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April, where did you go?? Winter is creeping closer over here in Australia, and I suspect these Reading Roundups are only going to get chunkier as the cool weather rolls in. Is there anything better than books and tea when the temperature drops? No, I don’t think so either!
Full disclosure – I love Philip Pullman. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the His Dark Materials trilogy had a greater impact on me than almost anything else I read in my teenage years. As I said last month, getting the chance to slip back into Pullman’s world was like curling up with a blanket and a cup of tea on a cold day. Meeting younger versions of beloved characters (no spoilers) made my heart ache in the way that I think only another book nerd can truly understand.
That being said – La Belle Sauvage left me a little disappointed. Where the Dark Materials trilogy was based in a strong sense of reality despite it’s fantastical elements, La Belle Sauvage is a little more fairy-tale like. I also felt like there were some inconsistencies with the world that has already been established that pulled me out of the book whenever they cropped up. If pressed, I would say that this first installment in Pullman’s new trilogy feels more childlike than his previous works – I’m intrigued to see where he takes it next.
Unlike most people, I’ve managed to avoid Gillian Flynn so far in my reading career. While Gone Girl has been on my radar, I’ve never quite made it far enough to actually give it a read. So when my second Book Club (that’s right, somehow I have a second book club now- is that even legal?) suggested Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, I was all on board. Would I be so on board to read a second book of hers now? I’m not so sure.
Sharp Objects was Flynn’s debut novel, and centres around Camille Preaker – a small-time news journalist who has been sent back to her small home town to cover a series of brutal murders. Right from the start, I found this book relentless. I haven’t read a lot of crime fiction, so it could be a trademark of the genre, but Sharp Objects is an absolutely brutal read. The characters are almost uniformly unlikeable, and the town of Wind Gap is the stuff of horror stories. While I’ve never really felt the need to immerse myself in the sex lives of thirteen year olds, now I really think I’ve read enough to last me a life time. There’s enough intrigue to carry the story through, but I feel reasonably confident in saying that this is a genre that’s not really suited for me.
Have you read Sharp Objects? What did you think?
Another road trip, another Terry Pratchett book! After introducing me to The Hog Father a few years ago, the Boy now insists on another Pratchett novel any time we drive anywhere- Guards! Guards! was his choice for this trip. Apparently the eighth book in the Discworld series (do I sound like I know what I’m talking about?), Guards! Guards! follows the journey of Carrot Ironfoundersson as he goes to join the ill reputed City Watch, and their attempts to overthrow the dragon that has mysteriously appeared in Ankh-Morpork. As always, the writing is vaguely ridiculous and frequently delightful – particularly for those who read a lot of fantasy and are familiar with the tropes. It also features a few of my characters (I will forever love the Orangutan Librarian), and my new favourite Pratchett quote-
“A good bookshop is just a genteel Black Hole that knows how to read.”
If you’ve never read any Pratchett before, I highly recommend starting with my favourite of his works – Good Omens. If that one has you chuckling into your teacup, then Guards! Guards! might be a good place to head next!
I’m determined not the let this one fall off my WIP list! I was doing so well with this hefty tome of a book, and then I got distracted with something lighter and am struggling to get back into the swing of things. Don’t be distressed, Sydney – I’m still coming for you!
Another month, another book in the Rivers of London series on my Audible subscription. While Rivers Under Ground does feature the single worst example of an American accent that I’ve ever heard, narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith makes up for it by nailing every one of the other diverse voices in the series. I don’t even really need to say how much I continue to enjoy the series at this point – keep your eyes peeled next month for a more complete review!
What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!
You can check out some of my earlier Reading Roundups here: