12 Book Reviews in 12 Sentences

I can’t believe we are heading towards the end of February already. I’ve managed to read 12 books so far this year and I thought it would be a good idea to review every single one of them! For the sake of laziness brevity, I’ll condense each review to one sentence per book.

1. “Er ist Weider Da (Look Who’s Back)” by Timur Vermes

14897790

Not as funny as I thought it would be, but a great premise and it was unbelievable scary how some of Hitler’s speeches in this novel are Trump-esque.

2. “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler

16176440

I was completely beside myself after reading this novel and did a lot of public crying on Sydney’s trains while reading this novel.

3. “Before I Was Yours” by Virginia Macgregor

31282536

An unexpectedly comprehensive story about adoption that made me feel all of the feelings on the emotional spectrum.

4. “Archie Appleby: The Terrible Case of the Creeps” by Kaye Ballie

33554634

Probably the best example of a kid with anxiety who is prone to jumping to conclusions about the stranger extended family members.

5. “Jamaica Inn” by Daphne du Maurier

18869967

A little bit scary and surprisingly really violent, but a well written story by one of my favourite authors.

6. “Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors” by Peter Acroyd

13539185

Very detailed, comprehensively researched and well written, but unfortunately not enough focus on the “normal” people (those that weren’t royalty or connected to royalty) and their daily lives.

7. “How to Build a Girl” by Caitlin Moran

20525628

All teenage girls need to read this novel – I think I laughed so hard in some places because I related so much to this story.

8. “Lives in Ruins” Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble” by Marilyn Johnson

20873711

This book made me want to become an archaeologist – even though it’s clearly (partly) a warning against taking it up as a profession if you ever want to earn money and have a relatively stable family life.

9. “Foxglove Summer” by Ben Aaronovitch

20499240

Probably my favourite book in the Rivers of London series – a seamless novel with perfect pace and as always in this series, plenty of laughs.

10. “Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice” by Colin Renfrew

736801

A really good starting point for beginners in archaeology – or just your every day archaeology enthusiasts!

11. “Fifty Shades of Feminism” by Lisa Appignanesi

17210639

Two reasons why this book is worth reading – 1. Feminism and 2. The copy I found in the book story was wrapped up, as if it had some dangerous ideas inside.

12. “Skinny Liver: Lose the fat and lose the toxins for increased energy, health and longevity” by Kirstin Kirkpatrick

34318274

Definitely the self-help book I needed to read on New Year’s Eve.

Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments section – try to keep it to one sentence!

Review: “The Night Watch” by Sarah Waters

25584847

For some reason this book has been on my To-Be-Read list for 5 years (according to the trusty source that is Goodreads). I can’t even remember why I put it on my TBR list to begin with, since it’s more or less a romance novel set in England during World War 2.

I’ve tried to stay away from novels about World War 2 because it’s just too close for my likingMy grandparents were both from different sides of England and were serving respectively in the ATS and Royal Navy when they met and fell in love during World War 2. They just happened to be at the same pub in Liverpool (again, not where either of them were from) and the rest, as they say, is history. So growing up I had always heard things about World War 2 and as a reflex, my eyes would start rolling out of my head.

Now that I’m older and a lot more aware about the pretty shitty things going on in the world, I’ve begun to appreciate just how much the War meant to my grandparents and their generation. Now it makes perfect sense to me that they would constantly bring it up. It was a pretty big deal and “The Night Watch” really gave me a sense of the fear and uncertainty of that time.

I think that my recent trip to the UK (my second one ever) has also renewed my interest in the War. I spent a lot of time walking the streets randomly, just observing the different styles of architecture, and noticed how there were big scars running through sections of the city. I don’t mean that any part of London that I saw was ugly. I just noticed the bits where bombs had clearly dropped and new buildings were built or old buildings were repaired but not quite blended in with the original structure. For an architecture AND archaeological nerd like myself, I found it a great way to immerse myself in the city’s history.

Back to “The Night Watch”… I was actually quite surprised at the homosexual element of the story. I don’t actively look for novels with lesbians as the central characters and I guess it just surprised me because I’m so biased towards World War 2 novels set in England to begin with. When I think “English wartime novels”, I think of very stereotyped gender roles with perhaps some feminist undertones peeking through (but of course nothing to wild because, you know, they’re English) .Quite frankly, I assumed this would be a novel my grandmother would happily sit down and read on a Sunday afternoon… but I’m not too sure I would give this one to her. She may have a heart attack *touch wood*.

