There was a bit of a wobble this week, reader, I’ll confess. I had a “T” book that was recommended by a friend whose books I love. Sadly, the book wasn’t half as good as her own and simply wasn’t for me. Referring back to my “speed of reading” measurement, when I’d been reading for 3 days and barely reached a quarter of the way through I knew we weren’t a good match.
So I shelved that and tried to find something (I was only mildly panic-stricken; no biggie). Taking what I’ve learned about searching on Amazon I picked a likely word, “Truth” and went in. Anita Oh’s The Truth Spell caught my eye. Oh, my goodness, it was a delight! It’s a first-person narrative and Lucy was so lively and spiky and fabulous the novel was a joy to read.
I zoomed through it in two evenings’ reading, it was that good!
And a first for me – this was the first book I’ve read entirely on my phone. I often have short stories on my phone in case I’ve got five minutes to fill, but I’ve never tried to read an entire novel on my phone thinking it would be annoying to be continually swiping, but not at all. Clearly, if the narrative is gripping enough it doesn’t matter how I’m reading.
The Truth Spell is highly recommended if you like a fresh and modern paranormal tale. I’m now going in to find myself a “U” book, with the keyword “Under” – check back next week to see how that goes.
My S book for my alphabet challenge is Sand Runner, Vera Brook’s debut YA dystopian. Now, this was a last-minute addition and it offers a fascinating insight into my read/review process.
I review over on the Paisley Piranha website, with a group of other YA authors. Vera got in touch and asked if I’d like to review her soon-to-be-released Sand Runner, pointing out that maybe it could fill my “S” space (so points for paying attention, definitely). However, my heart sinks a little when I get asked to review pre-order books because one thing I do know is that I’m fussy. The number of books I start and discard is enormous, and the pile of books raved about by other people that have me scratching my head as to what the attraction could possibly be, is equally legion. What I always do is read the preview first to see if the book’s going to suitable – but that’s not possible with pre-release books (and, of course, I don’t want to ask the author for the first couple of chapters because then I’d have to say I didn’t want the rest and – argh! – confrontation!).
So, generally, if a preview isn’t available it’s going to be a no from me. However, Vera had a short story available, Look at Me(follow the link to check it out) so I could read that. It’s entirely excellent: well-written, unsettling, believable and a little bit heart-breaking. After reading that, I had no hesitation in saying yet to a preview copy of Sand Runner.
And it’s equally stunning. I loved it. The dystopian world is close enough to our own to be highly believable, with disturbing elements you could picture coming to pass. Just my cup of tea!
Sand Runner is out on June 2nd, so not long to wait!
I tried, I swear I did. J looked like it was going to become another H for me. I started a couple of books but they really weren’t to my taste. So I then cast about for recoemmendations. My excellent mother made the excellent suggestion that I read Jane Eyre.
Now, for some background on this, I have two degrees in English and the number of works of classic literature that I have NOT read is surprisingly legion. In mitigation I will point out that there is an awful lot of very fine, well-regarded literature out there in the English cannon. I don’t think I’ve been slacking. I’ve even started Jane Eyre several times, I’ve just never been about to get past that dreadful boarding school. I even tried watching the film a couple of years ago and fell at the same hurdle. It’s too dreary for words.
So, fabulous, here was a fine opportunity and a motive to fill this aching gap in my literary knowledge. I skipped the first few chapters to avoid the horrible school and settled down ready for things to become interesting.
Oh, how I wish they had! Why is this a classic? Whyever do people like it? Jane and Rochester are held up as icons of romance – they should be in therapy.
I struggled to see the appeal on any level. Was it the impenetrable prose that never feared to use twenty words where one would have sufficed? Perhaps it was Rochester’s breathtaking arrogance and superciliousness; his callous treatment of both the poor mad wife and Jane herself; or simply the fact that he spoke like no human being I’ve ever heard of. Maybe readers are seduced by Jane’s casual racism, or the fact that she has nothing good to say about anyone save herself. Or they are simply swept away by the romance of the most bizarre marriage proposal I’ve ever heard where the intended bride changes during the conversation.
I tried, I really did. But I abandoned it at 70% and consider I’ve done far more than my duty. I can’t wait to move on to my K book.
So, berate me, readers, and tell me (if you can) why Jane Eyre is a classic that deserves my respect!
…Among Wolves. And that turned out to be a fine start to my new reading year. It’s post-apocalyptic and with a reasonably familiar premise, but the narrator was excellent, and the finale was pulse-raisingly dramatic stuff. Please watch out for my full review of Among Wolves, which will be on the Paisley Piranha site shortly.
So that’s me nicely on schedule to reading A – Z in fiction during the first 26 weeks of 2017.
Next on my kindle is Joanne Dannon’s Bidding on Love. I saw it just as I was casting about for a ‘B’ book. A departure from my usual reading fare, it’s not YA fiction, but much more a pure romance, complete with a dashing millionaire hero. I can’t wait to see how he sweeps the heroine off her feet!
I am still filling in my A – Z list from my TBR pile and from recommendations I come across. If you’d like to pitch something you’ve read and enjoyed (or that you’ve written) just let me know in the comments below.
It’s another year, so it’s time for another challenge. I’m no longer restricting myself to free books so my pool of choice is now vast. That’s great, but it can make it hard to decide what to read.
So I’ve decided to try an alphabet challenge. For as long as it takes to work my way through the alphabet I’m going to read books with titles from A- Z. At last count there were 26 letters in the English alphabet and I reckon a book a week is a conservative target for my reading speed, so I should be done by the end of June. There. That’s lots of targets tied up nice and tight.
This week, unsurprisingly (I’m such a rule follower), will be A. I picked a sub-genre (dystopian) and simply scrolled until I found something that began with an A and appealed to me. I ended up with Among Wolves. I’ve only read the start, but I’m gripped already. It opens with someone who’s about to be killed, and oh my do I want to find out how he wound up facing a gun!
Oh, and wouldn’t you know – now it’s not necessary, I caught it on a free offer!
I’ll keep you posted on the book and my challenge. It’s a way off yet, but I can foresee problems when I get to Q, X and Z – so if you know of any good books (preferably YA) with titles starting with those letters, please let me know in the comments!