Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Reading Record | I Finished 5 Books + Off The Grid Readathon

My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - I aim to post these consistently, with them most often being in a weekly format, however readathons and certain books have their own specific reading record.

In this post I share about some lingering books that I finished, and also my participation in the Off The Grid Readathon which place between Friday 17th - Sunday 19th.

Starting the week with 5 hours and 57 minutes left on my audiobook of The Five, and just under 150 pages left in The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Today I made progress in both of my current reads... I have returned to Evelyn Hardcastle after my short break, as I had hoped, and read just over 50 pages today. I also listened to The Five audiobook; we have moved on to third woman killed by Jack the Ripper, and I have 4 hours and 44 minutes of listen time left. I’m happy with the steady pace I am working through The Five, and am really enjoying the book itself, which I will of course talk more about when I’ve finished.

One book finished and a new one started today.

I finished The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle! Whilst I appreciate the book for what it was – an original and well crafted murder mystery – it just wasn’t the book for me. I have seen universal praise for this book, and so hoped I would have a similar experience myself... There are a couple of things that dented my personal reading experience: the lack of likeable characters (at all) and also the fact that I always felt like an observer, never fully falling into the story. I wasn’t whisked away by this book, and reading it felt like a chore at times, however I am happy I stuck with the book and was able to complete my experience.

The new book I have started today is Outpost by Dan Richards, a nonfiction title with a focus on the outdoors, wilderness, and remote places on this earth. The book is split into a number of chapters, with each chapter representing a different location visited by the writer. The reason I have picked this up to read is because since finishing After The End on Sunday, I have not had another ‘read in the bath book’ – I know some people have strong views on bath reading, but I personally love a good relax and read in a hot bubble bath, HOWEVER, I only ever read my own physical copy books in the bath... Occasionally I’ll listen to an audio book, but for the most part I like to keep bath reading to personal physical copy. As you know, I am currently reading a nonfiction book (on audio), and don’t tend to read more than one NF at any one time, however I know the next fiction book I pick up having now finished Hardcastle will be a library borrow, which of course I would not have as a ‘read in the bath book’, so I looked at my unread books and settled on this title; I don’t think it will conflict with my other current NF as they are vastly different topics being handled. Outpost should work great for the reason I am picking it up now, as I can read one or two chapters at a time, dipping in & out. I will likely only mentioned this book again once I have finished it, as I imagine my bookmark will slowly meander through the pages.

I started my next current fiction read today: The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlain. I know that this is one of her backlist books, very early backlist at that, but it was recommended to me when searching for her newest release on my library reservation system. I’ve read more than a handful of Diane Chamberlain’s books now and have always had a good reading experience, so I hope for the same with this one... I read just under 40 pages.

I did also listen to more of my audiobook today: The Five.

I finished reading The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper today; the book is by Hallie Rubenhold, and my audio version was read by Louise Brealey.

Hallie Rubenhold has done a phenomenal job with this book, using extensive research to show the real lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper, as well as depict what the Victorian era would have looked like – visually, morally, and more. I also really felt a sense of care in the writing, care for these five women – Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary; their stories were told with tenderness and love even. If you enjoy historical or true crime nonfiction, then I highly recommend The Five.

Today begins my participation in a readathon (my first of the year): Off The Grid Readathon. The idea behind this readathon is to read without distractions. I like the idea of switching off, disconnecting, and focusing on books, which is why I take part in this readathon whenever I can.

My TBR consists solely of library borrows, being backlist books by authors I’ve enjoyed previously, 

I decided to start my readathon experience with The Death of Mrs Westaway, simply because it is the book I need to return the soonest of the three... And I managed to read the entirety of it today! It picked it up multiple times today and flew through it.

With an isolate country estate and family secrets central to the plot, I will admit I did have some hopes for this Ruth Ware novel as I do love both of those things in a book... However, something just didn't work out for me with this title, and actually other Ruth Ware titles also. I find her stories interesting - this being my 3rd book of hers now - but with all the books I have read of hers, I find there is a disconnection between me & the story... And I can't pinpoint what exactly it is.

Having finished The Death of Mrs Westaway, I have now moved my focus to The Escape Artist by Diane Chamberlain. As mentioned above, I did briefly start this book on Wednesday, but made some significant progress today, reading around 230 pages... Meaning I am more than half way through.

I like the story so far... I mean you can tell it is of its time (1990's) technology wise and such, plus I also have a suspicious as to the mystery plot elements unfolding, however I am enjoying the writing and the progression of the main character.

This morning I finished the remainder of The Escape Artist... I would say it was a good reading experience – I’m enjoying reading some of Diane Chamberlain’s backlist titles, but as with any author, when you’ve read more recent works of theirs, often times the backlist ones aren’t comparable. The things I do enjoy in a Diane Chamberlain novel – a dilemma that wants the reader to project themselves in to and characters that you easily invest in & commit to – where present within The Escape Artist, and so for that reason, as I said, it was a good read.

Having finished The Escape Artist in the morning, I did ponder whether I should pick up another book or not... More specifically, if I pick up another book will I finish it within the readathon time frame. 

I did indeed pick up another book, opting for a middle grade title sat on my unread shelf: The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll. If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll know I do enjoy a middle grade here and there, and in particular, Emma Carroll is one of my favourite MG authors, so of course I was super keen to get stuck in to her most recent release.

And yes, I did finish it in the readathon time frame - concluding the story early evening! 

Emma Carroll writes historical middle grade fiction, often times with adventures ensuring, strong female characters being central to the plot, and wonderful relationship dynamics between both family & friends; all of these things combine perfectly in my opinion. There was also a Q&A with Emma Carroll at the end of the book which I quite enjoyed also.

What a reading week - 2 books carried over from the week before finished, and concluding the week with 3 books finished in 3 days!



Do you have specific books for specific reasons? 
For example, the bath like me, or perhaps a commute book, or a bedside table book etc.


  1. I’m glad you liked The Five. Good luck with the readathon!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. You've encouraged me to put The Five onto my reading wishlist. It does sound fascinating and about time we heard about the women who were the victims rather than yet another book about who Jack Ripper was or was not

    1. Yes, I quite agree - it was definitely a new take on the case as a whole.

  3. Hello
    I hope you enjoyed Outpost as both a regular book and 'specialist bath book' — thank you for writing about it!


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