Books I Read in February

Note: This has been in my drafts since March 14th. I realise it’s now April.

This post is disastrously late. Enjoy it, because “Books I Read in March” is going to be really short at my current rate of book consumption so far this month. I’ve been trying to write/publish this post all week, but my computer went on the blink and I was too depressed (having just watched One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) to try particularly hard. I hate depressing films. Anyway, on with the proverbial show…

February Reading Pile

As you can see, I got through a fairly sizable pile of books last month. This pile is actually one short. My husband has stolen back the best of the lot, as he was reading it. Drats. Is it OCD to start all over? Yes. Yes it is. I will make an addendum. It was so good it deserves its own picture anyway. So the total count for February was in fact, 9 books. Back to the sizable pile (lol). The reason for this is comprised of numerable elements:

  1. We went to London: lots of underground travel = lots of reading
  2. I had a break from accountancy lectures, so despite the start of the month being manic for an exam, I saved 2 evenings a week of studying
  3. My house is both untidy and dusty
  4. My ironing pile is ginormous

This month, I anticipate a much lower reading output because:

  1. We have no planned time off
  2. My lectures have started back with a vengeance
  3. I have been making a concerted effort to keep better house
  4. I have also been trying to (for the first time since we got married) see the bottom of the ironing basket.
  5. I am ill. I was also ill in February but it’s the kind of ill that is a result of near-insomnia, and is therefore getting progressively worse.

As you can tell, my housekeeping skills pretty much fail. I have the most annoying “All or Nothing” personality, so I end up leaving stuff until the last possible minute and then opening a Major Can of Whoop Ass and biting off way more than I can chew, inevitably resulting in a 3am bed time. But hey, it keeps life interesting. So back to the point. Last month, I did individual pictures of each book, but I thought that would make the post pretty long, so I’ve just done this:

photo (5)

Maybe it’s just laziness, who knows. Also, please excuse the quality of the photo. This bad boy was taken with my iPhone, because my camera battery needs charging up and I’m too lazy to find the lead.

I just wanted to make a note about my book reviews. They are not particularly comprehensive, because I am really keen not to give too much of the plot away – I want you to be able to read and enjoy for yourself without too much knowledge of what happens under what premise. I’m just giving you my overall opinion, what I liked or disliked, if I think you should go out and grab a copy :)

I started February off by trying to get through the end of the Cecilia Ahern one that I started in January. So I’ll start from there and work through.

If You Could See Me Now by Cecilia Ahern, inflicted on the world by HarperCollins in 2006.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I basically hated this book. It was like swimming in cement trying to finish it. The writing is wooden and annoying at the best of times, the plot is thin, it’s just painful. The premise is a kid who has an “imaginary friend” and his guardian gets all worried before the imaginary friend becomes hers as well, and it’s fairly predictable from thereon out. She’s neurotic and only likes beige, and he injects colour and then they fall in love and everyone thinks she’s crazy blahblahblah. It was really awful. I won’t be reading any of Ahern’s other works any time soon, from what a few other people have said, her books being pretty hard to get through is a bit of a trend. Sorry love, your Irish charms are not for me.

Accidental Anglican by Todd Hunter, published by IVP in 2011.

This book was a freebie from work, and it piqued my interest mainly on the grounds that I wasn’t brought up in the Anglican church, but we now find ourselves members of one. This guy is part of the Episcopal church in America, so it’s slightly different. It was an interesting read, but it’s pretty niche and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are specifically interested in hearing how someone goes from the Vineyard movement to being an Anglican bishop in a few short years. It would probably be more interesting if I had started reading it with little or no knowledge of prominent evangelical figures of the 20th and 21st centuries, but he explained things like who John Stott and J. I. Packer are, and I already know all that stuff on the basic level he was writing at (a couple of pages per influential figure) so I just kinda skim read it. It was a mediocre read.

Super Powers by David J. Schwartz, published by Vintage Originals in 2008.

