Thursday, 1 March 2018

What I Read: February


One of my goals for this year is to hit a rather challenging reading target of 50 books within the year. Writing this down again actually sounds quite terrifying, however i suppose that's around 1 book per week and i have got myself into a really good routine with my audiobooks on my commute (a lovely 2 hours per day!) and also reading in bed as i wind down from a busy day with a book and tea.

As i'm reading so much, i thought it would be great to share what i've been reading with you each month and what better place to start that 1st March, which also happens to be World Book Day! So i've taken this as a sign and have looked back on the books i read last month...

1. The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch (***)
This was one of my ebook downloads from the library app at the beginning of the month. I was really intrigued by the future-apocalyptic concept, as i had really gotten into the Wool trilogy a couple of years ago. It's description sets the scene as world wars having transformed the earth, the world changed with a cult leader and a group of rebels uniting under a female heroine to dismantle his rule. I was intrigued. Even moreso upon reading that the book "raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival." I mean seriously, i had no idea what this book was going to be about! And honestly, having finished this a couple weeks ago, i still don't! It's one of those books that i feel like i should've liked it more, that i should've got some higher meaning from the feminist leads. I did really root for the women. I wanted Joan to kick De Men's ass. I wanted them to win. There were definitely chapters which had me hooked and wanting to know more, and some that stretched my mind, but there were equally as many i wished i could skip. This is a book that requires you to have an open mind, but for anyone who enjoys a feminist read and sci-fi, this could be for you!

2. Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell (****)
I'd read some amazing reviews on this book and was really excited to finally read it. I really wasn't too sure what to expect, a book "for a new breed of women who are here to be bright lights in the world". But in a year where it feels like equality is taking a stand and women have a stronger voice than before, it was high on my reading list for this year. When i reflect on this book, it's hard to put into words what i learnt and what exactly it was about but it dawned on me just now, it's left me with a feeling. And that feeling really is like a little light, a little more empowerment and a little more confidence that i'm on the right path. So that's gotta be a good thing!

3. The Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton (*****)
I have a confession. I'm completely addicted to the Agatha Raisin books! They are the perfect companion on my commute home on audio. If you haven't read any of them before, Agatha is a former PR big-wig who's now retired and move to a quiet Cotswold village but her rather brash personality is forever getting her in trouble. And close to a murder investigation or two! It'd been a little while since i last listened to one of the series, and perhaps that's why i loved this one so much. All the characters coming back into my life, popping by Agatha's for a very British cup off tea, was nothing short of delightful whilst heading back down the M1 in the dark on gloomy February evenings. It also made me laugh out loud several times, i mean who knew village garden shows were such high stakes? Now just to wait for Book 5 to come off reserve...

4. The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young (*****)
So i love animals. I'm one of those people who cannot walk by a cat in the street without desperately trying to get it's attention with those really loud kissy noises, or be anywhere near rabbits without wanting a cuddle. I heard about this book through a friend, and it's based on anecdotes from Rosamund's farm, where she's spent years observing the personalities of the cows, sheep, pigs and hens that have lived there. And oh my gosh, it is fascinating! Who knew cows like to play games? Or make friends for life at a young age? Or babysit for each other? Or could be so caring, intelligent and funny? It's a really interesting book and gives a delightful look into the lives of cows that we don't see everyday. I'll be completely honest I've also read some criticism of the book's author as telling stories of intelligent and caring animals, whilst still having a farm which sells them for dairy/meat...whilst part of me does agree with this, it really doesn't take away how much i enjoyed reading this book.

If you've ready any of these books i'd love to know what you thought of them too!

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