loses favour with Prospero before the play opens by trying to rape Miranda.

I have read a lot of Shakespeare over the years but never The Tempest, so I decided to read it for no other reason than to perhaps enhance my understanding of The Collector. It is a problematic play, filled with contradictions, which make it hard to reconcile Prospero as being either essentially good, or evil. Little is really known about this play, there are few references to it before its appearance in the First Folio. A lot of Jacobean (and Elizabethan) plays can only really be understood, when transposing them to the politics of the day, with what happening on the stage being a disguised reflection of what is happening in England. I generally find my enjoyment of any of Shakespeare's plays increases with the more reading I do around the subject, so I keen to read some more critical interpretations of the play.

11. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

I thought I would start my exploration of The Tempest by reading Margaret Atwood's modern retelling. I think I was expecting too much. I understand why she made the choices she did. She saw the meta-theatrical elements of The Tempest, and decided to make her 'Prospero' a literal director who stages a production of The Tempest. I liked the Chapter's dedicated to the actual performance, where he takes his revenge, but the rest of it contained far to much discussion of The Tempest as a play. I was expecting a re-imagining rather than a literal retelling of the plot. Atwood is so good at creating dystopian worlds, that she could have taken this in that direction and that was the book I wanted to read, so some of my disappointment comes from my own anticipation.

12. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This is another book I chose that was inspired by The Tempest, the title being a quote from the play, and it was also a book that inspired Margaret Atwood's work, in fact this edition includes an introduction by Atwood.

I read 1984 last year and it is easy to see how Orwell had been inspired by certain aspects of Brave New World. They are on the surface very different visions of the future, 1984 is driven by fear and is a world continuously at war with Eurasia, until they were never at ware with Eurasia and always Eastasia. The future of Brave New World has eliminated war. In fact, it could be seen to be a Utopia in many ways, just like Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a Utopia from the point of view of those above ground. For all the pleasure and chemically induced happiness, it is much like an ant colony, where everyone has their own place, and free thinking (and poetry) are dangerous.

I enjoyed it. Although, towards the end of chapter three when I was reminded that 1931 was still part of the modernist movement, I swore at Huxley and re-prepared myself to read something modernist, when it returned to being a more straightforward read. It was certainly a reflection of the 1930s, a period that is a lot more liberal in their thinking than we often think. If the second world war was removed from history, then I could certainly imagine that the first summer of love could have occurred in the 1940s. This is a book I will be thinking of for a long time.

13. Misery by Stephen King

I really got into a theme this month. I knew the story before I read it, and watched the film in my teens, so at least 20 years ago. A writer has an accident and is kidnapped by one of his fans, an ex-nurse, who happens to be crazy. Unlike Frederick in The Collector (which is both referenced and quoted from in this book) Anne Wilkes is more than willing to use violence and torture to get what she wants.

I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. This was partly because I wanted it as a bit of light relief after a few very literary reads, but I didn't fully gel with King's writing. There were bits that were fantastic and made me want to turn read the page through osmosis because I wanted to know everything that happens at once. Unfortunately, there were larger stretches where it became a chore to read. For me, if it was half the length it would have been a much less miserable experience! I thought it was clever, and perhaps with a second reading, when I know what to expect, I would rate it a little higher.

14. Possession by A. S. Byatt

I just about remembered in time that I needed to read a Booker winner a month to meet one of my 2018 Goals. I picked Possession as I have been saying 'this is the year I read Possession' for at least the last three years, so this really is the year! I am really pleased I waited, because if I had read it before I finished my English Lit degree, I wouldn't have appreciated as much.

It is the story of  Roland, a PhD student, who discovers a link between the poet he has been researching and the poet that Maud Bailey, a literature professor, has dedicated her life's work to. If they can establish the link, it will have a huge impact on how the two poets are studied in the future. At the same time as the present timeline, actually 1986, there is a second timeline concerning the relationship between the two poets, Randolph Henry Ash and Christabel LaMotte - coincidentally named after one of my favourite poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, on which I wrote one of my final essays.

The first quarter of the book, I absolutely loved, I was totally drawn into Roland and Maud's search for secrets, and had the whole book been written in the same style I could easily see it jostling with The Collector for my affections. Unfortunately, and necessarily, the correspondence between Ash and Christabel needed to be written in a more formal epistolary fashion, which sucked some of the life out of the prose. I still rate this very highly and understand completely why it won the Booker.

Monday, 22 January 2018

2018 Reading Goals

While we are still in January, I thought I would make a post about my reading goals for the year.

1. Read 100 books
This is a pretty straightforward goal. I read 50 books in 2017, so 100 books may sound like a big leap, but I was a bit slack on the old reading front and spent more time than I would have liked procrastinating on the internet/playing Gardenscapes, so I would rather spend that time reading.

2. Read before bed
On a related note, I tend to faff about on my phone before I go to sleep, and that is not a healthy habit: apparently the blue light is very disruptive to falling asleep, and if I am honest, I can attest to that. I would like to leave the phone out of the bedroom and wind down by reading.

3. Read a lot more books than I buy
I, like many readers, end up buying many more books than I read. I have spent the last week logging all the unread books I own and there is more than 450, which I know is fewer than a lot of people, but when I moved to Germany, I only brought about 30 books in total, most of which I had already read.

4. Read at least 1 Booker Prize winner per month
This year is the 50th anniversary of the Booker Prize. I thought I had read a lot more than I actually have, so this year I want to tick some more off the list.

