Letters to Autumn 10

Letters to Autumn 10

Dear Autumn,

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this before, I truly can’t remember. I know I’ve talked about the fact that I hate not finishing books in a general sense, but this? Not too sure.

But anyway, you know what I’ve only just recently accepted as being a perfectly fine thing to do?

Pick up a book, realise a few pages/chapters/whatever in that it’s not that book’s time, put it back down and move on.

I have soldiered through many a book that I just wasn’t meshing with it in a strange hope that it will reach a turning point and somehow get better.

At that moment in time it almost never does and then I just find myself kind of never wanting to read another book again. Which in turns feels a little bit detrimental for my desire to just do all the reading, so it leaves me feeling a little bit useless, which is not what you want from something that actually brings you quite a bit of joy.

Anyway, something in me finally clicked this year, maybe it’s the fact that I’m actively trying to read the most of amount of books in a year than I have before (it’s defo that), and now I feel perfectly just accepting that I’m not vibing with a book at that moment in time and then I move on.

If you look at my Goodreads sidebar it will tell you that I am ‘currently reading’ a lot of books. That’s a lie. I’m not really reading any of them bar the Gay ones. I’ve been ‘currently reading’ Don Juan and Hamilton all year apparently, that’s fake news, I’ve just not changed the shelf.

And I feel perfectly fine about it. I wouldn’t have been as much as a year ago, but now? It just makes sense.

I’m currently reading Bad Feminist, which a collection of essays. I got 120 pages in and realised that I kind of wanted to sit with a narrative for a bit. So I paused Bad Feminist and picked up Vox which hit the spot.

And I’ll go back to the essays soon. I was enjoying the book, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t want reading what is actually quite thought provoking stuff to turn into a chore. So I pressed pause and finished a book instead taking me one step closer to my final goal for the year.

It’s actually quite a freeing way to read in the end. I try to call it within 100 pages because otherwise it feels like too much of an investment to have made with no pay off. There  have only been a few exceptions to this, and those are when I was reading the last book in the Rebel series because I’d been with it for so long that I kind of just wanted out of it. And it happened also by the time I hit War Storm. I needed to not be in that world anymore, it made an already long books feel longer, but I knew if I lost momentum with them both then I’d have been unlikely to pick it back up again, which would have been annoying.

But yeah, this new approach has changed the game for me. I’m legit lowkey annoyed at myself for not accepting that it was perfectly fine thing to do sooner.

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 37 – Fight Club

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I’ve got another book for you today. It’s what I do, I read books then I write about them. This book also helped me pass time while I waited for Vengeful to arrive (which I won’t write about until November).

I have gone pretty much my entire life (since my teen years) knowing that the first and second rule of fight club s that you don’t talk about fight club and that Brad Pitt just looks some kind of way in the film. I’ve never watched it and until last week I hadn’t read it either.

Given that I’ve crossed one of them off my list, I can now move to cross the other off as well.

2018 Reading Challenge, Book 39 - Fight Club
2018 Reading Challenge, Book 39 – Fight Club

But back to the book.

I remain kind of surprised by how much I actually like Palahniuk’s work. For some reason in my head he falls into the same category as Bukowski. But he doesn’t. I actually kind of like him.

Look sometimes his writing style is erratic as hell, but in the context of this book that actually kind of makes sense, but still. Sometimes I just got so lost in the train of thought it kind of made my head hurt.

In a good way.

I enjoyed this book. I got through it relatively quickly. Actually I say ‘enjoy’ I don’t really know if that is quite the word that I’d use, but I liked it I guess.

It was brutal. Not even some of the time, but like, all of the time. The more lost he got in his own head the more brutal it got. Which to be honest I found impressive because it was pretty brutal from the get go.

There is not a single character in this book has any redeemable features. They continued to level up in the depths of awfulness that they could reach. It was impressive.

I will say that I knew the plot twist and so it wasn’t new to me but the moment where it was revealed was so well done. It was so messy yet so clear and everything just kind of clicked into place. Then it got brutal in a different way.

The whole narrative blended and confused everything between Tyler and the protagonist (who’s name I thought I just couldn’t remember, but turns out its hardly mentioned, and by hardly I mean it wasn’t) to make them seem separate but then once it’s revealed that Tyler is a figment it throws the rest of the book into a totally different light. I love shit like that.

