Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Books I Read in July

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (Claire North)
Thief's Magic

Two books for July:

Continuing with my temporary library addiction, I borrowed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August following a recommendation. I had a vague recollection of skimming the back of the cover in a bookshop once but for whatever reason had passed over it. After a recent mention from a friend that they had read (and enjoyed) the book I figured I'd go and find a copy to read myself. I'm not too sure what to write about how I actually found it though... The concept behind the book is intriguing but it did take me some time to get into -- perhaps partly due to the way things bounce around a little in time (but that is a great thing about the way the story is told I think). The primary relationship in this book builds really nicely over time and is conveyed beautifully, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'd gain a lot more from the novel with a second reading -- in fact, I'm really tempted to give this another go again very soon!

My second book for the month was another read that stemmed from a recommendation (albeit rather further removed this time). As a student I was prompted to give fantasy a try and read a number of Trudi Canavan novels, starting first with The Black Magician trilogy and then later The Age of the Five trilogy (the final of which I mentioned reading back in 2007). Since then I've read little fantasy (bar the occasional Discworld) and so when I started exploring the library again I figured it was time to have another go. Thief's Magic is the first in The Millennium's Rule trilogy (and the library didn't seem to have the others...), and was a straightforward light read. I'm not sure if its my appreciation or her writing that has changed, but I didn't find this as engaging as I recalled her previous books being. I won't chase down the rest of the series, but if it turns up in the library next time I look I'll definitely see it through to the end.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Books I Read in June

Was it really just one??

Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds)

I've been 'reading' this for a while but finally made it to the end. Where reading is in quotes only because it's not really a text-heavy book. Interesting though, and potentially useful.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Books I Read in May

The Formula (Luke Dormehl)
Knitting for Peace (Betty Christiansen)
Confessions of a GP (Dr. Benjamin Daniels)
Further Confessions of a GP (Dr. Benjamin Daniels)

Not much to report in terms of exciting reading (completed) this month...

The Formula was the second of the two books bought at the airport last month. Although the lesser of those two books, this was probably the most interesting read this month, but was just a bit shallow for my liking,

Knitting for Peace has been an under-the-bed book that gets pulled out when I'm looking for something that requires zero brain -- this month I made it to the end :)

Confessions of a GP and Further Confessions of a GP were more mindless reading for a weekend when my brain was utterly fried. Picked them up from the library and I was done with both within 24 hours. The speed of reading, however, says far more about how little I could bring myself to do that weekend than it does about how immersive the books were.

I really need to finish a good book.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Books I Read in April

Divergent (Veronica Roth)
Insurgent (Veronica Roth)
Allegiant (Veronica Roth)
How to Build a Girl (Caitlin Moran)
The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories (Marina Keegan)

My adventures with the Divergent series began with a cheap DVD. I have a habit of buying DVDs in the supermarket when I'm supposed to be food shopping... this was probably one of those.

The problem with book/movie combos is that I always feel the need to tick off the other half of the pair once I've got the first half. Read the book, watch the movie. Seen the film, read the book. For some reason this even applies if I didn't really think much of the book/film I saw first. However... pleasingly I did enjoy the DVD (and the soundtrack) and so when the second movie came out at the cinema and I spotted a box set of books in town I picked these up: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant. Young adult books are usually quite light reading, and so I sped through these three. Nice easy books that were obvious film fodder (even if I didn't already know the films existed).


I once read Caitlin Moran's How To Be a Womanon a plane back from the US -- a last minute airport purchase before a long flight -- I don't remember disliking it, nor to I remember thinking it marvellous. And so I set about to read How to Build a Girl on a train journey that started a weekend of travel -- a last minute bookshop-round-the-corner-from-rail-station purchase. Perhaps my tolerance for books has lowered, but I'm going to add this one to my tedious list. Maybe it's the everydayness of the setting (although I somewhat doubt this) but I couldn't find my way into this. If I hadn't read to the end it wouldn't be listed here, but I am starting to wonder why I've bother pursuing with some of my recent reads. There's nothing notably bad about this book at all, but I just didn't care.


As a pleasant contrast, my final book of the month was also a last minute buy before a flight to the UK from Germany. I'd browsed a bookshop earlier that day and come away empty handed, but when I spotted the same two books I'd shortlisted in the English language section of a second bookshop, I caved :)

The Opposite of Loneliness is a lovely little collection of short stories and essays. Perhaps Marina's writing would have gone unnoticed if she hadn't died so suddenly after graduation, and perhaps it would not have done. Either way, her writing is skilful and I very much enjoyed meandering through the range of pieces in this volume.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Books I Read in March

The Hourglass Factory (Lucy Ribchester)
Still Alice (Lisa Genova)
Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel)

Proof that you shouldn't choose a book based on its cover, I wanted to like The Hourglass Factory but when it came down to it I was bored throughout. Yes, I read to the end, but I did keep asking myself why I was bothering. Disappointing.

I read Still Alice in what was essentially one sitting, interrupted by sleep only because I knew that not sleeping would trash the weekend. Picking it up on Friday night I read enough to get me sucked into the story and first thing in the morning I grabbed it to finish off before starting my day. As someone who hugely values my own thoughts and cognitive abilities, I found the story troubling and thought-provoking. Unusually for me these days, I couldn't quite bear to part with it and so this book has been placed back on the shelves for another occasion. Since I can rarely resist the film of a book that I've read, a night with Julianne Moore might not be too far away...

Station Eleven is a real slow burner. It took some time and well over a third of the book for me to get into this, but over time it grew on me and I did make it to the end. Yet another post-apocalyptic novel, but different to the last. An interesting set of interwoven characters. If you have a bit of time, perhaps consider this one, but I wasn't too disappointed to reach the end.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Books I Read in December, January and February

The Girl with All the Gifts (Mike Carey)
The Minds Eye (Oliver Sacks)
Nothing Left to Lose (Kirsty Mossley)

I have read (start to end) just three books in three months. The most recent, The Girl with All the Gifts, barely squeezed into the end February (and only because I was too ill to do anything else). The Minds Eye was started sometime over the Christmas break and finished mid January. The third, Nothing Left to Lose, could have been anytime -- it was a free Kindle book and I used it as an experiment with the Kindle iOS app.

Two of the books I'd vaguely recommend if you're into that kind of thing. The Girl with All the Gifts joins an ever growing trend for post-apocalyptic novels but is fairly easy reading. The Minds Eye is by no means my favourite Sacks book, but it was interesting in parts for sure.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Books I read in September

Before We Met (Lucie Whitehouse)
Beautiful Oblivion (Jamie McGuire)
Beautiful Wedding (Jamie McGuire)


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