Category: Uncategorized

Station Eleven

by Emily St, John Mandel

This is my book for #Popsugar prompt 40 – Favourite previous prompt. I selected prompt 7 from 2017 – a story within a story.
Interesting book with many threads and sub plots – all of which I was completely invested in. Every time a character reappeared I felt like I was seeing an old friend and really wanted to know what was going on in their life.

I love multiple POV narratives and this one supplies this in buckets – we jump from person to person and between times. It is all done very successfully and certainly kept me engaged and enthralled.

Well written, intriguing and very readable.
I did wonder at the title seeing as that’s the story in the story – but in the end loved the message that creativity endures – be it Shakespeare or a graphic novel

Around the Year

Next year I plan to do this challenge

1. A book with a title that doesn’t contain the letters A, T or Y
2. A book by an author whose last name is one syllable
3. A book that you are prompted to read because of something you read in 2019
4. A book set in a place or time that you wouldn’t want to live
5. The first book in a series that you have not started

6. A book with a mode of transportation on the cover
7. A book set in the southern hemisphere
8. A book with a two-word title where the first word is “The”
9. A book that can be read in a day

10. A book that is between 400-600 pages
11. A book originally published in a year that is a prime number
12. A book that is a collaboration between 2 or more people
13. A prompt from a previous Around the Year in 52 Books challenge (Link)
14. A book by an author on the Abe List of 100 Essential Female Writers (link)

15. A book set in a global city
16. A book set in a rural or sparsely populated area
17. A book with a neurodiverse character
18. A book by an author you’ve only read once before

19. A fantasy book
20. The 20th book [on your TBR, in a series, by an author, on a list, etc.]
21. A book related to Maximilian Hell, the noted astronomer and Jesuit Priest who was born in 1720
22. A book with the major theme of survival

23. A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ character or by an LGBTQIA+ author
24. A book with an emotion in the title
25. A book related to the arts
26. A book from the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards
27. A history or historical fiction

28. A book by an Australian, Canadian or New Zealand author
29. An underrated book, a hidden gem or a lesser known book
30. A book from the New York Times ‘100 Notable Books’ list for any year
31. A book inspired by a leading news story

32. A book related to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Japan
33. A book about a non-traditional family
34. A book from a genre or sub genre that starts with a letter in your name
35. A book with a geometric pattern or element on the cover

36. A book from your TBR/wishlist that you don’t recognize, recall putting there, or put there on a whim
37. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #1
38. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #2
39. A book by an author whose real name(s) you’re not quite sure how to pronounce

40. A book with a place name in the title
41. A mystery
42. A book that was nominated for one of the ‘10 Most Coveted Literary Prizes in the World’ (link)
43. A book related to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
44. A book related to witches

45. A book by the same author who wrote one of your best reads in 2019 or 2018
46. A book about an event or era in history taken from the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
47. A classic book you’ve always meant to read
48. A book published in 2020

49. A book that fits a prompt from the list of suggestions that didn’t win (link)
50. A book with a silhouette on the cover
51. A book with an “-ing” word in the title
52. A book related to time

by Patricia Wiltshire

I am counting this book for #Popsugar prompt 39: Revolving around a puzzle or game
For what greater puzzle is there than catching a killer?

This book is very interesting as Wiltshire takes us through both the theory and practical application of forensic botany.
Pollen, spores, leaf fragments and the such can help the learned eye place body or a crime very specifically in time and space. I think that that is amazing.
Wiltshire mixes her development as a botanist into her role as the first forensic botanist in Britain with her personal life with references to marriages, children and parents.
She is clearly brilliant professionally but had some horrible real life events to deal with along the way.

I thought this book well written and fascinating – really worth reading if you are even vaguely interested in solving puzzles.

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

This is my book for #Popsugar prompt 8: Book about a hobby
A gentle story about two women, both fossil hunters, in the early 1800s.
I didn’t realise until afterwards that it is based on the lives of two women who really were fossil hunters. Knowing this made me happy.

