Monday, 13 April 2020

Reading Record | Bout of Books (27.5)

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 will have their own specific reading record.

This past week I have been jotting down my reading as part of my participation in Bout of Books 27.5. Bout of Books wasn't due for another event until May, however the hosts decided to put on a super low key mini event: safe at home edition.

I'm starting the week with The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - I heard a fair bit about this book when it was first released, with my knowledge of the book being that it is quite bookish and takes place in a small town. I read the first 48 pages today, which isn't the strongest start to the readathon, but it is a start.

I read a further 69 pages in The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend... Honestly, I'm not too sure how I feel about it. I thought it would be a nice, light read - which it is - however, it feels a little cardboard-y.

I often have more than one book on the go, but especially so during readathons, so I started another book also: Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis. I have a number of James Patterson novels lying around as my mum really enjoyed them and shared them with me; I've enjoyed the ones I've read so far - and flown through them - so thought this would be a good book to pick for a readathon read. I read the first 50 pages this evening.

Continued reading Murder House - bookmark left on page 118. I'm having a slightly harder time falling in to this particular James Patterson than others previously, with the flipping between time making it feel a little disjointed for me.

I started today picking up where I left off in The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, from page 118 (interesting that I paused my reading of both current books at the exact same stage), and read another 50 pages.

A good chunk of my reading time was spent with Murder House - and I actually ended up completing it! As I mentioned before, I wasn't really connected with the book due to the changing time of plot, but once I fell into that I was totally engrossed. Set against the backdrop of the Hamptons, with a house that has some dark history, it was a good reading, with some interesting twists & turns; what you'd want from a crime thriller really. 

Book two of the readathon complete - I read the remaining 98 pages of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend today. I thought this book would be one I'd love, but it was a bit meh to be honest. The plot was interesting, however the characters felt flat to me, and in turn didn't fully bring the story to life. My favourite element of the book was the letters from Amy; I enjoyed getting to know her character through those.

With just the weekend left of the readathon now, I wonder if I can get another book read in its entirety. I have Jack & Bet by Sarah Butler on my TBR still - a digital download from the library that needs finishing soon-ish, so I think I'll start that tomorrow.

After downloading and opening the library borrow of Jack & Bet I have learnt that the ebook is only 170 pages in length - I'm confident that I can read that this weekend and leave the readathon with three books read.

Well, it isn't even 6pm, and I've finished Jack & Bet; a lovely book. Jack & Bet are an elderly couple, married for seventy years, who live in London. Their son is looking to get them help with assisted living in a care home, however Jack & Bet are having none of it, so after a chance encounter with Marinela, the couple find themselves with some household help. That's the general premise of Jack & Bet, but of course there are layers to the story that I don't want to reveal due to spoilers. I quite enjoy books with elderly protagonists, and this was another successful read in that category.

This evening, wanting to continue with my reading but not start a whole new book, I read a little in the nonfiction book I am currently reading (to be honest, I have bookmarks in a number of nonfiction books right now, but this book specifically is my focal read): I Never Knew That About Coastal England by Christopher Winn - I read 30 pages.

I added a little bit to my page count for the readathon overall, reading a further 38 pages in the nonfiction book.

In total I read 1034 pages throughout the week of the readathon, and completed 3 books; I'm super happy with that.



Happy reading!

Monday, 6 April 2020

Reading Record | Back On Track

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 specific reading record.

With all that we are facing as a world right now, I have found my reading to be very off and on, with concentration levels not always being too great... This past week or so, I have found a number of books that captured me, and that I read through nicely, so I thought I'd share those three books and my experiences with them.

I settled into Nest by Inga Simpson today, reading the first 122 pages. We are following the character of Jen, a woman who has moved back to the small town in which she grew up. There are mysteries that run throughout the story, including that of missing children, however the main focus - to me at least - seems to be Jen... Her day to day life, and how she is moving on from her own troubles. I quite like the writing style of Nest so far, with short chapters and descriptive nature writing that really pulls you in.

No reading.

Further reading done in Nest - an additional 99 pages - and I'm still enjoying my time with this book. In particular, I have enjoyed the development of relationships and how twists & turns are starting to appear in the story now.

I finished reading Nest by Inga Simpson this morning. Overall a pleasant read, and a book I would recommend to others. Whilst the plot was multi-layered, it did feel largely like a life study of main character, Jen, with any questions I had being wrapped up in the end, but not all pleasantly. Also, if you are someone who likes nature writing in your fiction, then Nest would be a great one to pick up - the Australian landscape transported me.

After concluding Nest I thought I'd look in to the author's writing a little more, and perhaps see about purchasing another book of hers - Mr Wigg (Inga Simpson's debut). Well, it appears to be mighty hard to purchase Mr Wigg here in the UK, with used copies being £20+ and the only other option of purchasing directly from Australia being double that!

A positive to note though, when adding Nest to my Goodreads account, I noticed that my reading is definitely back on track now, having read 7 books in the month of March (the same amount I read in January, before my February reading slump hit)… Now to get back on track with blogging.

This evening I started reading The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain, a book I have borrowed via the library digital download system and have only seven days left before returning. I read 48 pages to start with, and hope I'm able to finish it before the return date.
Some further reading in The Family Tree, although minimal - 80 pages in total read now.

I read a further 90 pages in The Family Tree today, meaning I have now passed the half way mark. I am enjoying this book so far, however I'm not too sure I like the direction it is going in - time will tell.

No reading.

Today I finished the remainder of The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain... And I came away conflicted. 

The Family Tree follows the life of a Muslim family living in Britain, spanning a number of years: we see children grow, cultural celebrations observed, world events and their impacts covered, and the complexities of family life depicted... Whilst I appreciated the story and writing style, I personally felt like the path of one family member (Saahil) took a turn that I wasn't entirely convinced of. Other than that, I would not have a bad word to say about The Family Tree, and would recommend it to anyone who likes books with a family focus.

I decided to shift my reading gears and step into a middle grade book next, one of a dystopian genre: Where The World Turns Wild by Nicola Penfold. I read 102 pages as a starting point.

Today I read a further 90 pages in my current read.

This morning I finished reading Where The World Turns Wild, coming away having had a great reading experience.

As I mentioned when I first spoke about this book, Where The World Turns Wild is a dystopian middle grade book, following Juniper and her brother, Bear - they live in a walled city where nature has been banned, with everything carefully maintained and managed by city officials. A man-made disease, introduced to protect the wild, is why nature is now banned, however Juniper and Bear are resistant to the disease, and are keen to get back to the wild, and in turn their parents.

There is great depth to the story of Juniper & Bear, and the message behind the book is perhaps more important now more than ever. I loved a lot about Where The World Turns Wild, details that you can't even convey if you haven't read all the finer details of the book, and would say it is in my list of top favourite middle grade reads. Highly recommend!

Next week I'll be participating in Bout of Books 27.5... Bout of Books wasn't due to take place again until May, however they are hosting a little Safe at Home edition - I look forward to taking part.

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