My Week in Books: 9th March 2015

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I really wanted to have Tess of the D’Urbervilles finished this week but I just haven’t been reading enough. Too much time spent on the 30 Day Writing Challenge has left not enough for reading. I WILL have it done by next Sunday. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it (in fact I had to drag myself away from it to finish off this post) but it’s just incredibly long.

THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB by KAREN JOY FOWLER

How long: Two days.

Where I finished it: In bed at about 3 in the morning (don’t you just love insomnia!).

Favourite quote: “You know how Daniel used to drive me crazy? It turns out I was very happily married. For thirty-two years. What are the odds?”

Would I read it again: Yes.

Although Thomas Hardy is beating Charles Dickens hands down I was almost 100 pages in and not yet hooked on Tess of the D’Urbervilles. So as I’d come to bed early to read and it was a Sunday I thought I’d treat myself to an easy read (I assumed The Jane Austen Book Club was an easy read because it had a pastel coloured cover). I bought this book on a whim as it had good reviews on the cover, had Jane Austen in the title and was only £1. Well it was worth £1 before I’d even finished the prologue as I’d already laughed out loud three times.

Basically six people start a book club where they read nothing but Jane Austen (this is my kind of book club!). What gives it something a little different is the subtle nods to Jane Austen plots. Depending on how well you know Jane Austen novels you can start to draw parallels. I know her books quite well (Pride and Prejudice very well) and I wasn’t completely sure all the time. Were Jocelyn and Grigg supposed to be Lizzy and Darcy? Or Emma and Mr Knightley? But I liked that it left me guessing. And that although it used her plots, it didn’t stick to them religiously. A much more successful way to go about it than Joanna Trollope’s desperate need to shoehorn everything (I’m still angry about her version of Sense and Sensibility). I feel like I could read it again and find things I’d missed. Links that I hadn’t made before.

It’s a gentle read, not exactly unputdownable but still very enjoyable. The kind of book that would be perfect to read on a porch in South Carolina with a rocking chair, a straw hat and a jug of iced tea.

LET IT SNOW by JOHN GREEN, MAUREEN JOHNSON and LAUREN MYRACLE

How long: Three days.

Where I finished it: I meant to finish it in the bath but I got a bit hooked and then discovered my bath was overrunning. Oops.

Favourite quote: Things around here have deviated from the usual.

Would I read it again: Probably not, but maybe at Christmas for a bit of the festive spirit.

This is a book of three short stories which all take place in the same town on Christmas Eve. Of the three authors I’d only read books by John Green before and it was on the strength of his name on the spine that I bought it. And because I’m a sucker for Christmas. Even though it’s March.

The first story is The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson. My overall impression is not bad, not great. At the beginning I kept forgetting this wasn’t the one written by John Green (high praise) not just because it was his kind of humour but the parent’s collection of buildings from a Christmas village was a very John Green kind of character quirk. By halfway through I was finding it too formulaic and the ending was downright cheesy. Although I’m now on a mission to use ‘tangentially’ in a sentence.

Second is A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green and there was no doubt that this one was John Green – unusual character nicknames and a quest? That’s got John Green written all over it. But definitely last on my list of his stories so far (1. Looking for Alaska, 2. The Fault in our Stars, 3. Paper Towns). Whereas The Jubilee Express felt like a short story this felt like a novel I’d joined halfway through.

At this point in the book I had a revelation – I think I may be growing up. Yes, I still don’t have a career or a steady income, I feel the need to ask my parents advice on everything and I can’t even keep a cactus alive but…. I’m a bit over teen fiction. Four chapters into A Patron Saint of Pigs and all that had happened was the main character had moped over a guy who at 16 years old and after one year together absolutely must be her soul mate. I got so excited when the pig was introduced because I thought I might actually get some plot. But I didn’t really care about Addie’s journey to self-actualisation – I only met her 50 pages ago. I did enjoy the way the three stories amalgamated at the end though.

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