So a few things have changed with me recently – a key thing being that I’ve left my job in the bookshop for a position at the local council. I miss bookselling dearly, but of course, there’s always plenty of books at home to keep me occupied. In the downtime between jobs, I’ve had chance to really dig in to a few good reads. Keep going if you want to check out what I’ve read over the last month or so.
I’m beginning to realise that my usual reading speed means that I read about one book a week, sometimes more and sometimes less but my average tends to be one a week. If I have lots of free time its often more, but if I’m busy then its naturally less. After leaving my job, I took a holiday to Budapest with my boyfriend and took a few books with me, not really expecting to have chance to read them. Well, dear reader I finished them both and I was pleasantly surprised by this. As a child I read voraciously and incredibly quickly (see: the little nerd who bought Order of the Phoenix as soon as it came out – I made my dad take me to the nearest ASDA at 9am – and then finished it in one afternoon) but I often feel that as an adult, I’ve slowed down. Not the case! I finished Kate Atkinson’s Big Sky on the flight to Budapest and V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows on the way back to the UK. So, that’s one book in roughly two-ish hours, which isnt bad going!
First, to Big Sky. I looooove Kate Atkinson and her Jackson Brodie series holds a special spot in my heart, mostly because they’re all set in and around West Yorkshire so that is naturally my jam. Hence, I was so, so excited when Big Sky was announced and immediately had a signed copy on order. I picked it up from work on my last day and decided to save it for my flight. I have to say however, there was something about it that I didn’t totally love and I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly what it was. I loved the setting, picking out places that I have been on holiday and ones that carry much loved memories; I was surprised that Atkinson chose to tackle the subject of human trafficking and institutional sexual abuse – but it felt timely. I think this one probably needs a reread from me so I can more coherently marshal my thoughts.
On to A Gathering of Shadows and one that I can certainly say I absolutely loved, to the point of immediately declaring that I absolutely had to have the next book in the series as soon as I finished this one. I love a good, richly drawn fantasy world and the ADSoM series is just up my street. At turns it reminds me of Gaiman’s Neverwhere but in a wider sense with a different sort of magic. As the second in a trilogy, there were moments of filler that felt as though they were there to draw the work out, but I loved the chance to get to know more about Red London and the magical tournament was especially wonderful to read. Getting to know more about Rhys and Kell – two brothers who are so tightly bound together was a joy and I’m excited (and a little nervous) to read the final book!
Lately I’ve picked up a few bits and bobs, but not quite finished them – I snagged a couple of lovely hardback copies of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s works and they’re currently languishing on my bookshelves, shiny and begging to be read, but I’ve not quite found the right moment. Perhaps in this heatwave with a martini in hand. I’ve also found myself with a few more non-fiction reads – She-Merchants, Buccaneers and Gentlewomen which tells the story of British women in India from 1600-1900 and A Woman of No Importance which looks at the amazing Virginia Hall a lady dubbed ‘World War Two’s most dangerous spy’ which I am totally down for!
I’ve been absolutely addicted to Netflix’s Queer Eye lately – it’s such a terrific, lovely show and the fab five are so encouraging and optimistic that they’ve really found a spot in my heart. I picked up a copy of Tan France’s memoir Naturally Tan and tore through it in a day or so. It has a very chatty tone and rather than being a linear narrative, each chapter focuses on a certain item of clothing – which then features in a story that Tan has about his life, and growing up in Doncaster. As a side-note for this, I used my £10 of Waterstones points towards a copy of Jonathan Van Ness’s autobiography Over the Top, because I have very little self control when it comes to book buying, but more importantly, JVN is a complete gem and I’m very much looking forward to reading some of his work.
So! This is where I am with my reading at present. My TBR grows ever longer – I’ve got some gorgeous proof copies I was lucky enough to be sent before I left Waterstones (Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, anyone??) and lots of things that I’ve neglected for too long and really want to take the time to enjoy! I’m heading to London next week too and if you’ve got any recommendations for an indie bookshop or several that I definitely need to check out – drop them in the comments below!