I’d like to say I didn’t read any new books or write any new blog posts in November because I was busy with NaNoWriMo, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I got a puppy whom I wanted to cuddle all the time, and I was just feeling a bit lazy.
Click here to follow Pepper the sausage dog puppy on Instagram!
I re-read lots of books in November, though!
Girl Up by Laura Bates – This is a great introduction to feminism for teenagers and adults alike. It is primarily aimed at girls navigating puberty but anyone can read it; it’s highly accessible and very funny (though rage-inducing at times).
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This is a story about a woman named Alice who has a fall and loses her memory of the last 10 years, believing she is still pregnant with her first child only to discover she and her beloved husband are divorcing. I used to re-read this regularly but it’s been a while since the last re-read so this was quite fun. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I usually do, though. I think my taste has changed quite a lot in the last couple of years – I wonder how much blogging has had to do with that?
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – When I was a child, I absolutely loved the Alice books. I actually didn’t love this as much after quite a long break between re-reads. However I would recommend it to anyone who wants to buy a present for an older child who loves reading. It’s so fantastical and accessible.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – This is another one that I didn’t like as much on the re-read, despite loving it the first time around. However I got about two-thirds of the way through the book and I did start to enjoy it a lot more. It’s about a man whose job it is to read the flagged emails at his company, and he enjoys reading the funny exchanges between two female friends. You guessed it – he quickly falls for one of them.
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer – I loved this the first time I read it but it’s taken me quite a long time to go back to it. This is good because I’d forgotten a lot of the story! It’s about mental health and trauma and is written diary-style so you really get into the head of the main character.
I read a few new books in December and re-read some as well. I re-read:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – I loved re-reading this. It’s one of my favourites and I hadn’t read it for a while so, although it was familiar, it still had some surprises. I think this is one of the most sophisticated YA books out there, and the film is good too – definitely time for a rewatch I think.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – My all-time favourite book. Along with David Nichols’ One Day, I re-read this at least once a year and it’s wonderful every time. To this day, it still makes me teary-eyed. (I first read it for my GCSEs, which, frighteningly, was a decade ago now.)
The new books I read in December were:
The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett – I enjoyed this book and it felt like a proper children’s story, very charming and beautiful. However there is some pretty overt racism and sexism. I understand that ‘that was the time’ but I just felt quite uncomfortable with it, and because of those moments I was put off the book, even though I enjoyed the writing and the story. Here’s one particular corker:
Colin drew his brows together and thought a few minutes. Then he cheered up. “Well,” he said, “you see something did come of it. She used the wrong Magic until she made him beat her. If she’d used the right Magic and had said something nice perhaps he wouldn’t have got as drunk as a lord and perhaps—perhaps he might have bought her a new bonnet.”
(When I googled the quote, I found an interpretation of this saying that the author included this passage to show that Colin is naive. Very optimistic and forgiving of that person, and maybe they’re right, but as this scene passes by uncommented my interpretation is that it’s the author’s opinion as well as the character’s.)
Origin by Dan Brown – It was such a great feeling returning to the world of Robert Langdon. This is the 5th book in the series and is the one that reminds me the most of The Da Vinci Code (the 2nd book in the series but the 1st that I read). It was full to the brim of secret codes and puzzles, and although I know these books are formulaic, there’s always surprises around the corner and I for one can never predict the endings.
My friend at work made me laugh. I read out the blurb to her: “Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal” and Laura said, ‘Well, she sounds like a beautiful, intelligent woman who’ll be a good mental match for Langdon.’ She hit the nail on the head – it’s a predictable formula but it’s never a predictable story. Brown gets a lot of flack but I love these books and Origin didn’t disappoint at all.
The Radleys by Matt Haig – This was an unusual one. I’ve been meaning to pick up one of Haig’s books for a while, but from the book covers, I thought he wrote about ‘ordinary’ things and never realised his genre is supernatural. The Radleys is about a family of vampires who have been trying to live like normal humans (the parents know they’re vampires and the kids don’t) until the daughter attacks someone in self-defence and quickly realises she quite likes the blood.
There’s a great idea behind it and it certainly felt different to the other vampire books I’ve read. However I would have enjoyed a more ‘factual’ book about how the vampires live as humans, rather than one that focused on romance like this does. (We have enough vampire books that are all about the love story.) I did enjoy it but I don’t think I’d ever pick it up again.
I hope everyone’s 2018 has gotten off to a good start. I don’t tend to make new year’s resolutions, but this year I have a few in my mind and one of them is to make more of an effort with my blog. I don’t want to put any posts out there which I haven’t put much thought into, and for that reason I may not be doing a wrap-up every month. Not because I don’t put any thought into my wrap-ups, but because sometimes I don’t have a lot to say about the books I’ve read that month and I don’t want to post content for the sake of it. Happy New Year!