Totally LOVED this book. It definitely lived up to its publisher’s name – a vintage original! It’s quirky and compelling to read, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a dark take on superheroes. A group of college students have a party and then wake up unable to remember anything about the event but with an array of superpowers. The book follows them through the 6 months after it in a journalistic writing style that is immensely readable.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend, published by Penguin in 2002.

THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS. Laugh-out-loud-in-a-public-place funny. This was one of the books I read just before and whilst in London, and let me tell you I got some funny looks when using public transport. I adore Sue Townsend and have recently read The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year, which was also wonderful, and this certainly didn’t disappoint! It’s not a book I would necessarily recommend because the writing is particularly eloquent or the prose is particularly good, or the plot is original, but in the humour-only category, this is my recommendation of the month. It’s an easy read with lots of white space, and is literally the title – a diary of a 13 and 3/4 year old boy.

The Kaiser’s Last Kiss by Alan Judd, published by Harper Perennial in 2003.

This book is set during the Second World War, and I can’t really tell you very much about it without giving the plot away. The old Kaiser of Germany is in exile in the Netherlands and an SS unit is sent to guard him. What follows is an unusual love story between the SS guard and one of the household staff. I really enjoyed reading it once I got about a third of the way into it, but I did find the first third a bit tough to get into. It’s another fairly short book, but is quite dense in terms of the text so it’s not a quick read. I wouldn’t read it again, and I wouldn’t recommend you put it straight to the top of your to-read list, but if you have a couple of days and nothing else jucier looking to read, by all means dig into it and let me know what you think.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali, published by Black Swan in 2003.

This is another book in a long line of recent reads that has focused on the experiences of immigrants and refugees in England. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003. Personally, I didn’t find it particularly easy to immerse myself in the characters and story line which made it difficult for me to finish, although the book is excellently written and exceptionally insightful.

The Firm by John Grisham, published by Arrow Books in 1991.

Officially a John Grisham fan after reading this book. I like a good old crime/mystery novel, Agatha Christie being one of my favourite childhood authors (yes, I was an odd child). My grandma actually recommended John Grisham to me, and when we saw The Firm in a charity shop for 95p, how could we resist? I consumed this book in under 24 hours, I couldn’t put it down. Granted, I hardly slept – it’s a fairly long book to read in 24 hours – but it was totally worth it. With lots of plot twists, it’s a major page-turner, which makes up for slightly wooden writing at points. Although Mr. Grisham is streaks ahead of Dan Brown in terms of writing ability – which got me thinking about how poor a writer you can actually be yet still be hugely successful. It just goes to show that the majority prefer a “good plot” to a “good writer” any day of the week.

The Devil in Amber by Mark Gatiss, published by Pocket Books in 2007.

This book was pretty disturbing. Mark Gatiss is one of the League of Gentlemen, and his writings are very dark. This book is the second in the Lucifer Box series, which I didn’t realise until I was about a quarter of the way through it (too late to put it down). It gave me the creeps. I bought it because it has a recommendation from Jasper Fforde on the front of it, and Jasper Fforde is currently my new favourite author ever. However, having read this book, he is not my favourite recommender ever. Not even on the shortlist. Lucifer Box is basically an artist/secret agent who has some fairly questionable, not-at-all-wholesome hobbies (aside from shooting people). Please, don’t read this book. Or its prequel (see Books I Read in March).

So that’s it. Finally. Some thoughts I am toying with for future reviews:

  1. Read fewer books, write better reviews.
  2. Read more useful books, i.e. read more non-fiction.
  3. That’s pretty much all my thoughts. Feel free to share yours please, I’m not so happy with this post. It’s too shallow. Who cares about a read/don’t read post?!

I’M BACK. And I’m rethinking the direction of the blog, mainly because I started it with little or no direction, so I may write a little ramble about it sometime this week.

I will not abandon you for 6 weeks again. Soz.

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