Reading Update: November and December

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Happy New Year! I hope 2017 has started off well for you. I wanted to start the year with a long overdue blog post…

My poor blog has seen little action during the last few months of 2016 because I’ve been mega busy (and a bit lazy…). I was in New York for most of November (more about that later), and the beginning of December found me frantically saying goodbye to Amsterdam and all my friends there before travelling home to London.

So, due to my tardiness, I’ve decided to combine my reading updates for November and December. Enjoy!

November

November in New York was amazing. I got to experience the Thanksgiving Parade and witness the magical transformation the city undergoes for Christmas. I was able to do most of my November reading on the subway every day, as I travelled around the city. I was surprised and happy to see that so many of my fellow commuters also read on the train. I also spent an afternoon in a library in NY (it was raining terribly and I always enjoy visiting libraries in other cities). I found myself in the graphic novel room. Yes, you read that right, the library had an entire room dedicated to graphic novels! In most of the libraries I’ve been to in London and Amsterdam, you’d be lucky if you found one shelf of graphic novels, let alone a whole room. Obviously I went a bit nuts and read quite a few of them. It was the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon 🙂

  • The Bat by Jo Nesbo

This is the first novel in Nesbo’s Harry Hole series, but it’s the second of his that I’ve read. I first read The Redbreast in February and I was completely entranced by the way that Nesbo creates the perfect crime story. Even though The Bat was an equally gripping and addictive read, it wasn’t in the same league as The Redbreast and the conclusion was rather disappointing. I think I’ll stick to Nesbo’s later work from now on. 3/5 stars

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Coelho’s use of simple language and spectacular imagery successfully enables him to weave a beautifully magical tale about Santiago, a poor shepherd boy, who is on a quest for treasure. His quest takes him to new and exciting places where he learns to follow his heart. Even though I found the prose to be very simplistic, I enjoyed the story because I saw myself in Santiago, in the struggles he goes through and the risks that he takes. I can only hope that, like him, I am able to eventually reap the rewards of my own quest. 4/5 stars

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Loved this! Seriously, I loved it! I am obsessed with dystopian fiction and 80’s pop culture (even though it’s quite a bit before my time) so this ticked many boxes for me. The novel follows teenager Wade Watts on his quest to solve a super intense online treasure hunt. It was a tremendously exciting read and I couldn’t put it down.  5/5 stars

  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I have mixed feelings about this one. It was so beautifully written (Marquez’s use of language is flawless and engaging), but terribly sexist and sometimes distasteful. I really disliked one of the protagonists, Florentino Ariza, who was a real pain in the arse and a paedophile to boot! For me though, hating a character doesn’t mean that I will hate the novel as whole. In this case, I still enjoyed reading the novel because my feelings of hatred fired me up and compelled me to continue reading. 4/5 stars

  • The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

There’s only one word to describe this book: hilarious! The story follows Detective Jack Spratt of the NCD (Nursery Crime Division) who is on the case to find the killer of Humpty Dumpty. Fforde employs pun after pun, as well as numerous references to fairy tales and nursery rhymes, to create a crime novel like one I’ve never read before. I found the novel very entertaining and it made me laugh out loud quite a lot (got some weird looks on the subway…) but the plot itself was heavily flawed in my opinion, particularly concerning the crime elements. 3/5 stars

Graphic Novels

  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki 4/5 stars
  • A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova 3/5 stars
  • Level Up by Gene Luen Yang 4/5 stars
  • Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel Jules Feiffer 4/5 stars
  • Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld 3/5 stars
  • Dororo by Osamu Tazuka 4/5 stars

December

I had a very quiet Christmas with my family and only managed to read two books:

  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

This novel follows Fat Charlie Nancy who discovers that his father was none other than the West African trickster god, Anansi. After this bombshell, he is soon reunited with a brother that he never knew he had. His brother, Spider, has inherited their father’s god-like powers and penchant for mischief and trickery. Before long, Fat Charlie begins to regret ever inviting Spider into his life as all hell breaks loose and one problem after the other begins to occur (including Spider getting it off with Charlie’s fiance!).

2016 was the year that I discovered Gaiman and fell in love with his whimsical, yet poignant, story telling. It seemed fitting, then, that I end the year with reading another great Gaiman novel. 5/5 stars

  • Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

This first person narrative novel follows the Abstract Impressionist painter Rabo Karabekian in an autobiography about his life. I’ve always loved Vonnegut’s lyrical and hauntingly hilarious writing style. I often find myself feeling thoughtful and melancholy one minute, and then I’m laughing my head off in the next. 5/5 stars

 

After not writing on my blog for quite a while, I feel like I’ve just written an essay in order to catch you all up 🙂 If you made it all the way through, then hats off to you! I can’t imagine that I will write much in the next five months because I will be travelling around the world, which, though very exciting and a little scary, means that I probably wont have time to update my blog. I’ll just see how it goes I guess.

Anyway, I wish you all a very happy 2017 and I hope I can continue to write about my reading exploits every month (I imagine I’ll have a lot of time for reading while I’m waiting in airports and travelling on planes). Take care!

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