I was going to do this post as a combined round up from January and February, but it’s now the end of March and I’ve still not finished it… And quite honestly I’ve now read 22 books this year, and no one wants a post that long! So I’m just going to go ahead and do three separate posts for January, February, and March. Rewind to January…
So this year I’m once again taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, with the aim of reading 60 books. I read 8 books in January, so I’ve done a quick roundup below.
A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J Maas
This is a must-read for fans of this series, or of Sarah J Maas. in fact, it’s a must-read for anyone vaguely interested in fantasy. There’s beautiful world-building to be found, alongside brilliant characters, and a love story/love triangle to rival the best. There’s a lot of unexplained elements at the end, which might be explained by the new book coming out later this year. I’m not sure where Sarah J Maas is taking this series, and I can’t imagine a happy, stable ending to it, but I’ll definitely be picking up the next one!
Electra & Other Plays – Sophocles
Okay, I’m not exactly imagining that anyone else will like this! But this was more of an academic read for me, relating to my studies. Electra continues the destructive cycle of betrayal, revenge, and murder in the house of Atreus… If you’re into Greek tragedy this is the one for you. Ha!
Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
I’ve not read anything by Roxane Gay before, and I have to say I love her friendly, easy-to-read style. Here, she considers aspects of race and feminism in relation to everyday things, and personal anecdotes. There’s acknowledgement of feminism’s white-washing, but Gay doesn’t go overboard. She is a true advocate against both racism and sexism, and I would highly recommend this book.
Divergent – Veronica Roth
I loved the Divergent films, and watched them all in one weekend earlier in the year. After instantly ordering the book box set, I wasn’t as interested as I thought I would be. This first book in the series, correlating to the first film, is very different to its onscreen counterpart. The books seem aimed at a far younger audience than the films, which might partially explain my lack of enthusiasm for them. I still love Tris in the books, but I think I definitely prefer the Four of the film series. I’d recommend reading the books before watching the films, as I felt knowing the plot of the films made the narrative of the book seem slow, and even boring in parts. I’m less keen to read the rest of this series to be honest, although having bought the whole set I’m sure they’ll end up being read at some point along the line.
Mythos – Stephen Fry
I jumped at the chance to grab a signed copy of the book from Waterstones, as it’s just my kind of thing. Myths and the Ancient Greek gods and goddesses are a part of what I’m studying at the moment, and retellings can go either way. Often, they’re brilliant, so I was keen to see how Stephen Fry and interpreted them. He’s done well – the stories contained within Mythos are an excellent retelling of the Greek creation myths, although the book does stop short of exploring most of the well-known, hero-centric stories. Fry consistently reminds readers of the parentage of every new ‘character’, which is extremely helpful – there are a lot of them – but would probably have been more efficiently solved via a more detailed family tree at the beginning of the book. Knowing the majority of the myths from other retellings, there is a slight tendency here to over-simplify, but overall Fry makes these ancient stories truly readable and applicable to the world today.
The Colour of Magic – Terry Pratchett
This was my first foray into the infamous Discworld series, and I ended up really enjoying it. This was an insanely confusing book at first, difficult to believe it’s really aimed at children, but it grew on me. There’s some crazy world-building, nicely dysfunctional characters, and a completely unexpected storyline, which took this from a difficult read to a speedy, captivating tale. But do be warned – the sequel is initially just as confusing!
The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism – Naoki Higashida
This style of memoir wasn’t one I had come across before. Naomi has an excellent way of getting his thoughts across, in that he provides his own personal answers to questions which people often ask to those with autism. General questions with specific replies. He really highlights what a different world those suffering from autism inhabit, which gives an amazing sense of perspective. It’s a tad repetitive, and he constantly uses the phrase “us people with autism”, which makes the reader consider how far he is speaking for others with autism. Yet this book is an amazing achievement, and I won’t hesitate to read the next instalment of his memoirs.
The Diary of a Bookseller – Shaun Bythell
A true must-read for anyone who loves books and/or bookshops. This was actually recommended to me by a neighbour of a family member who lives in Texas, which is random, but I’m so glad that I took their suggestion. This book is a key insight into the indie bookselling world, written with a friendly(ish) and realistic voice. It doesn’t go into too much detail, but explores enough to keep it interesting. This is a kind of niche genre, but a book which I loved.