I’m glad I was surprised by this novel though. It’s probably the reason why I kept reading it. The only drawback about it was the structure. I didn’t quite understand why the 3 separate parts were in reverse chronological order and I really think the last bit could have been chopped out altogether. Also, I found myself skimming the parts relating to the only central male character named Duncan. I just didn’t find myself caring enough about him.

So Reader, have there been any novels you have found yourself really surprised by recently? Do you have certain topics/periods in history you just can’t bring yourself to read about? Let me know in the comments!

I hope this week has treated you well.

A x

 

 

The Longest Movie Ever Made and How It Made Me Feel Dead Inside

MV5BMjE4NTIxNzQ1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjIyODQ4MTE@._V1__SX1110_SY559_

I actually don’t know how accurate my assumption is, but I’m just putting it out there and I seriously can’t be bothered fact checking right now – Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was the longest mofo of a movie in the history of movies.

In all honesty, my expectations of the movie before I walked into the cinema was this: A film that looks amazing, has a whole lot of buildings being destroyed for no real reason and Henry Cavill looking mighty fine (as per usual).

So nowhere in my list of small expectations did I expect an amazing plot, great character development or even some great one-liners. If Zack Snyder didn’t make his movies look so damn good, would I have even bothered going to a real cinema to watch this movie? Nope. I would have waited to watch it on Netflix. Unfortunately, this movie made me feel nothing. I felt emotionless watching this movie and for that reason alone I won’t even bother re-watching Batman Vs Superman on Netflix one rainy day.

The best things about this movie was Jesse Eisenberg playing Lex Luther and Gal Gadot playing Wonder Woman. Now THAT was some good casting. But it wasn’t enough to make up for the rest of the movie, in my very humble opinion.

In saying that, I will go and give Zack Snyder one last chance and buy a ticket to see Wonder Woman when that comes out. I just hope and pray to mighty Chris-Hemsworth-Thor that he makes it a good one.

I know this negative blog post isn’t my usual “Hey! You should read/watch/buy this!” but I really just want to save someone the 2 and a half hours of their life so they can do something worthwhile with it. Like, I don’t know, maybe they could work towards ending world hunger with that time, because I’m rather sure that the amount of money spent on making this film could have done exactly that three times over.

I know I’ve been AWOL lately…

Just wanted to give a quick update on any readers of this blog still sticking around! I’m still here, still alive and (most importantly) still reading.

I’ve had to get used to a new job this year and haven’t had the time or inspiration to sit down and write like I did last year. I’m feeling more settled now, so no doubt the blog posts should come a lot easier soon.

I’ve been smashing my reading goal for 2016 – I’m currently on 31 books so far, Goodreads tells me I’m 6 books ahead of schedule. It feels like I’ve read more than 31 books though! I’m starting to read a lot more books but finding that I’m really picky and abandoning a lot of them. Maybe I just know what I like and have less patience for crappy books these days. But in all seriousness, life is too short to read a bad book (or even just a mediocre one), so I’m not feeling bad about my Did-Not-Finish pile.

What’s everyone else reading? How’s the first quarter of the year treated you all so far?

Welcome to 2016!

I hope everyone had a great time ringing in the New Year. I know I did – a binge watch of Making a Murderer with a couple of my friends over drinks was perhaps the BEST spontaneous New Years Eve plans ever. (If you have watched the show, please let me know in the comments section. I need to debrief.)

Reflecting on the year that was 2015, I was really proud of my blogging efforts. Real life got in the way, for good and bad, so my posts were rather sporadic. This year my aim is to read a lot more books and make sure I continue making content for this blog as a record of my reading life, and also to provide recommendations for other readers.

As I do every year, I’ve made a goal on Goodreads to read 100 books this year. I’m yet to reach that number. In 2015 I read 66 books. Which is to say that I actually finished 66 books. I don’t finish every book I start – I probably only finish one in every five books I start because life is way to short for bad or medicare books.

So let me know in the comments if you have any New Year’s resolutions, whether it be reading goals or just general life goals. And if you’ve watched Making a Murderer, please, please, please let me know. I need to talk about it.