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Book roundup | January to March 2018 - Adventitious Violet
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Book roundup | January to March 2018

bookish talk

We’re more than a quarter through this year 2018 already and I wanted to share some book reviews and recommendations. For this year on Goodreads, I gave myself the challenge to read one book a week, so 52 books total. As I’m writing this, as we’re about to head to Cuba, I’ve read 14 books. This means I’m two books behind schedule. However I’m planning to get through a few of them on the beach! Will report when I’m back up North 😉

*Luggage. Susan Harlan. 3/5

Luggage is an interesting look into the luggage we take with us when we travel, how they are filled, by what and what happens to them when they are lost. It has some great thoughts on travel and luggage for the eager travellers like myself.

*The Day Fidel Died. Patrick Symmes. 3/5

This was an interesting book about how Fidel Castro came to power, the Castro era and what has happened since Fidel’s death. I have to say I expected something a bit less biased, but it still sounded mostly unbiaised and fair in its observations, even though the author seems to have mostly talked to dissidents. I still really liked this book and thought it was an interesting view into such a controversial country.

Not Another Happy Ending. David Solomons. 2/5

This book follows Jane, an aspiring writer living in Glasgow and trying to writer her first and second books. I’d seen the film (with Karen Gillan) a few years back and it was pretty bad. The book was just as bad, but weirdly entertaining in how bad it was.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for the Peculiar Children. Ransom Riggs. 3/5

I picked up this book after seeing the trailer to the film, which I still haven’t seen. It was an interesting storyline, full of weird and wonderful characters. However, I thought it was very shallow in the storytelling. Perhaps it’s because this is just the first book in the series, but I didn’t feel all that engaged with the characters or story.

The Bloody Chamber. Angela Carter. 3/5

I’ve recently joined a feminist book club and this was the first book we read. It’s a selection of short stories, some known and lesser known fairy tales, reimagined with a darker lens. “The bloody chamber”, the first story of the series, is in my opinion the best one and it reminded me a lot of Crimson Peak.

*Weddings Away. Sharon Naylor. 3/5

As I am in the midst of planning a wedding I thought this would be interesting, especially since it will be a destination wedding for most of the guest list. However, this book mostly covered typical destination wedding – in resorts somewhere hot and exotic. So if you’re doing that, you may love this book!

*Ottercombe Bay. Bella Osborne. 2/5

It follows the story of a woman who returns to her home village to receive a big inheritance, which declares she must stay in the village for at least a year to receive it. She’s a pretty ungrateful character that is not particularly consistent, but it’s still an intriguing situation. I was quite sad to realise, after starting it, that it was only part 1. I want to know what happens, but I don’t think I would want to pick up another in this series.

*The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. Imogen Hermes Gowar. 4/5

This novel follows a man who searches for a mermaid to woo a prostitute. That’s about the gist of it. The writing is lovely and very reminiscent of the era, the characters are vivid and the quest for the mermaid becomes engaging (by about halfway through anyway). This novel reminded me a lot of The Miniaturist (in style), so I expected the ending to be a lot more haunting or sad, but I was pleased.

*The Timeless Seashore. Joe Votano. 3/5

This book was a series of photographs of the seaside in the United States. It was beautiful, but I found it lacking in something more. I also disliked having to skip to the end of the book to know where each photo was taken.

*Daily Writing Resilience. Bryan Robinson. 3/5

In this book aimed at writers, the reader gets offered one thought/page per day to help in their mindfulness and resilience approaching their writing projects or writing life. I found it really beautiful. Even though I didn’t read it through a full year, I thought it would be a great companion to writers looking for a little daily inspiration.

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up. Marie Kondō. 3/5

I was really disappointed by this book. Maybe it’s because I’m not a hoarder and have gone through many periods of purge in my life by moving across the pond, but it didn’t reach me. Perhaps if you feel you have too much this would help you! For me I also found it imbued with sexism and condescendence.

Wide Sargasso Sea. Jean Rhys. 4/5

This was the second book we read in my feminist book club and it’s my favourite of the year so far. It’s a bit like a sequel of Jane Eyre, from the point of view of Bertha, Mr Rochester’s first wife. It tries to dismantle the concept of the madwoman in the attic, especially with a post-colonialism lens. I highly recommend it!

What book have you read lately? Any good recommendations to share? xx

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