Monday, 22 June 2020

Reading Record | Reading Multiple Books at Once

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.

I'm going in to the week with a clean slate regarding reading material, carrying no books over from the previous week.

It is my birthday today, with a gift from my husband & son being a nonfiction coffee table style book: Do You Read Me?. This book is about bookshops around the world - one of my favourite things in bookish nonfiction. I looked through the entire book today, mostly poring over the beautiful photos, and then started to read it also with 73 pages being read. There isn't a massive amount of text in this book and I plan to spread out my reading of it over the next few days. 

As well as delving into my new book, I also started an audiobook & an ebook today (both downloads from the digital library). In terms of audiobook I have begun Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, and boy does Olive seem like a piece of work! I have listened to just over an hour of this so far. The ebook I have started is a nonfiction - Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames - and I think it could prove to be a really fascinating read.

'It is the tides that make mudlarking in London so unique. For just a few hours each day, the river gives us access to its contents, which shift and change as the water ebbs and flows, to reveal the story of a city, its people and their relationship with a natural force.'

As a Londoner myself, it'll be very interesting to read about a different aspect of the city; one that I have never thought about, nor deep dived in to.

This morning I made time for progress within all three of my current reads. I listened to two more short stories in my audiobook of Oliver Kitteridge, completed more within Mudlarking and read about more than a handful more bookshops in Do You Read Me?.

When it comes to reading more than one book at a time, I do try to make sure I make each book a priority, however there does always tend to be one that is favoured more than the others... This can change from day to day even. 

Today my focus book was definitely Mudlarking. I read about 60ish pages within this book today, which equated to a good couple hours of reading all in all. That may sound like not many pages within that time frame, however Mudlarking is a book rich in history and detail, and so it is one of those books I'm reading at a slower pace than my typical. The writer is presenting London in many past eras, and it is fascinating all that can be found on the banks of the Thames.

I spent all my reading time today - which was admittedly vey little - with Do You Read Me?: Bookstores Around the World, and finished it. This is a joy of a book that I am happy to now have on my shelves. As with many coffee table books there is more of a focus on the visuals than text, but I discovered some new to me bookstores and greatly admired the photography within.

Managed to carve out a lot of reading time today, including starting a new fiction book too. 

I read further in Mudlarking (40 pages), and listened to a couple more stories within Olive Kitteridge. I also picked up Me You Everything by Catherine Isaac, and wow I have flown through this having already read 255 pages (that's more than half way!) today alone. I think this is a great book for me to read amidst Mudlarking and Olive Kitteridge as they are two heavier reads, in different ways, and so it is nice to have something that you can easily fall in to alongside that - balance.

I made progress in both Mudlarking and Olive Kitteridge today... I'm finding that I'm making my way through Olive Kitteridge a lot slower than I anticipated (just an observation, not a grumble), and I think this is due to the doom and gloom nature of the book - there is a lot of sadness in the plots of these short stories, but also they feel true to life; these things do indeed happen in life. 

Finished two books today - and have now read 51 books so far this year!

Firstly, I finished Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames by Lara Maiklem. Although quite a dense read at times, I did enjoy my time with this book, with Lara Maiklem deep diving in to a fascinating pastime as well as presenting London & the Thames in a different light (including many historical time periods).

After Mudlarking I got stuck into You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac, picking up where I left off last time and completed it early afternoon. The overarching focus of You Me Everything is relationships, in many forms, and all the complexities and complications that come with those - how things go left unsaid, changes as relationships evolve, building trust with another person, the depths of love and more. I pretty much figured out where the book was going from early on, but I enjoyed the unfolding story. Many emotions are run through in You Me Everything, with lightness at points, relatability, and also sadness... In many ways it is one of those 'put yourself in the main character's shoes' books.

This evening I returned to Olive Kitteridge, started with a time of just 6 hours remaining on the audiobook, and ending with 3 hours 55 minutes left. The two stories I listened to today - Tulips & Basket of Trips - have been some of my favourites in the collection so far (perhaps because we are seeing a slight transformation in Olive). Hmm... Will I be able to finish reading Olive Kitteridge tomorrow?

I have finished Olive Kitteridge, and I've got to say, I feel quite glad to be done with that book. Whilst I appreciated the writing, I didn't care for Olive Kitteridge as a character and that definitely dampened the book overall given that she is quite a big part of it. As with anyone, there is good and bad in people but I just felt like there was more bad than good highlighted of Olive. I don't usually need to like a character in order to like the book, however being the title character, I do think that played a bigger role here. Also, it wasn't just Olive - there just felt to be a lot of negativity in this book, and whilst that is life at times, yes, I feel like it bogged me down as a reader. I wanted to love this one, and kind of thought I would, so am coming away surprised and disappointed... Honestly, if I hadn't had such hopes going in, I think I would have DNF'ed Olive Kitteridge.

Not wanting to end my reading week on a negative note, this evening I settled in and read the first chapter of The Outermost House by Henry Beston, totalling 18 pages... A much better way to end the week.


Happy reading!


  1. Happy Birthday!

    I've read Olive K (twice) and Olive, Again (once) but, I must say I didn't get to appreciate Olive until book 2, Olive, Again. That's what made me reread the original book. She sure is prickly but, by book 2, I came to understand her and, must say I've know people like her.

    Hope your week goes well Jade.

    1. Thank you!

      I warmed to Olive slightly more towards the end of the book as I felt like we were getting to know more of her... For that reason I have been umming and ahhing about whether to read Olive, Again (my library has an ebook copy). Your thoughts regarding this have definitely given me more food for thought and a slight nudge to maybe pick up Olive, Again.

      Although I wasn't keen on her as character, I quite agree with it seeming realistic with you knowing people like her etc. The book as a whole was quite realistic in many ways.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Happy birthday!!! The book about the Thames sounds excellent and hopefully this week will be good for reading as well. :)

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, the River Thames book was excellent! Not an area of nonfiction I normally gravitate towards, but really quite enjoyed.


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