Last year I made a resolution to not buy new books. I could borrow from friends or the library, buy from car boots sales and charity shops but that was it. A good plan I thought, especially as I do tend to spend a lot of money on books, however the problem with this plan is you only really get a certain type of book, lots of Bridget Jones' Diary, The Da Vinci code and more copies of Tony Parson's work then I care to remember. This year I scraped that rule and here is what I've been reading this month:
1. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
You may well suspect this is a book aimed at 9 - 12 year olds, and well yes you'd be absolutely right, but don't let that put you off. Katy my friend of almost 14 years now (gulp), and ex-colleague from the Waterstone's era lent me this book. 97% of the time Katy recommends great books (End of the Affair, and Persuasion aside, sorry Katy) and this is one of them! I seem to remember kid's books being quite patronising when I was young, so much so that it put me off reading and it wasn't until I started doing my A-Levels that this started to change so it is great to read a kid's book that is funny, sarcastic and doesn't have flaky, boring female main characters. Skulduggery is a skeleton who happens to also be a detective and the series of books follow him on his adventures in a completely non-Harry Potter magical way.
2. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
In my last 'month of reading' post I asked for recommendations as I was running low on inspiration and my cousin suggested anything by Haruki Murakami. I'd already read Norwegian Wood back when I was at uni and really enjoyed it so I don't really know why it has taken me so long and a prompt from my cousin to read more. Reading the first chapter it struck me how cinematic the writing was and how easy it was to imagine the story, as I read from chapter two onward Murakami begins to describe scenes from the camera's point of view so my first interpretation of the writing really hadn't been far off. This isn't a happy novel, nor overly bleak just an exploration of the good and the bad, the mundane and the violent, loneliness and companionship. I will certainly be reading more of Murakami's books now that I remember how good they are (dur).
Both of these books are completely my thing and definitely what I would choose to read (again both lent to me by Katy) but my concentration span at the moment is virtually nil. I tried reading both of these but either the size of the novel (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell) or the density of the text (Street Gang) put me off on this occasion. I'm hoping when things start to calm down at work and I can relax a little bit more I'll have the time to read and enjoy them....
5. The Driver's Seat - Muriel Spark
In the spirit of nil concentration the size of this book was what I was initially drawn to when I was on the scavenge in the library, plus I'd never read any Muriel Spark before and had heard good things. This book is weird, and confusing and I spent most of my time wondering if I'd missed something really obvious as Spark's style of writing is fractious and seemingly random. It was only when I read the final chapter that everything slotted into place and the book went from one I just didn't get to one that I thought was brilliant! I get this little review of it might not make you rush out and buy/borrow it but it was really good and it felt good to ponder what I had read and see how it all fitted the puzzle. Plus if nothing else it's really short so if you really don't like it, it won't take you long to finish and move on to something else!
6. Paper Towns by John Green
You have to read this book. Seriously. There are two books that I tell everyone they have to read; The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak, and How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. If you haven't read these books then seriously you must they're ace and I re-read them alot. Paper Towns was recommended to Katy by another ex-Waterstone's Colleague Joe (little two's Joe if you read this) and then Katy announced to all on her Facebook page that it was great so of course being the little lambkin I am who just has to join in I hurried out and bought it. And lo! It is great. A 'young adult' book this time (yeah I might get back to reading adult books, or I might not) it centres around Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman. I don't want to give a synopsis of the plot the Wikipedia entry for it can do a better job of that than me. Instead I'm going to rattle on about how well written it is, and how it makes me want to read all of his books and that I read it in a couple of days because I couldn't put it down.
Finally here is the reading seat, up in our bedroom low enough that people can't see me and low enough that I get to look up into the sky and sit in the odd sunbeam like the cat who usually circles me waiting for me to leave so she can steal the prime spot.