2017 is going by pretty fast, huh? I’m genuinely surprised we’ve managed to make it this far without any major international incidents! I’ve been pretty quiet over here on the blog, my personal life has been kind of a bummer and my university life has been keeping me busy- but I’m on Summer holiday now and just found out I passed first year! So why not start hopefully posting regularly again with a catch-up on my reading goals?
1. Stop delaying.
This was all about reading what I want to read, when I want to read it. I think I’m actually doing pretty well with this one. I’ve read some amazing books this year that I’ve wanted to read for years and years; like Catch-22 and Lolita, and I’m currently reading my first Jane Austen! On the other hand, I’ve also found myself looking at the books I own and not wanting to read them. My tastes are changing and I can’t pin-point where they’re going to land yet.
2. Goodbye comfort zone.
I wanted to say hello to classics, non-fiction and longer books and welcome them into my life. Well- I’m doing okay on this one but I feel like I could definitely push the boat out further. My English Literature module starting in October is definitely going to bring more classics and books I wouldn’t necessarily have picked up into my reading though. Othello, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein; it’s going to be fun!
3. Read a book in German.
I’ve finished my German module but I still don’t think I could read and understand a whole book in German yet… Maybe I should just try and see how I go but I’m feeling really German-ed out at the moment. Hopefully the motivation to actually do this comes back once the stress of essays wears off.
This was also part of my 2017 goals, with the hope of ‘curating’ my bookshelves a little. I’ve been following a bring in one book, for every ten that go out– rule and it’s been working pretty well. By which I mean, I’ve unhauled ten books and bought one that I really wanted, so far. And I have about four drafted unhaul posts waiting in the wings for me to be organised enough to photograph them and ship them off to Oxfam.
5. Read 80 books.
Oh boy. I really jinxed myself with this one! I had this idea that since I read 80 books in 2015, but only 62 in 2016, that I should push myself back up to 2015s amount of reading. Makes sense, until I go back and realise that I was reading vastly different kinds of books that year- easier books! And that I was healthier, less stressed, less busy, etc. But hey! I’m only 13 books behind schedule, I could still bring it back around.
Did you have any reading goals for 2017? How are you doing with them?
On the 19th of February 2016, I wrote; “Fiona Barton has grabbed my attention with her first novel and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future books.” So when I got an email about her new book, you can bet I jumped at a chance to read it! I’m not sure about it though…
As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss. But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn house by house into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women and torn between what she can and cannot tell.
I wasn’t as immediately drawn to The Child the way that I was drawn to The Widow. How a woman stays with her husband when he’s accused of being a child murderer is a question I’m much more interested in the answer, than whose bones are these. After all, I’ve watched a good eight seasons of Bones. But I also think Fiona Barton is aware of this. Her journalist character, Kate, is constantly fighting to keep working the story throughout the book and it’s an interesting writing choice to actually let the story lag at times with this one determined character trying to keep it going.
The story itself was interesting, and when I finished it I could see how intricately wound together it was. This is no A-to-B mystery. This was a tangle like headphones that are left at the bottom of your bag for a week!
My main issue when I was reading The Child was that all the characters kind of blended in with each other. There was no explicit POC or LGBT+ representation, but even beyond that I had no idea that two of the characters had about 30 years difference between them until the very end of the book. The characters read like cutout paper dolls with a few words added; anxiety, journalist, writer, wants marriage, lost baby. This is so strange to me because when I went back to my review of The Widow, I had made a point to mention how each character had a voice in that book!
I also could’ve done without the line “Kate preferred virgin territory to sloppy seconds.” Even when talking about interview subjects, that phrase is just so gross and slut-shaming.
This one just didn’t work for me in the end. The problems I had with The Widow: the lack of ending, the switches between first and third person and jumping all over weren’t there. But neither were the parts I fell for in the first place.
If you want to try The Child for yourself, you can get it here!
Did you read The Widow? Will you be reading The Child?
I went to Corfu for a week and only took nine books! Yeah, that probably only sounds like an achievement for people who have read my past blog posts about books I’ve taken on holidays… I have a tendency to overpack. I didn’t end up reading a lot because, without going into it, my cat passed away a few days before we left. But I thought I’d still do a post showing the books that made the cut of airline baggage restrictions.
The Midnight Trilogy by Charlaine Harris
I’ve been saving this trilogy up and after finally buying myself the final book (after unhauling these ten), I thought they’d be the perfect holiday read. And I wouldn’t have to worry about running out mid-series because it’s only a three book series; Charlaine Harris’ shortest! These were the books I ended up reading while I was away, I needed comfort and she’s the author that gives me that.
Poison City by Paul Crilley
This arrived in the post the day of my flight after I won it on Goodreads, so I took that as a sign. Into my hand luggage it went and I did start it on the flight out but it didn’t grab me and I knew I wanted to read the Midnight books first. I’ll come back to it because it was a really fun beginning.
My Mother’s Shadow by Nikola Scott*
This was on my Spring TBR and has been sat on my bedside table for months. Being a mood reader sucks sometimes! Strangely, although the paperback isn’t being published until September, I saw copies in the airport. Weird. I have since started reading this since I came home though.
Empire and Dominion by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
I keep saying I’m going to finish this series and then not finishing it! I’ve never had this problem before and I think it’s because I genuinely love the story and the world so much that I don’t want it to be over. Maybe I should try the audiobooks…
Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop*
I’m every tourist cliché that reads a book based in the country they’re visiting while they’re there. Or would’ve if the mood struck them. I didn’t get around to this, but I did flick through it and think I’ll be picking it up soon. I liked Corfu, and Greece, and I’d like to read more about it.
Yesterday by Felicia Yap*
I met Felicia Yap in February and heard about Yesterday so I’ve had a lot of pent-up excitement about this book. But I wasn’t planning on taking it on this trip until I passed it on my shelf and grabbed it at the eleventh hour. Even though I didn’t end up reading it, that told me a lot about my TBR priorities and this has been bumped up the list.
What do you think of the books I packed? What are your favourite holiday reads?