5. Engage with the afterlife of the book
Last year, I graduated with a degree in English Literature, and I have missed reading around the book such as critical essays (yes I even miss the crazy critics), reinterpretations by other authors, discovering source materials, etc. So I when a book peaks my interest I would like to investigate it more thoroughly, with the added bonus that I don't have to write an essay on it later!

6. Read more from genres I usually overlook
I have mentioned that I am quite an eclectic reader, but there are some genres that I do enjoy when I read them, but for some reason I just don't pick them up. Fantasy is one of those genres, so I have subscribed to Fairyloot to inspire me. The first book I read this year was Everless and I thought it was fantastic. I would also like to read more non-fiction this year.

7. Finish reading Harry Potter
So, I know this is unusual to find a bookie person who hasn't read Harry Potter, but that's me. In fact, I read all of the Robert Galbraith books before I started reading Philosopher's Stone. Why? Well, to begin with, it was because of my attitude towards series, so I didn't want to wait a year or so before the next book was released, and by the time Deathly Hallows was released, I was in a major reading slump, so I never got around to it. I have read the first three so far, and I adored them all, so this year I want to get the last four ticked off too!

8. Read some books in German
I mentioned in my Hello post that I would like to start reading some books in German because I have been living here for a few years now and I still want to improve my vocabulary. Some books will be originally written in German and some will be books I have already read in English.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Getting to Know You Book Tag

So, I stole these questions from a Booktuber (original video here), but there is no reason why I can't answer them on a blog because I'm too scared to film myself. So let's get started:

1)What's your favourite book?
It is hard to choose just one book, but because I have just finished it, I shall say The Collector by John Fowles. I am planning on posting a review very soon, so when I do I shall post a link here.

2) What was your favourite book 5 years ago? 
 Ditto the choosing just one, but I think I would have to say either The Secret History by Donna Tartt, or The Poisonwood Diary by Barbara Kingsolver.

3) Favourite duology/trilogy/series? 
I usually don't read many series, possibly because I have been disappointed so often by follow up books, and because I am impatient and want to read the whole series in one go rather than wait for the next book in the series. However, I absolutely adored and devoured Death Note, and even though it has been at least 10 years since I read it, I still think about the morality of L's actions.

4) What was the last book you read? 
The Tempest by William Shakespeare. It is one of the books referenced frequently in The Collector, particularly in the character names so I wanted to read the play so I could better understand what Fowles wanted to indicate through their use.

5) What was the last book of poetry you read? 
On New Year's Day I started reading A Poem for Every Night of the Year, but as we are still only two thirds of the way through January, I am a long way towards finishing it. But the last poetry book I completed was Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong. It was incredibly moving.

6) What book most influenced your life? 
This is even harder than having to pick a favourite, but I am going to say that all of the Judy Blume books I read as a teenager influenced my life greatly at that time. Whatever was ailing me, I found answers or comfort or just confirmation that other people felt the way I did.

7) Book that made you ugly cry? 
There are loads of books that made me ugly cry, probably the most memorable was A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman because I read the ending just before meeting my boyfriend for coffee and I kept thinking about it as I sat in the coffee shop and I am sure that the people looking at us must have thought something terrible had happened.

8) Book that made you laugh? 
I got a copy of James Acaster's Classic Scrapes for Christmas. He is one of my favourite comedians and there was a lot in there to make me laugh. As far as novels go, Candide by Voltaire definitely tickled my funny bone.

9) Character you'd like to be for the day? 
If I could also choose the day, I would be Bridget Jones the day that Darcy tells her that he likes her just the way she is. If it is just a general day, then I would have to say Robyn from JK (Robert Galbraith) Rowling's Cormoran Strike series, she is living the dream I had as a child, because in book four she is training to be a private detective herself!!

10) A book that was so good you dreamt about it? 
It wasn't a particularly pleasant dream but I did have a dream about Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, without giving anything away, but if you have read the book, I was one of the islanders.

11) Book you DNF'd?
I hardly DNF anything, but I had to DNF Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, which was extra sad because I was so excited to read it and it has been on my TBR for as long as I can remember. Two of my best bookie mates told me how much I was going to enjoy it, when they found out I was reading it, but I just found his writing style hard to get on with. I cannot put my finger on exactly what it was, but I hated it. Maybe I will pick it up again at a later date, it could have just been I was not in the mood.

12) what book are you most excited to read?
I think, again, because I have just finished and enjoyed The Collector, I an really excited to read The Magus by John Fowles, but right now I want to explore more books that have been influenced by The Tempest, such as Brave New World, and also Margaret Atwood's retelling Hag-Seed.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Hello from me.


My name is Anna and I am a reader. Well, that is kind of obvious, the name of the blog gives away the fact that this is a blog about books rather than, say, knitting, which I also enjoy.

I am an eclectic reader and will read pretty much anything, from classics to new releases, poetry, plays or prose. If I had to choose only one type of book to read for the rest of my life, it would probably be crime thrillers, because they are the kind of stories that keep you up into the small hours, and I like to try and guess the twists or whodunit.

I decided to start a blog because I think my boyfriend is getting bored of me monologue-ing enthusiastically after I have read a good book. I moved to Germany a few years ago, because of him, which is wonderful, but it means that I don't have any English speaking reader friends close by to form a book club, like I did when I was back home in the UK. This year I am going to challenge myself to read some books in German, so that is something I may blog about here too.

That is a little about me. If you have a book blog too, I would love to hear about it, so leave a comment with a link down below.

Thanks for stopping by.