Wednesday 30 September 2015

Books I Have Devoured Over The Last Year, For Posterity

As you've probably noticed by the extreme amounts of tumbleweed blowing around this blog (wouldn't it be cool if neglected blogs actually started blowing tumbleweed around..? *drafts email to blogspot*) studying Shakespeare and working 3 days a week did not leave me much time for reading, and basically no time at all for reviewing, books. It was a strange because I was literally reading ALL THE TIME, but basically none of it was for me, and whilst I didn't mind that because- in case you haven't noticed- Shakespeare is kind of my guy, I did quite hugely miss just reading whatever, whenever. 

Of course, now I have the time to do that I'm doing all sorts of other things instead, but THAT'S NOT THE POINT. 

Anyway. I did read some- the first three and a half Harry Potter books being a notable example- and this post is an attempt to just suuuper briefly examine some feels about those books, get everything up to date (because I feel weird not logging like every single book I read here) so I can give proper actual blogging a real go again. Yay hobbies! So. *puts on glasses that are always on, examines reading diary* Let's begin!

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I got Yes Please for Christmas last year, started reading it basically as soon as I got it, and it still took me until the end of February to finish it. This is not supposed to indicate the quality of the book, which is great, but to illustrate the severe lack of time I've had to read things EVEN WRITTEN BY MY FAVOURITE PEOPLE. Dammit, William... Anyway. This was good! There are parts of it that are excellent, parts of it that were maybe slightly less exciting, but I enjoyed it, it was a joy to read and if you like Amy Poehler at all then you're probably going to want to read it/have already done so!

Gosh, these are going to be so insightful, huh..?

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
I'm not saying I had to wikipedia the entire plot of this novel, but I did have to do exactly that. This isn't entirely because this novel was maybe a little bit forgettable (although... Sorry, Haruki!) but more because I think I read it over the course of a few train journeys, so I probably didn't even take it in properly as I was reading it. This is a mini-Murakami, more of a novella than a big ole novel, and although there are obviously a few elements of strangeness, it's a remarkably 'straight' Murakami novel. It's kind of about deep attachments to people that never really go away, about compromising on a life that you may have hoped had gone differently, and about wanting things that you can't, or shouldn't, really have. And, it's Murakami so I liked it quite a lot, in spite of the weird sex descriptions and seriously dude, can you cut that out please?

Blue Nights by Joan Didion
I read Blue Nights not long after South of the Border, West of the Sun; and I'm just remembering that this little burst of reading came in between the time when my nan died and the time when my grandad died, when I felt capable of reading again and was coming to the end of the taught part of my MA and realising I perhaps didn't need to do as much reading for that as I'd thought I did... (excellent student right here, wut wut!) But anyway. Blue Nights is almost a companion piece to The Year of Magical Thinking, which Didion wrote after her husband's death, only this was written after the death of her daughter less than two years later. I wasn't unmoved by it, but rather than a memoir of Didion's coping with grief, this is much more of a celebration of her daughter's life rather than a memoir of Didion's grief, which, we can assume, is beyond words anyway. I actually had a few issues with this book, namely Didion's denial of her daughter's massive privilege in the world (like, seriously. White rich people. There's always privilege) but it's difficult to be mad at it when the topic is so sad, and when the writing is so beautiful. I didn't exactly *love* this, but it didn't stop me from wanting to read all the Didion in the world, essentially.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
After Dark was good! It's another little Murakami book (novellas have been my friends this last year) and is set over the course of the evening. There's a sense of danger running throughout the whole book, maybe because of the nighttime setting or maybe just because of the prostitute who nearly gets beaten to death, but the entire book fills you with a sense of unease, as well as displaying the kind of friendships that fall together for one night only and then fall apart again as soon as the sun comes up. I can't entirely remember what happened at the end of this one, again because I am TERRIBLE, but that doesn't mean it's not worth you reading and telling me what happens at the end...

No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
I bought this when it was a Kindle Daily Deal purely because I think the title is so excellent and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This is a book of short stories and I don't feel like too much of a douche when I describe them as remarkable. The experience I had reading these stories was one where I felt completely and totally understood by another person, where, even if I didn't directly relate to the experiences of the characters, I still knew exactly how they felt. July writes about loneliness, about feeling out of place and out of step with the world, about things you didn't know you felt until they were written down in front of you and you had to stop for a bit because suddenly someone was writing about you and it creeped you out a bit.

Um. Yeah. I really really incredibly enthusiastically recommend this book, except that I feel a little bit breathless doing so because they sort of are me and I don't want you to not like them. But even if you don't, I guess I still will, so everything is fine.

Here endeth the first round of summarising posts, didn't we all have fun?! Now that I've done this and it was easier than I was expecting, I have grand plans- for a 'comic books I have read' post, a few Shakespeare posts (obvs) and I think a Shakespeare offshoots, and Shakespeare comic books post. THIS IS SO EXCITING, I'M BACK YOU GUYS!

1 comment:

  1. YAY to being back! Though it would be pretty great if blogs had tumbleweeds that blew across them if they went a certain amount of time without any new content. When you write to blogspot, tell them I'm behind this idea as well.