Only 3 books were finished in February, because I was caught up rewatching TOWIE, playing Pokemon Go and watching Netflix’s amazing original series A Series of Unfortunate Events all month. (I was so sad when I finished the final episode. I just want MOOOOOOORE.)
I’ve been pretty good lately about reading the books on my shelf rather than buying new books, so the first book I read this month was one that has been sitting looking at me for ages and ages: The Secrets We Keep by Jonathan Harvey. This was really good but I don’t think I’ll ever read it again: it’s not especially memorable; it feels like a one-time story; and the characters are kind of dicks. Actually that’s not true – some of the characters are dicks, particularly the guy who has disappeared at the beginning of the story. It’s basically about a man who has gone missing and the family he left behind, who discover that he may not have killed himself and try to unravel the mystery of what really happened to him.
I bought this because I’d read The Girl Who Just Appeared not long before, and wanted to read more from that author. I definitely still want to read more of Harvey’s work, but if you’re starting out I’d probably tell you not to start with this one, as I don’t think it showcases his best writing as well as The Girl Who Just Appeared did.
I then re-read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which I’ve been wanting to return to for a while. This was equally good on the re-read, and I think it’s one I’ll return to for years to come. It’s so different to anything else I’ve read and I’m hoping the movie stays true to the book when it eventually comes out.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates was an excellent book about the types of sexism most women experience on a daily basis. However, some of the sexist acts or comments that are seen as ‘everyday’ are appalling, except that ‘appalling’ doesn’t really cover it. It was often a difficult book to read that pricked my eyes with tears several times, but I thought it was brilliant and would highly recommend.
Bates is an entertaining writer who knows exactly when to be light-hearted – though never flippant – and when to be deadly serious. I’d also recommend her other book Girl Up, which is less of a feminist manifesto and more of a how-to guide for teens facing sexism for the first time (or at least, facing it knowingly for the first time). It is definitely worth a read for older generations too, though – I’m quickly moving farther and farther away from my teen years (sob) and thought it was excellent.
And of course, I had to read The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket after watching my new favourite Netflix series. Throughout my life, people have waxed lyrical about this book series, but I’ve never bothered to pick any of them up until now. However, I think I need to wait for a while to read the rest – the Netflix series was still too much in my head, so I think I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have if I’d read it first. (But then, if I’d read the books first, maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed the show as much, and it’s not often I find a TV show that I really love.)
Despite this, I could definitely appreciate how well-written and funny The Bad Beginning was. It’s an extremely unique series in that it keeps telling you not to read on because everything in it is horrible.
I believe it’s been commissioned for a second series, and the first series covered the first 4 books, ending with The Miserable Mill. I’m going to hold back on reading any more of them for a while anyway, but once I do start, I’m not sure whether to start reading The Austere Academy and onwards before the show starts again, or to wait and watch the show first… I suppose it depends how much I get into the books.
So I haven’t been reading as much as usual this month, but I’m glad that the books I read were enjoyable, even if I’ll probably never feel the need to re-read some of them.
Happy reading to all of you!