February wrap up 2019

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Happy March! This year already feels like it’s flying away at lightning speed, but by some miracle I’ve managed to get through a fair few books so, actually relatively on time for once, I’m here to share with you what I got through.

In February, I read a total of eight books! That brings my final total for the year so far up to 16.

I had a very e-book heavy month in February, my Kindle has barely been out of my hands since the start of the month, but I do want to make a conscious effort to pick up more of my physical books so hopefully that will change a bit for the future.

Normal People

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Pages: 266

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Published: August 2018

Rating: Five stars

I’d heard so many good things about this book that I was honestly a little worried to pick it up because I was concerned it had gotten a bit overhyped. It hasn’t, it’s SO GOOD. I honestly do not know how this didn’t make the Man Booker 2018 shortlist. It’s about these two people called Marianne and Connell, who went to the same school but became involved because Connell’s mum worked for Marianne’s family. She’s not liked at school, and they keep their relationship under wraps, before they move to university. Over the years, they drift together and apart again, and it follows both of them in their various struggles. I highly highly recommend, the characters feel very real, and fleshed out.

Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Pages: 624

Genre: Fantasy

Published: September 2014

Rating: Three stars

How long has it been since I read a purely fantasy book? I will preface this mini review by saying I don’t particularly enjoy the genre very much anymore, and had it not been for the fact I had this on audiobook, I probably wouldn’t have gotten through it. It’s a bit confusing and all over the place, and randomly changes character perspectives throughout, most of which I just didn’t care about. It’s about a girl/woman called Holly who can hear voices which she calls the “radio people”, which turn out to be psychics. There’s a battle between two sides, and then it ends with some dystopian version of the future. It was readable, but I was just not interested and I know it’s fantasy but it just came across as really unbelievable and it just wasn’t for me.

Ghost wall

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Pages: 152

Genre: Literary fiction

Published: September 2018

Rating: Three stars

I think this is a really interesting concept of a book, but it’s way too short. After a short argument with myself I ended up giving it three stars, because I was just unsatisfied. It’s about this girl and her family who go on a trip to live as people would have thousands of years ago, hunting and gathering. She gets a bit fascinated with one of the girls on the trip, and also has an abusive father, who puts her forward for a ritual which she really doesn’t want to take part in. I wanted to know more of the back story on the characters, more about Sylvie’s upbringing, what happens after, but all you really get is them already on the archaeology trip and a brief insight into what happens to her. I can’t go into the plot more as it’s very short and would give too much away. I did enjoy the writing, so I’d definitely consider picking up more by the author, I just wanted more than what I got sadly.

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Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Pages: 464

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Published: October 2018

Rating: Three stars

By the author of The Book Thief, don’t be fooled in thinking this novel is going to be anything like that, it’s not. It took me a solid 30% to get into it and have any clue what’s going on. It’s about the Dunbar family, and kind of switches between who the storyline is about, flipping between Matthew, Clay, Penelope and Michael. I thought there was too many character names introduced, and I really struggled to care about any of them. I did like the narrative about Penny and Michael’s relationship, but aside from that I felt like I was a bit lost most of the time. I did like the writing and normally I’m a fan of contemporary fiction but I thought this one was just ok.

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The Dumb House by John Burnside

Pages: 198

Genre: Horror

Published: June 1998

Rating: Not rated

I couldn’t rate this because I couldn’t get my head around it. It’s less than 200 pages but it took me forever to get through, it felt like such an arduous slog the whole time. It’s about this man who grows up quite obsessed with his cold mother. When she dies, he puts a plan into motion that will see him study linguistics in children, and essentially what will happen if they cannot communicate, i.e. they don’t know a language as they’ve never been communicated with. It’s split into sections, his connection with a mum with a mute son, which I would say has trigger warnings as it includes sex where the woman cannot give consent, the second where he brings home a homeless woman where he looks after her and she bears twins, and the third, more sinister part, which concerns his experiment on his children. I didn’t hate this, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it. It’s an interesting read and a fascinating choice of story, but it definitely lived up to its horror genre and gave me the creeps.

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Pure by Rose Bretecher

Pages: 288

Genre: Non-fiction

Published: September 2015

Rating: Four stars

Pure is a memoir written by Rose about her experiences living with Pure OCD, and her struggle with mental health, and the difficulty she has faced in her life with not knowing what was “wrong” with her. She sees extreme sexual images, which in turn causes a lot of anxiety and questioning by Rose, who sees multiple psychologists and tries various means in order to try to cure herself and figure out who she really is. I really enjoyed it. It’s not a medical explanation of her symptoms by any means, it just has snippets of her life and situations she’s been in, how it made her feel and what it was like for her over the years. It’s also been turned into a Channel 4 series, which I’ve only seen the first episode of, so if non-fiction isn’t really your thing you could give that a go instead.

Susanna Kaysen

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Pages: 169

Genre: Non-fiction

Published: April 1994

Rating: Three stars

Like Ghost Wall, this one got a lower rating because I didn’t think it was long enough. I think my main issue with Girl, Interrupted (which is entirely unfair to the book) is that I absolutely love the film and the book isn’t really like the film at all. It’s about her time in a mental health hospital, and a look back at her life as a teenager. I found the subject matter really interesting, but Kaysen doesn’t really go into depth with the people who live there, what they were like, what day to day life was like. It’s a bit like reading an interesting summary. I would probably give it a five stars if there was just more to it.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Pages: 227

Genre: Sci-fi/dystopian

Published: October 1953

Rating: 2 stars

I had high hopes for this one. It’s about a world in which books are banned (god forbid!) and there’s a team of firemen who are tasked with burning any found books. The main character Guy meets a girl who challenges his world view and from there he starts to doubt his job, until the time comes where he’s on the receiving end. For me, I felt this wasn’t any different to 1984, and I didn’t think it went into depth enough about how it came to be that way. If you’re looking for dystopian classics, just read 1984.

 

You can follow me on Goodreads for a more up-to-date version of what I’m reading, and see when I update it in real time! Link can be found in the right hand sidebar.

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