Monday 2 June 2014

May: What I Read, What I'm Reading

Flipping 'eck, the months are just rocking by in 2014 aren't they?  It's terrifying, really.  It's actually been quite a busy month for me, heralding my valiant attempt to get up and start living again after my months of crippling depression.  The sun's finally started shining after the long damp winter, and I've been outside on a sunlounger every day it's been warm enough, absorbing Vitamin D and relaxing.  Here on the blog, life has been quiet, despite the fact that I've taken part in a readaTHON, a readaLONG, and been book shopping with Hanna

I'm just... not feeling the whole 'writing about what I'm reading' thing at the moment.  It's actually been quite liberating.  For the first time in YEARS, I'm reading books without stopping to scribble notes and page numbers on a piece of paper every five minutes!  My reading is more eager, knowing that I don't have to write a book report before I can fully commit to my next read.  I guess after everything that's happened, I'm just enjoying reading in the moment, living in the moment, sunbathing in the moment, without worrying about sharing these experiences online immediately afterwards.  HOWEVER, that doesn't mean I can't share the love at the end of each month, does it?  :)
~ What I Read ~

Life Support
by Tess Gerritsen
This is my second taste of Tess Gerritsen's medical thrillers, and although it didn't live up to Bloodstream (which I read and reviewed back in 2011), I still really enjoyed it.  I think part of my disappointment stemmed from the poor blurbing, to be honest.  It was made out to be a kind of bio-weapon imminent-epidemic novel (at least, that's how I read it) whereas it's actually far more contained and subtle than that.  It's more about medical ethics and the pursuit of youth than anything.  That said, it was still veeeery creepy in parts, outright shocking in others, I liked the characters, and it definitely kept me glued to the pages enough that I finished all 460-ish of them within a couple of days.  3.5 stars, tentatively recommended.
by Tina Fey
I'd initially decided not to bother with this book, even though it sounded funny, because I haven't really seen any of Tina Fey's work and I thought that might exclude me from great swathes of what she was writing about.  Then I read Charlotte's audiobook review and decided to give the paper version a try after all.  The blurb on the back made me laugh, which seemed to bode well!  Happily Fey has the same knack - like Caitlin Moran and Charlie Brooker - of making her writing accessible and hilarious even when the reader hasn't seen the sketches or shows being referenced, and I ended up really enjoying the insight into things like photoshoots and TV production, even when I wasn't familiar with the end results.  There's also plenty about TV comedy, family and being a woman in the public eye, which I found thought-provoking and relatable even as it was making me smile.  An easy, interesting and very enjoyable read for the summer, 4 stars!
by Chuck Palahniuk
Although this still hasn't topped my first Palahniuk - Rant - I definitely felt a sense of the familiar madness descending as I plunged headfirst into this novel.  Basically, Damned is the testimony of a thirteen year-old dead girl called Madison, who wakes up in a cell in Hell and proceeds to take Hades by storm, befriending a demon (and a bunch of other teenage inmates), defeating Hitler, finding she has a knack for telemarketing (one of the two career options in Hell - the other being dodgy porn webcam sites) and generally becoming a bit of a celebrity in the Underworld.  Meanwhile, we slowly piece together bits of her life and death, while Madison hunts for Satan to try to find out exactly why and how she ended up here.  It's all very bizarre, a bit gross, vaguely jumbled and occasionally shocking - and I raced through it, as usual.  I'll be reading the sequel in June!  Very tentatively recommended (Palahniuk is definitely not for everyone!) - 3.5 stars.
~ What I'm Reading ~

Yes, that's four books on the go again, ooooops.  I actually finished Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon yesterday - I only had one chapter left, plus the short essay in the back of my PEL edition - so that'll be the first title on my June wrap-up.  I'm also reading A Match to the Heart: One Woman's Story of Being Struck by Lightning by Gretel Ehrlich, which is a tad purple of prose at the beginning, but already extremely interesting, so hopefully it'll turn out to be a winner.  Alongside that I randomly started reading The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort, mostly because it sounds so much fun to read, all scandal and excess.  Perfect summer reading, in other words.  I haven't seen the film yet, but I will!  And finally, I'm still slowly working my way through The Pleasures of the Damned, a collection of Charles Bukowski's poetry.