I kind of knew that I would like this book (even when I got the style of writing confused with someone else…) because I liked Choke and this book did prove to be something that I did like. And it was a quick read, gotta love that. The ending confused the hell out of me, but whatever.

(Listen, this book is also hella problematic and I’m not ignoring that, but also contextually, it was kind of supposed to be awful. It’s supposed to show how depraved and fucked up the human psyche and human beings can be and it succeeded. I could write essays on how problematic it is, but it’s a well written and I can’t deny that.)

3/5 stars

Parentheses count: 5. See you tomorrow!

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 36 – The Uncommon Type

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So I finished another book. It feels like it’s been a while, but it hasn’t. It has however been a while since I started reading this book.

It was threatening to send me into some kind of slump and so I went on a V.E Schwab thing instead and also I’m kind of waiting for Vengeful to drop and I need books to fill that time. Finishing this book felt like a good place to start.

So Tom Hanks can write. Like really well. I enjoyed his style of writing. He managed to encapsulate so much in his short stories. I like the way that he played with form at some points, I particularly enjoyed his articles. I also liked that there was a running theme of typewriters throughout. It felt like a nice thread throughout them all.

I will say that some worked better than others. A few of them felt like they dragged on for longer than was really necessary and it was that which threatened to send me straight into a reading slump and I am just luck that I had some stuff in the locker to keep me from falling into that completely. And then, when I did come back to it it was with a renewed enjoyment for it.

I liked the fact that he returned to some characters throughout and now each story revealed something new about those characters each time. I especially enjoyed the last story that involved them and the fact that the stories that opened and closed the book included them. It felt very tidy.

That’s honestly the word that I’d use to describe this book the most. It was tidy. Obviously it’s a book of short stories and so there would have to be a level of things being succinct in order to work, but these were very tidy. Some of them managed to pack a real punch in those tidy little stories.

Like I said, some went on too long (it was actually maybe only one, but it felt like it went on for hours). I mentioned it earlier, but this book played with form. The screenplay felt like it went on for a bit (so there were two) and to be honest I still don’t really know what happened. I liked the articles the most because they were short and snappy. They were also the funniest of them I found.

The stories in here varied a lot. It was hard to get bored (except those two times that I did) because each one has something else to offer and there are some really great stories in there.

Hanks surprised me as a writer. And I love a theme. Especially a typewriter theme it turns out.

I would recommend this books to be honest. I couldn’t say that I would recommend them all, but there are some really great ones in there. Hanks got skills.

3/5 stars

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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This or That Book Tag

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We all know how much I love a tag and I’ve lost track of which ones I have and haven’t done. However I saw this over on Joie’s blog and it didn’t look familiar so here it is.

Series or Standalone?
I start way too many damn series’ for me to pretend that I prefer standalones. Don’t get me wrong, I do. They stress me out less and save me money, but I love a series so much. I lover getting to sit with characters and watch them develop over time.

Magic Earned or Magic Born?
Let me tell you how much I love reading about people not realising that they possess some kind of magical powers but finding out over the course of the book that there is something gong on with them. So as such, magic born.

Enemies-to-Lovers or Friends-to-Lovers?
Enemies to lovers. I hate it when friends can’t just stay friends, that happens sometimes people just remain friends throughout everything. I’d like to see that happen more…so enemies to lovers, that’s more interesting. And also, not something I think I’ve read that much.

Hilarious Banter or Emotional Ruin?
I like a little bit of both sometimes. Mostly hilarious banter, but sometimes emotional ruin is really satisfying.

Love Triangle or Insta Love?
I hate both. I hate both so much. But, if a love triangle is done well that it can be brilliant and it doesn’t make me want to gauge my eyes out. Insta love will most likely always drive me insane, just breathe a little bit.

Keyboard-Smash Fantasy Names or All Names Start With the Same letter?
I am interested as to how far you could go with all the names starting with one letter. It feels like it could be fun.

Mean Parents or Dead Parents?
It’s harsh, but dead. Mean ones are just excessive. I mean it can work in some situations, but in others it just feels awful to read.

