Sunday 15 February 2015

Reading Journal #5: February So Far...

It all went a bit quiet here last week, mainly because I returned to work after nine months on maternity leave.  That was always going to be a shock to the system, but I also returned to a slightly different role, so I had lots of new things to get used to as well.  Thankfully Giles has taken the change very well, and has still been happy, which has made it a bit easier.  I am still reading in the evenings, but at a much slower pace, as I often have to work instead once Giles has gone to bed.

The first book I picked up in February was Robert Jordan's The Fires of Heaven, the fifth book in the epic Wheel of Time series.  This one is a real chunker too, coming in at roughly 1000 pages and I have to say that I felt the length in this installment.  I still loved the fantasy world and particularly the magic system, but I found myself getting a bit bored with the cliches and repetition that weighed the story down.  Jordan appears to equate strong women with argumentative, stubborn women, and this became tiring.  Stock phrases were repeated one too many times, and I have to admit that I was glad to finish this one.  I still want to continue on with the series, but I'll need a good break before I pick up the next one.
After this, I turned to Cannery Row by John Steinbeck.  It was my third Steinbeck and it was a grower.  At first, I didn't think I liked it, but by half way through I was enjoying it.  However, I only really appreciated and loved it after finishing and reflecting on it, which can happen sometimes. I've written a full review of this one, which you can read here.  Cannery Row left me in the mood for something else equally literary, so I picked up Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, from my Project 1001 list.  Dangarembga is a Zimbabwean author, and Nervous Conditions is a wonderful coming of age story that focuses on feminism and the effects of colonisation.  It was so good it deserves a full review, which I will hopefully get a chance to write soon.  Please ignore the dreadful cover - a book as good as this deserves a much less misleading one.

And that leads up to my current reading situation, in the middle of three books.  On audio, I've almost finished China Dolls by Lisa See, a book I was looking forward to, but which has turned out to be very disappointing.  My non-fiction pick is Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre, a scary account of the power of the pharmaceutical industry, and fiction-wise I'm about a third of the way through Zadie Smith's NW, which is fantastic.  It's half term next week, so I'm hoping to finish all of these and maybe start something new as well.  
What have you been reading recently?


  1. I hope the transition of going back to work gets easier for you especially after having been home for a couple of months :) I've been reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and i am enjoying that a lot.

  2. I'm so glad you're back to work, doing that amazing teaching that you do! I'm really proud and happy, and I send you a huge hug across the Channel. You know where to find me x

  3. You're reading a lot of good books! Glad to hear that you are settling in well after returning to work! I'm glad that the reading is also going great. I am looking forward to hearing more abotu Nervous Conditions - it sounds good!

  4. I read Zadie Smith's White Teeth but I have so many of her other books still to read! I hope to hear your thoughts about NW when you finish it. :)

  5. I'm not reading anything currently, having just finished New Grub Street by George Gissing and it was messing with my mood a bit.

    p/s: I think the Cannery Row cover is quite nice actually.

  6. I've read The Wheel of Time series so much that I think I can quote whole pages from them. I love them, and I'm not a huge fan of most fantasy anymore, but I do love this series.