Reading Round Up/2014 Update

Two weeks of bliss and now back to the grindstone. I haven’t been on the Internet really at all this last month as been so busy, finishing my PG Dip (joy), preparing to start the MSc/MA dissertation (double joy), and generally getting my head in gear. There are going to be a lot of changes in my life this year, most importantly I’ve decided to concentrate on purely professional pursuits rather than my extra-curricula activities, so won’t be taking any bookings for the Travelling Suitcase Library this year, or planning any other events outside of what I do in my day job. I’m also not going to be involving myself in projects like Leeds Ladyfest-though will be offering support throughout the year as obviously it is close to my heart! I’m scaling down Envelope Club a bit too, but I’m going to have a proper think about that at the end of the month.

I’ve had an awesome few years (considerably less so over the last year) being involved  in extra-curricula stuff, but this year I think I am going to have to be really selfish and say No to things. So I’ll probably not be blogging that much either. I’m going to carry on with the book reviews as honestly they make me happy, and will hopefully make this have a more professional slant.

HOWEVER,

I have read a few books over the Christmas (are we still allowed to say that? It was only, like, two weeks ago) hols that I have wanted to rant about a bit.

I re-read Sense and Sensibility, after watching the first half of the ITV adaptation of a few years ago with a friend and realising it must be a good ten years since I had read it and what a revelation! I loved it, because it is just so indescribably bleak. It is basically a travel diary of a bored and repressed young woman forced to put up with the society of awful people because of the kyriarchy of the time and is just so depressing for it. I loved the little comic touches throughout and there isn’t a better written utter cowbag than Lucy Steele, oh I wanted to punch that woman in the face! I read it on my Kindle so can’t get a book cover but it was very enjoyable and included lovely illustrations.

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My next read was this stunningly cheesy looking historical epic, the first in the three part series which I will blatos be completing. I found it after looking at one of the ‘if you like Jean Auel’ lists on goodreads, and although this is definitely more Mammoth Hunters than Clan of the Cave Bear, for a description of pre-historic life it is equally well written and obviously very well researched. The story of Chagek, a young woman living off the American North West Coast around 8000BC, who experiences every type of horror going when her family is destroyed by the Murderous Short Ones. The first half of the book was a real struggle to read as there is literally no remitting from the endless tragedy Chagek goes through. It all gets much better though, and her story, whilst sad, is a lovely one. The ways of life are very well explained without just being an endless list of detailed activity, and by the end of the book I was just desperate for Chagek to find an apple tree or something, as the people seem to live entirely off whales and seals and, whilst feeling rather sticky myself after doing nothing but eat meat and cheese and chocolate for three days I felt even stickier after the third feast of blubber and eggs kept in sand and oil.

The final book I read I no longer own because I immediately put it in the charity shop pile. The River Road, by Frances Parkinson Keyes, was randomly pulled out of my bookcase by me being unable to decide what to read next and I was really chuffed when I did as from the outside it looks like a lovely Southern Fantasy, a bit naffer than Gone With The Wind. The story of plantation owners living in Louisiana in the early 1920s, published in 1946, I expected the racism, but the utterly vile and crass way the lives of Black and Italian people were described in the book was upsetting to say the least. Which is such a shame as the plot itself, involving a shopgirl marrying a plantation owner and saving the family’s reputation by the end, was lovely and really subtly done, and it had some characters I would have otherwise really have liked to follow. But I cannot read or promote a series which is just so racist and was gutted to find it so.

I would have read a heck of a lot more over my holidays, and normally do, especially seeing as I had no homework, but I have also discovered Craft in a  major way, got a crochet hook and a load of wool and have so far made two hats, mostly whilst watching the superb (apart from the miscast of Elizabeth, who was too old for the role, even though I LOVE Anna Maxwell Martin, and Darcy, who was just a bit wet for my taste) Death Comes to Pemberley. A zillion times better than the book, it also featured a frankly gorgeous Matthew Goode who has considerably reignited my love for a thin man in a fitted jacket. Would love to see a proper P&P with him and Lydia in it, as they were Ace.

So yeah, work and wool craft seems to be the plan for 2014, and may it be a good one!

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