Supermodel Looks or Constantly Says How ‘Plain’ They Are?
I hate it when characters are described as plain and then it’s somehow supposed to be a miracle that they can do x, y or z. Why does it matter? Why must it constantly be mentioned? I mean the other option isn’t much better. There needs to be a middle ground.

Face on Covers or Typography on Cover?
Typography to be honest, or some kind of graphic. Unless it’s a movie cover I tend to prefer it when they are kind of a blank cover. I am a total sucker for a pretty cover, give them all to me. The prettier the better.

Villain Turning A Little Good or Hero Turning A Little Bad?
Villain turning a little good all day every day. I am such a weird sucker for that, give it to me always.

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

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I am not big on re-reading. I literally don’t do it. I read a book, sit with it for a little bit and then move on to the next one. It’s not thats books don’t stick with me enough that I want to re-visit them and have them reveal new things to me, it’s that when I go to read something again I’m just worried about all the new things that I’m not reading.

So I don’t re-read. Not unless I originally did not finish the book and am trying again so need to remember what the hell is going on. However for some reason a part of me has been thinking about all the books that I kind of want to read again because they keep playing on the back of my mind and the urge is getting stronger and stronger.

So these are the books that I’m itching to re-read.

Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Yes, really. I’ve been like super in my Harry Potter feelings recently and for some reason they are starting to drive me slowly insane. I have all the books just sitting next to my bed (this includes a box set of the normal ones, 3 illustrated ones and the first two in Hufflepuff editions, oh and the box set is still in the cellophane…) and so it kind of feels inevitable. I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now, next year might be the year.

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

I think about the opening line of this book often. Also it’s a murder mystery, so I feel like once you eliminate having to figure that out I feel like it’s going to reveal new depths to me that I just didn’t see before. There were already so many layers to it on the first read, I can only imagine what another would do.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

We all know how I feel about this book. I’ve only read it once from start to finish. I have re-read the Circus parts, but the rest of it remains somewhat of a mystery. Not in a legit sense, but in some kind of way. This book is so beautiful and I love it so much and I want to go back into the world that was created.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

This book broke my heart multiple times and it never really put it back together again. But it’s such a great book and again one of those books that just has so much to reveal that I want to get involved in.

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

I mean there are so many books on here that are also on the books I’ll always recommend post that I wrote. It’s probably not a coincidence. I love those books, I got that from one read which says all you need to know. This one made me view London in a totally different way and I loved the way it took things that I knew well and tilted them some way. I loved Richard and his journey.  I would love to go back to it and do it all over again.

Those are the books that feel most pressing when it comes to wanting to re-read them. It has also just dawned on me that I also own multiple copies of all but one of these books…oops.

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 35 – A Darker Shade of Magic

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I have been putting off this review because when I think about this book I become acutely aware of the fact that I do not own the other books in this series and I want them. No, I need them.

This story remains very unfinished and I need to know what it is going to happen. However, for now I do not have them and so I just have to make my peace with that.

If it wasn’t obvious, I very much enjoyed this book.

I love anything that is set in London and this one had 4 (kinda) and they were layered. Literally.

And they were all so glorious and all had their own stakes and I am just very much in love with the whole world and the way that magic weaves throughout them all and how it’s stronger in some places than others and all that jazz. I loved the fact that Holland and Kell were a rare breed and how they were kind of against each other but because they were effectively kin they had to kind of orbit one another.

Their kind of friendship that wasn’t necessarily a friendship was one of my favourite things about this book. The relationship between them was so complicated and the way that they were kind of two halves of the same coin but one was taken in by the family and the other was bound to them. The way that they circled each other throughout trying to battle with this new element of magic that is just thrown into there.

Kell was a great character to live with for a little bit. He was so complex and had so much depth that has only just begun to be explored. I kind of wanted to know a bit more about his relationship with his ‘brother’ before Kell tethered himself because it just kind of didn’t feel like something that had a lot of roots in it before it happened. However I am excited to know how that will play out moving forward because there is no way it ain’t coming to bite him.

Delilah was such a great character. I loved her from the get go. She was such a badass and also hella mysterious which I loved. The relationship that she formed with Kell sure was something and the slow way that developed was great. I also loved getting to see the Londons through her eyes because she was seeing them for the first time too and that perspective was kind of lost when it was from Kell’s POV because he was just so used to them. I loved how she came into her own over the course and the narrative and the way that she interacted with magic. She was the perfect partner to Kell throughout this and it was such a well developed duo.

