Despite being a rather slow reader, I love books and always have a novel on the go. I mostly read in bed to help me switch off and get to sleep, so my consumption varies wildly from reading half a page and waking up with a book on my head, to staying up most of the night reading – knowing that it’s a more productive way to deal with insomnia than ‘trying to sleep’. This normally averages out at a few books per year, and often a few started books that I just lost interest in or left in a hotel room when away with work!
But this year there has been a change. I realised last week that I am reading my tenth book of 2015 and I have thoroughly enjoyed most of them!
The main reason for this change is the fact that I got a Kindle paperwhite for Christmas. It means I can read until late without worrying about keeping Beardie awake by having the light on, and more importantly – I can read hands free while knitting!
I normally choose my books based on recommendations from friends and family, and for the most part this works out well. But it has also meant that occasionally I’ve tried to force myself to continue reading books that I’m just not enjoying and that always makes me lose my reading mojo for a while. Like with knitting – I read to relax at the end of the day. It doesn’t have to be clever, well written or a classic – I just want good characters and a gripping story that I can disappear into. I’ve joined Goodreads, and I’m finding that a great new way to get recommendations based on how I rate the books I’ve read, and it also jogs my memory of books I’ve been meaning to read for a while.
Here are my mini-reviews of this years reads.
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
This was the first book I purchased for my kindle. I’ve read a couple of Kate Morton’s books and really enjoyed them so I thought it would be a safe bet. It didn’t disappoint with a good amount of intrigue and mysteries that unravelled throughout the book – but were slightly predictable so that I could feel a bit clever for working them out!
Her books tend to have a similar format, which I don’t mind – but I do get them confused with each other so it’s good to leave a gap between reading her books!
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards
A good and interesting read. I borrowed this from my mum so I was reading it in book form rather than on the kindle and I think I enjoyed it less because of this!
I’m already struggling to remember details of this book, so that might suggest that although I enjoyed reading it, I maybe didn’t love it.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Back on the kindle – I went for the cheery ‘The Road’ (!). I saw the film when it first came out and my brother scared me by explaining how the post-apocalyptic world portrayed could happen and most probably will in our children’s lifetime. Thanks bro!
Despite this – I loved the film and equally enjoyed the book. I couldn’t put it down. Sometimes seeing the film before reading the book can spoil it, but not in this case. As soon as I finished the book I wanted to watch the film again, so we hired it that evening!
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Back to a ‘borrowed from mum’ paperback. I mentioned above that Kate Morton’s books are a little similar in format and I get them confused with each other – and reading two in a year was a mistake because it got confusing! I was glad to be reading this in book form because I went back and re-read a couple of chapters – which isn’t so easy on the kindle.
Despite the confusion – this is now my favourite Kate Morton book. As with all her books, it flips between two time periods. I read it really quickly because each chapter would have a little cliffhanger, so I would be desperate to get through the present day chapter to get back to war time and find out what happened next and vice-versa. Loved it!
Us by David Nicholls
I bought this for the kindle after hearing David Nicholls talk to Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 Music. It was really interesting hearing him talk about the success of ‘One Day’ and the fact that he sort of has to accept that that will only happen once. He spoke about writing a whole book after the success of One Day that was basically just thrown out before going back to the drawing board and writing Us.
I found it a bit difficult to get into at first. Perhaps because One Day is one of my favourite books and this is so different. Or perhaps because I couldn’t relate to a middle aged man as easily as Em & Dexter’s characters in One Day. But it didn’t take long, and I ending up loving it. When reading One Day I burst into tears and threw the book across the room. With Us, I just welled up a bit and sighed in a content manner. I’d like to think that was the reaction David Nicholls wanted.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This book was fantastic! I think I read it in about a week. I wanted to see the film when it came out, but find it’s always best to read the book first. I knew that Ben Affleck played Nick, so his face was in my mind, but I didn’t know anything else about the film which was great as that might have spoilt it.
I’m not going to say anything else because I don’t want to give anything away! Read it.
Finding Emma by Steena Holmes
Having suddenly become a 12 books a year sort of reader, I had now run out of ideas and recommendations for what to read next. So I bought this based on the fact that the cover looked nice, it’s apparently a best seller and it was reduced to 99p on kindle.
This was a mistake! I think it might be written for young teenagers? Maybe I’m missing something because, as I say, it’s a best seller – but I felt it had no depth, in places was really badly written and I had no empathy for any of the characters.
After reading this I joined Goodreads, to get recommendations based on my ratings, so hopefully I won’t get sucked in by a discount and a nice cover again!
Room by Emma Donaghue
This was a Goodreads recommendation and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It’s about a mother and son held captive in a room, written entirely from the point of view of the five year old boy. I can’t say more without spoilers really!
I think they’re making it into a film as well which will be interesting. In the book we only know what Jack is thinking and feeling which might be difficult to maintain in the film.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
This is another one that I wanted to read before seeing the film.
Such an interesting book, as it is written entirely from the point of view of Alice as she succumbs to early onset Althzeimer’s, with only glimpses of how it affects the people around her.
It was a happier book than I expected and I’m looking forward to seeing the film.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I’ve only just started Life of Pi, but I’m enjoying it so far. I particularly enjoyed the sloth facts in the first chapter!
What are you reading at the moment? If you have any recommendations for me – do get in touch! I’ll get back to my knitting and reading now x