My renewed reading is still in full swing, for which I am incredibly grateful, and it felt like time to regale the Internet with more of my opinions, for which I’m sure you’re all incredibly grateful too.
I had mixed results from the books I chose to read, hence the title, so these aren’t in the order of reading, I’m starting with the not so great and ending on the good.
The Night Clock – Paul Meloy. This is a ‘did not finish’. I picked this one up from a charity shop, during the brief period between lockdowns when they were open, and back there it shall go. I did manage about 30 minutes of reading before giving up, but if you’re going to hand me repulsive characters in traumatising situations you’d better also give me a couple of redeeming features or I’m simply not going to continue. Maybe other people would have better luck with this one, but it’s not for me.
When All Is Said – Anne Griffin. This one is also a ‘did not finish’, picked up from a charity shop, but this one was put down because there were SO MANY words saying so little. I did skip to the end to find out what happened to the main character, so I suppose that says something, but discovering his fate actually made me more convinced that putting it down was the right option.
The City In The Middle Of The Night – Charlie Jane Anders. I was looking forward to this book, the blurb on the back makes it sound like just my sort of thing, and I did finish it, but what stays with me isn’t the tidally locked planet or the interesting aliens. It also isn’t the adventure story or the traits of the few characters who are fully fleshed out. What stays with me is the depressing idea that, even after 3000 more years of development, human societies will be just as oppressive and totalitarian as some of them are today. Even worse this the slow realisation that what I had just read was actually the story of an abuse victim who, even after each escape, kept going back for more, right to the end. Maybe this wasn’t the right book to read right now, but I remember being disappointed after reading her first book, so I suspect I will be avoiding this author for the foreseeable future.
The End Of Time – Gavin Extence. I don’t think ‘enjoy’ is the right word for this tale, but I am glad I read it (which is how I usually feel after all his books). It is the story of two brothers, escaping Syria to seek refuge in Britain. Upon their journey they meet a man who calls himself Jesus Christ and their relationships are what carry the story on. The traumas, which must be part of any story like this, are part of the overall situation, not any individual event that happens to them. This made it readable. The world has changed quite a bit since this was written and it seemed heartbreakingly quaint in some parts, but the fact that people are still risking everything to escape war, famine, poverty and abuse makes it a tale worth reading.
Why I’m No Longer Talking (to white people) About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge. This is a UK-centric book, obviously discussing issues around racism and how it affects people, but it also covers historical aspects that people may not be so aware of. I think I knew most of the facts given in this book, but reading them all together in one place makes their impact far more profound. I am a great believer in seeking out experts, instead of pretending we already know it all, and also in simply shutting up and listening when people are tell you their truths. This book is the truth for a young Black woman living in Britain today, told with clarity, empathy and through very good writing, and I am very glad I read it.
The Falling Woman – Pat Murphy. This was a recommendation (waves hi…got any more?) I read it, enjoyed it, and now I am seeking out all the rest of Pat Murphy’s books. It is a fantasy novel with well rounded, likeable characters involved in a story that is well written enough to make you feel the oppressive heat as well as providing food for thought about how we view (and judge) other cultures. As well as gratitude for having been able to read an engaging story, I am left feeling some of the frustrations archaeologists must endure, knowing they will never fully understand the cultures they are unearthing.
It is not my intention that my blog end up as a book review site, but reading has been pretty important to me just recently, so this is the stuff currently residing in my brain. Heaven knows what will come next.