52 Weeks: 52 Books – January

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So it’s the end of month one in the great year of reading many books. Here’s how it’s going so far. I  steamed through Book 1: Mhairi McFarlane’s It’s Not You, It’s Me in the first couple of days of the year, and I’ve followed that up with:

Book 2: Terry Pratchett – Raising Steam

Book 3: Veronica Henry –  A Night on the Orient Express

Book 4: Adele Parks – Larger than Life

I’m not going to do reviews on all 52 of the year’s books because a) life is short, and b) the whole idea of 52 weeks: 52 books is to rediscover a love of reading, not to add a whole new level of it feeling like a chore, but I do totally reserve the right to review the ones I feel like reviewing and offer general musings on the whole reading endeavour.

So, my favourite book from this crop was  A Night on the Orient Express which I devoured in less than 24 hours. It was all the things I like best in a book – uplifting but with depth and interest. The novel follows five distinct storylines, linked by the setting of the Orient Express. I love a good multiple protagonist story but, even in the best, you often find that there are some storylines you could happily skip over to get to the better bits. That wasn’t the case this time, and, even better, Veronica Henry has written loads of books, so I get the additional joy of discovering an author I’ve never read before who has a back catalogue I can now start working my way through. Yippee!

It hasn’t been entirely reading plain sailing this month though. I started, but abandoned JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, for reasons that I think are only about 15% the fault of the book. The Casual Vacancy is another multiple narrator story, which introduces lots of characters very quickly. I think that would have been fine if I’d had a free hour for my first reading session on the book, but I ended up reading ten minutes here and there and forgetting who everyone was, a problem that was made worse by the fact that I was reading on my kindle. I love my kindle, but it is much harder to flick back and remind yourself who’s who on an ereader than in a paper book. Then I got sick with Weird Hacking Cough Disease* which was primarily eased by sitting in the bath, and used the ‘I don’t want to take my kindle in the bath’ excuse to abandon The Casual Vacancy, in favour of Adele Parks, who better satisfied the ‘I’m poorly – I need something fun to read’ impulse anyway. I suspect that over the year we may discover that I am generally more likely to abandon a book on kindle than on paper, which will be a mildly interesting thing to learn. This has also left me with a quandary about whether to go back to The Casual Vacancy. As I say I suspect the abandonment was more about my fuzzy poorly-girl brain than the book itself, but I’ve just found out that there’s a TV adaptation coming up in a couple of weeks. Given that I probably will watch the TV version, do I really want to read the book straight before it, or would it be better to leave the book until later in the year?

Anyway, I’m now onto February’s reading, kicked off with Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers. I’m not generally a crime girl, but part of the idea of 52 Books is to read as widely as possible, and January has been quite commercial women’s fiction** heavy. Strong Poison was a recommendation from my senior sibling who definitely is a crime girl (fictional crime only – she hardly ever does an actual murder), and I’m quite enjoying it, but technically it’s a February book, so more on that next time.

 

* Definitely its proper medical name

** Hate that term. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

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7 thoughts on “52 Weeks: 52 Books – January

    Polly said:
    February 2, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Yikes ‘Weird Hacking Cough Disease’ looks awful, you must have felt grim. Hope you’re better now.

    Like

    Michelle said:
    February 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Don’t go back to The Casual Vacancy. It’s a wonderfully written depiction of lots of people you’d cross the street to avoid. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

    By the way I have a waterproof kindle cover and it’s proven a worthy investment…

    Liked by 1 person

      Alison May responded:
      February 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      I’ve looked at waterproof kindle cases, but the reviews were fairly awful. That was a while ago though. I shall look again.

      I’m thinking that, with the TV adaptation coming up, I probably won’t go straight back to The Casual Vacancy – I’m really interested to see how they adapt it for TV though.

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    Rosamond Maynard said:
    February 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    If you’re going to watch it on TV, definitely don’t read it first – this applies to all fiction, in my opinion. The film or TV version always disappoints if you’ve read the book first.

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    Helen said:
    February 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I have a waterproof kindle case which was very cheap and seems to be ok so far (although I haven’t deliberately dropped it in the bath to test it). It’s got so many layers of fastenings tho that it’s a bit of a faff unless you’re really committed to taking your kindle in the bath.

    Am excited to hear about Feb and Strong Poison now!

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    52 Weeks: 52 Books – February | Alison May said:
    March 2, 2015 at 7:47 am

    […] 52 Weeks: 52 Books project continues. I read four books in January and seem to have picked up the pace a bit in February, so here’s the rundown of my month in […]

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