How’s life round your gaff at the minute? You surviving? You managing to read?
I didn’t have a review scheduled for today so I thought I’d come atcha with a little reading update. Have a quick chin wag about my reading since lockdown started and show you what I’m currently reading.
Hope that’s alright with you lot?
So, since lockdown began, I, (like a lot of people) have struggled with my concentration levels when it comes to reading and in particular, writing.
In the initial week or two after lockdown I really read very little and wrote absolutely nothing. I just felt a bit numb to it all and coupled with working from home and trying to homeschool my two kids, life was stressful! (Let’s not even add in the anxiety surrounding the dreaded Rona!).
I think us readers fell into one of two camps.
1. I can’t read ANYTHING. (Because the world is shit).
2. I am reading EVERYTHING (Because the world is shit).
I was firmly in camp 1 hoping to claw my way over to camp 2. I thought the way to do that would be to read some short stories. Surely short bursts of fiction would be manageable for my dire concentration levels, right?
Short stories were NOT holding my attention one iota and had the complete opposite effect of what I was aiming for.
I then picked up a couple of chunky books, one of which had been on my shelf for AGES (The Parentations by Kate Mayfield which is brilliant historical fiction by the way and I would defo recommend). This was my breakthrough and totally pepped me up.
I obviously needed longer books to absorb myself in!
I have read some absolute corkers over the past few weeks but I will be saving my opinions on those books until I review them.
Let’s move on to what I’m reading (and listening to) at the moment shall we?
I have to hold my hands up and say I’ve overstretched myself completely in the multi-reading stakes…..I can cope reading around 3 books at a time as long as they are all vastly different. 4 would be my absolute limit. So I find myself today (foolishly!) having 6 books on the go!
Let’s have a little butchers at them eh?
First up we have Pilcrow by Adam Mars Jones. This chunky bugger has been on my shelf for at least a year or more I reckon. It tells the story of a young man from when he was a child and suffered an illness which saw him being prescribed strict bed rest for a long time. It is set in the 1950’s when growing up gay and disabled was far from easy. At the moment I am only around a quarter of the way through and I find that it’s the kind of book that you can dip easily in and out of and still pick up very nicely where you left off, helped by the fact it is told in quite short snappy sections. It’s funny and has a lot of heart and I’m looking forward to carrying on with it. There is a second instalment called Cedilla which is equally as chunky!
Then we have This Taste For Silence by Amanda O’Callaghan which is a short story collection. This is a tricky one because I’ve read around 4 or 5 of the stories and whilst I know I enjoyed them at the time I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they’re about now! I will carry on and finish it and hope that it is just Corona Brain causing me to be so forgetful!
Next up is Rawblood by Catriona Ward. I read Little Eve last year and absolutely loved it! Rawblood is everything I love in a book, gothic, dark and haunting historical fiction set against the backdrop of an old house on Dartmoor. Bloody brilliant!
Next up we have Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. This book is BLOWING MY MIND. I saw it and was immediately drawn to the cover! It is non-fiction telling the story of the Galvin family, Don and Mimi Galvin and their twelve children. Ten boys and two girls. Six out of the ten boys were diagnosed with schizophrenia and this book explores the question of whether this mental illness can run in families. It really is fascinating!
Then we have two audiobooks that I’m alternating between, one fiction and one non-fiction.
Fiction wise I’m listening to Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. I love Marian on Twitter, she’s such a lovely woman. This book wouldn’t normally be one I’d pick up but having seen so many of you enjoying it, I thought I’d give it a go. I will be honest and say I stopped listening very quickly BUT hear me out……it was nothing to do with the book. I listen to my audiobooks on quite a high volume and I found myself tuning in far too much to the breaths that Marian takes in between sentences. As daft as it sounds, this then made me think about my own breathing and it threw me out! ANYWAY, never fear! I went back to it (albeit at a lower volume) got over my stupid self and am now really enjoying it.
Lastly we have Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin. I have developed a low key obsession with Shirley Jackson of late (which you’ll see when I show you some books I’ve recently purchased!). I’m not very far into this one so I’ll report back when I’m further along!
So there we have all the books I’m currently reading/listening to.
Let’s end on the books I’ve bought recently……because we’re all feverishly buying new books right? WHAT ELSE ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?
Here are a few of my recent purchases (see what I mean about the Jackson obsession?!!). The covers of the Penguin Classic Shirley Jackson books are what dreams are made of quite frankly!
LOOK AT THEM.
On that note I will love you and leave you.
Please do let me know how you’re getting on during these proper tricky times. Are you reading healthy amounts or has your motivation upped and left?
Whatever you’re doing, concentrate on yourself and keep safe.
See you all soon when I’ll have some lovely family members bringing some guest content……
Big love x
Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx