I read five books in January which is pretty good for a busy month! Four of the five were audiobooks which I think is going to be the trend for this year unless I find a treatment that works for my chronic migraines. But for now, audiobooks are amazing it’s great to have an option to read that doesn’t include me opening my eyes!
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I’ve had a long relationship with this book; I started reading it in January 2016, then again in May 2017, and now finished it in January 2018 via the wonderful Stephen Fry Audible audiobook! I read two Sherlock Holmes novels between starting these stories and ending them.
I find the Sherlock Holmes short stories a mixed bag in general. On individual ratings, they literally ranged from one to five stars. But I like the various television adaptations of the stories and it’s always interesting to read the source material. Some of them really show how impressive the retellings are because while the story is familiar, the modernisation is masterful to keep the same ‘vibe’ in a current-day setting.
“Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than the crime that you should dwell.”
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Another collection of short stories and the same experience. I liked some, I didn’t like others.
I did find the death of Sherlock quite moving, especially when it sounded like Stephen Fry was getting a little teary at the end! Moriarty is one of the better villains I think, and I really can’t wait to listen to the next book.
“I am afraid that I rather give myself away when I explain,” said he. “Results without causes are much more impressive-“
Women and Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard
This is the second year that the first book I’ve read has been a Feminist non-fiction. Last year is was We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and this year the historian Mary Beards manifesto. She is a wonder. Again, I got this for Christmas and again I loved it! By looking at the classical world, which is her speciality, she brings something fresh to the movement. It was empowering, and the perfect way to start the year that is the anniversary of some women getting the vote for the first time. It was such a unique way of looking at the subject and I really recommend it as a short burst of energy if, like me, the world weighs on you at times.
I’ll definitely be continuing this little fledgeling tradition of starting the year with a Feminist book. Now what to read next January…
When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice.
Something Fresh by P.G. Wodehouse
I originally bought a collection of P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle series back in March 2014. And I just read the first one, which is pretty ridiculous. But, I really enjoyed it so maybe the wait wasn’t all bad!
It was completely charming, and I really loved all the characters introduced. I didn’t immediately understand the way the cast all fit together but once it clicked, I was surprised at how brilliantly everything weaved together. It might’ve been easier if I have been reading the physical book, but the audiobook was narrated by Jonathan Cecil who has the most perfect posh British accent that made the characters really come to life and the sharp wit of Wodehouse really sparkle.
Plus, originally written in 1915, there is a wonderful commentary on the idea of women getting the vote that ends up being in favour. Even if the male character does struggle with it a little, the female character refuses his unwanted chivalry and is determined to be treated equally.
It was with the sullen repulsion of a vegetarian who finds a caterpillar in his salad that he now sat glaring at them.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Continuing my journey through the Harry Potter books as an adult has been eye-opening. But I’m glad that book six brought me back to solid ground. After a terrible read of book five, I was actually dreading this book. But hey, that page count got lower and I got happier.
There’s still ableism, the common-of-the-time use of mental illness as an insult but there’s only one occurrence. And for the first time, I had no quotes to write out. Don’t get me wrong, I love sassy Harry as much as the next person, but he has the only memorable lines in the whole book.
Although I initially gave it 4 stars, I’ve now knocked it down to three because writing is one of the main factors in a book for me, and if I haven’t got any examples of thinking- wow, what a good sentence/ paragraph/ expression, then that lets down the whole book for me.