I liked how the story was so contained and yet also felt high stake. And also those Twins. Damn, those twins. They were such great villains especially because they were almost like the unseen shark for a lot of it and then they came out of the woodwork being so delightfully dark and twisted. It was brutal towards the end and it was everything that I could have hoped for and more.

I picked this book up because I had a feeling that it would be right up my street and it was and I am happy that it was. It was just the perfect combination of everything that I wanted it to be and more. And look, I really don’t know how long I’m gonna hold out with not buying the rest of the books…

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 1. See you on Monday!

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Bonus Book Review – Vicious

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These reviews are coming out of the order that I read them in, mainly because I cannot get my brain to form words when it comes to the other one, and also the more I think about it the harder it gets to convince myself that I don’t need the second book in the series.

This one is less hard to talk about because I know that the second one is on its way into my life at some point later this month.

The book I am talking about is Vicious.

I loved  this book. It was everything that I hoped it would be and more. Which is odd because I don’t really think I had any expectations when it came to this book because I had none. I bought it because the cover was pretty as fuck.

Then I read the blurb and was like ‘damn, it’s superhero-y’. But also it’s called the Villains series and so my interest was very much piqued.

The structure of this book gave me life. I love things that aren’t necessarily chronological. Don’t get me wrong, I love an A-B, but also give me a well written non-chronological timeline. This had that in abundance. I loved the contrasts that this created and how it weaved all together into the ending.

Which I am going to get to first (kind of, I guess structure was first). The ending. I am still low key kind of reeling from that ending. It was just so perfect. (Also, this applies to the actual ending pages of this book, but I’m mostly still reeling from the second to last chapter). You know throughout the whole narrative that you are dealing with two men who are very intelligent, like intelligent enough to know how to kill themselves and then bring themselves back to life (with the help of someone else), however there is a part of you that kind of doubts that Victor does have any idea what his plan actually is when it comes to Eli, especially when you throw into the equation Serena who basically has the whole town under her control and on Eli’s side. However, when that plan comes together, my God. I am obsessed. It was just so clever. Victor managed to hit him where it hurt and I lived for it.

Victor himself was great. The way that he almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy in his villain status because Eli had positioned himself as a ‘hero’. He was so complicated as a character because he wasn’t a nice guy. Like really, he wasn’t. The ego on him was insane and ultimately his downfall in the start. It was hard not to root for him and I like it so much when there is something so intrinsically not good about someone, but they are the better of two evils. Give me an anti-hero.

And give me a villain who thinks he a hero. Seriously. I didn’t even hate Eli, I found him fascinating. I found that God complex of his so fascinating. He was so complicated and I was just fascinated by the way that he worked and the fact that Victor could read him like a damn book. His ‘superhero’ origin story was just so deliciously twisted and I lived for it. His self righteousness and the position that he thought he deserved and had ‘earned’ and the hypocrisy on him was just so good I can’t quite put it into words how much I enjoyed. And his ending. My gosh his ending. The full circle moment of it all.

I loved Sydney and Serena. The way that they circled around each other. The way that they were somehow intrinsically entwined with one another throughout. They were crucial and they were the perfect representation of what happens depending on the people who surround you. I also loved the relationship that Sydney and Victor had and how it completely contrasted the Eli and Serena one.

Special shout out to Mitch for apparently owning a large part of my soul because when Serena started working her magic and I almost thought it was going to end badly I felt some kind of way. Which I should have seen coming because when I thought he died the first time I also felt some kind of way. Mitch was such a tragic backstory in the end and I also liked how loyal he was to Victor. I thought it would be to his detriment but it turned out not to be.

I could keep going on about all the layers to this books. Rewriting narratives, going more into the God complex, the notion of EOs in general, Schwab’s slight fascination with what could be in reach beyond death (I only thought about that as I was writing the City of Ghosts review when I remembered that Cassie kind of died and then came back seeing ghosts). The list goes on and on. I just have a lot of feelings about it all because I loved it so much.

I am so happy that I don’t have to wait too long for the next book because I am so fascinated by these characters and where the story is going.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is the best kind of story, with the best kind of storytelling and it’s just so good. So good. I love.

4/5 stars

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

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