Mary and Elizabeth are an unlikely friendship – Elizabeth is a spinster from a somewhat moneyed London family living in Lyme to allow her brother the family home. Mary is a dirt poor local girl, collecting fossils from the beach to sell to tourists to keep the family from starving to death.
Add to that a 20 year age gap and these two women should never have even acknowledged each other, never mind become actual friends.

But a shared interest can be a powerful thing. And combined with the times and the way women were treated these women found great strength and support in each other.

Beautifully written, this book tells of both the women and their friendship, and society of the time. That any women managed to achieve anything at that time is truly extraordinary.

Lovely book

by Harriet Lerner

I read (well, listened to) this book for #Popsugar prompt 16: a question in the title
I picked this book solely because it had the required question in the title.
However, I wasn’t far into it before I was really glad to have found it and read it.

Lerner looks at the processing apologising from both sides of the situation; both that of the person apologizing and the one receiving the apology.

I learnt so much about how I both apologise and respond to apologies. I shall certainly behave differently after experiencing this book.

This book is wonderfully worth it.

by Michelle McNamara

This is my #Popsugar prompt 13: Published posthumously book
Riveting stuff – such a pity the author didn’t live to see the awful man caught.
Well researched and well constructed with a balance between hard facts and a narrative which engaged.
Really top of the true crime game

The History of Bees

by Maja Lunde

This is my book for #Readharder prompt 10 – written by and/or translated by a woman. This book is both.

This was an odd read for me – I alternated between absolutely loving it and slogging through it.
I do like the basic premise of the book and I loved separate stories that are ultimately woven together so I am not sure why I wasn’t completely gripped by this book.

I am left feeling oddly out of sorts by this book.

I loved the three time periods included and how bees are experienced, or not. I loved the environmental relevance. I even really liked the characters in the stories and was invested in all three stories when each presented itself.
So I should really have loved this book but just found it okay.

Murder has a Sweet Tooth

by Miranda Bliss

I read this book for #Popsugar prompt 22 – a book with SWEET in the title
and it was fine.
Cosy mysteries are generally nothing much more than fine – they are simple and easy and a relaxed read that requires very little from the reader.
And as an example of that, this book is above average.
The characters are likeable and the sub plot is sweet and believable

What this genre lacks, and that may its value to many readers, is any involvement by the reader in the move towards solving the crime. No clues are provided or red herrings thrown at the reader – there is no way we can work out what has happened before the protagonist does.
For me, that’s the thrill of reading the old classic who dunnits, and what is always missing in cozies.

But I still read them for a break from heavier stuff – and I’d read another Bliss for the same reason.

by Margot Lee Shetterly

I am using this book for the #ReadHarder prompt 6: A book by an AOC set in or about space.
While space is not much of a character is this book it is the story that made any space travel possible.

This is an incredible story well written and wonderfully narrated.
These human computers were amazing women with crazy smarts who did unbelievable work – all behind the scenes while the white male engineers stood front and centre stage.

Not only did these women overcome sexism and racism, they were also brilliant minds. There is so much in this story – these women were literally computers before computers existed. Just amazing.
And considering the position they were in in society at the time – what they achieved is mind blowing.

Fabulous book and now I want to watch the movie immediately
We need more of these books; books that tell the other stories, the stories hidden behind the straight white man version of the past.

Hidden Bodies (You #2)

by Caroline Kepnes
After being absolutely riveted, absorbed and horrified by You I found this book wishy washy and unconvincing.
So much of it was just ridiculously unbelievable and Joe became ordinary and nasty rather than dark, creepy and, in some way, understandable.
He used, for me, to be commentary on society, on men’s sense of their own rights, on the slewed way those in power see society
In Hidden Bodies he is a stroppy little teenager acting without thought – his creepy has been replaced by pedestrian ideas and actions
He used to be everyman – this is what made You so terrifying – on every street we women knew Joe lurked, watching one of us, wanting to control some of us
The Joe of Hidden Bodies is someone from some slightly ridiculous American true crime adaptation
(and I’ve just been submerged in Ted Bundy and still Joe was not believable).
The book ends with a perfect start to book 3 but I doubt I will ever be interested enough to bother with it
On its own maybe Hidden Bodies would have been better than just okay but following You it, for me, just crashed and burned