Hol

Hi everyone,

 

I thought a blog would be a great way to exchange book recommendations as I love reading and writing reviews. I've also started putting pen to paper, and have recently completed a creative writing course. Maybe you'll be reading one of my books down the line!?

 

If you want to share about what you're reading, or anything at all for that matter, let loose and go for it!

Reading progress update: I've read 27%.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami

Okay, this war story has actually turned out to be pretty good. I stand corrected.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami

I love this book, but I'm getting a little bored of the war story, although it has taken a more interesting turn.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

How to Stop Time - Matt Haig

The library didn’t have the book I wanted, so I picked up How To Stop Time instead. I started reading a Matt Haig novel before, The Humans, but for some reason it didn’t work for me. I can’t remember what it was as it was so long ago, but I’m glad I gave the author another try.

 

The story's about a man named Tom who has a condition which means he doesn’t age like the rest of us. His ageing process is very slow, taking hundreds of years and as such he’s been alive for a very long time.

 

The novel works in alternate chapters, some set in the past, like the time period when he knew Shakespeare and met his first and only love, Rose. Other chapters are set in the present, where he’s living a new life as a history teacher in London. As you would have probably gathered Tom is an excellent history teacher as he’s actually witnessed the events he teaches his students about, although he can’t tell them that.

 

There’s another story which weaves it’s way through the narrative and that is Tom searching for his long lost daughter who also has his condition and ages at a slower rate. Mixed up with this is a society which deals with his kind and organises for them to take on a new identity every eight years when suspicions begin to mount concerning their lack of ageing.

 

The story was good fun, being a fantasy-laced contemporary. Mostly it was plot-driven which is where it fell a little flat for me. I’m the kind-of reader who loves a good dose of character with my plot and I felt this was a bit lacking. While we got to know extensively about Tom’s life, he remained a bit of an enigma for me and as such wasn’t fully formed. There was also a good bit more telling than showing for my taste, as well.

 

How To Stop Time was a love story at its core, with a solid understanding of the human condition. While I did enjoy it, all the elements weren’t there for me. Saying that, I can definitely see myself reading more from this author as his stories have a fun-factor which I really enjoyed.

Bout of Books Day 6

It's the last day of bout of books. Unfortunately I was sick and haven't contributed to the challenges, but I still managed to read a whole book, The Remains of The Day, something that I've wanted to get to for a long time. I'm usually an even slower reader and don't manage one book in a week, so to me bout of books has been a success. I'm not sure if I'd do a readathon again, though, as I'm just too slow of a reader to be cut out for them :) I'm just not in the mood to try and finish Love In The Time Of Cholera, so I challenged myself today to get as close to the halfway mark in The Wind-up Bird Chronicles. I'm absolutely loving the book. There's something very addictive about Murakami's writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 99%.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

I don't think I'll ever think of bantering in quite the same way. What a book. I didn't like all of it, but I appreciated virtually every word.

Reading progress update: I've read 96%.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

I do not think I responded immediately, for it took me a moment or two to fully digest these words of Miss Kenton. Moreover, as you might appreciate, their implications were such as to provoke a certain degree of sorrow within me. Indeed - why should I not admit it? - at that moment, my heart was breaking.

 

At last.

Reading progress update: I've read 90%.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

'But you care about his lordship. You care deeply, you just told me that. If you care about his lordship, shouldn't you be concerned? At least a little curious? The British Prime Minister and the German Ambassador are brought together for secret talks in the night and you're not even curious?'

 

'I would not say I am not curious, sir. However, it is not my position to display curiosity in such matters.'

 

This guy won't display one iota of emotion! It's maddening! But will he by the end? I can't wait to find out. 

Reading progress update: I've read 43%.

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

"Stevens, are you all right?"

"Yes,  sir. Perfectly."

"You look as though you're crying."

 

 

My heart is breaking for Stevens right now. So very sad.

Bout of Books

The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles - Haruki Murakami

Bout of Books begins today and these are the three books I'm attempting to read/listen to/finish.

 

I started the audio version of The Remains of the Day earlier while I was getting ready to go out. It's something I've wanted to read for so long and I'm excited about.

 

I also started Love in the Time of Cholera last week, so I took a note of what page I started with today and will add it to my final tally.

 

Lastly, I've got The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, which I started on Saturday. I was originally thinking of picking short books for Bout of Books so I could get through as many as possible, but I then I thought, why not just keep a page count instead? Plus, The Remains of the Day is a short book and I've already read almost half of Love in the Time of Cholera, so I think I'll get through those two. It's just the Murakami that I think I might struggle with as it's 663 pages! I'll give it a try, anyway, and in the unlikely event that I finish all three books, I plan to start Hannah Kent's most recent book, The Good People.

 

The challenge today is to introduce myself in six words today, so here it is: I'm Holly, I'm Irish, I write.

Books...

Reading progress update: I've read 103 out of 348 pages.

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

I'm really rather surprised at Fermina. After 3-4 years that's it!? I'm starting to really enjoy this novel.

Public Library by Ali Smith

Public Library and Other Stories - Ali Smith

I’m not going to write a long review for Public Library as I posted my thoughts as I read the individual stories, but I’ll give you my overall impression.

 

Funnily enough I picked up Public Library when I was in the library. It’s a short story collection and my first encounter, but definitely not my last, with Ali Smith.

 

This collection was seemingly put together in protest of the under funding of our public services, here in the UK. Since 2008 the country has been the subject of austerity and libraries are suffering hugely because of it. Either their funding is being cut or they’re shutting down. Interspersed between each story is a real account of how libraries have affected individuals. I liked these snippets as they helped to remind the reader what the collection was really all about.

 

Because I haven’t previously read any of Ms Smiths books I can’t comment on whether or not this collection was a good example of her work, but I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my first encounter with her. I loved the whimsical style, her frequent rumination and depicting of words and her ability to really see inside of a situation. I was particularly impressed with how she can craft a story from a fragment of an event and shape it until it really means something.

 

I liked some stories better than others, particularly the first one about a disabled woman stranded on a train. The last one was very memorable as well, where she likened a friend who had died to a stolen piece of art.

 

Even though there are some stories I will likely not remember in time, the collection as a whole created an impression on me and I’m eager to read more of her work.

Reading progress update: I've read 54 out of 348 pages.

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

Really starting to enjoy this and looking forward to finding out how the love affair between our two protagonists began.

Reading progress update: I've read 512 out of 512 pages.

Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness - Jon Kabat-Zinn

An excellent book describing the way in which you can utilise mindfulness to deal with stress. I highly recommend anything by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His style is very accessible.

Reading progress update: I've read 14 out of 348 pages.

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman

A man who committed suicide left a lengthy letter that we are yet to find out the contents of. I'm very intrigued already.

Friday Reads

Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness - Jon Kabat-Zinn

I was alerted to Friday reads by Char and thought I'd join in.

 

Today I'm starting Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for my RL book club that meets in a few weeks. The book catalogue doesn't seem to have the other one I'm reading, Done by Jacques Peretti, a non-fiction book about the secret business deals being done that are shaping our world. I'm also listening to Full Catastrophe Living, which is a mindfulness book.  I've nearly finished it and it's been excellent. 

Currently reading

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami
Progress: 27%
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Progress: 100%
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, Edith Grossman
Progress: 103/348pages
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Progress: 512/512pages