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April Reading & the New Gobbelino Book

Lovely people, how have you found your reading habits have changed as this strange…

Lovely people, how have you found your reading habits have changed as this strange year carries on?

I have definitely found myself struggling more with finding a book that fits me. There have been a lot of DNFs, a lot of dithering over what to read (and often watching YouTube instead), and I’m at the point of being confused enough that I’m not even sure if I’m DNF-ing because I don’t like the book or just because I can’t focus on it.

None of which are very big problems. Reading slumps happen. But when our escapism is also a form of self-care, of healing and recharging, it does mean it all feels rather larger than it should. It feels almost as though something has been stolen from us – something more, along with our ability to come and go as we want, to visit friends, to hug our extended family, to travel, to buy a bag of crisps without treating it like an excursion into enemy territory.

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The books don’t work …

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The books don’t work …

Little things matter, both in the having them sense (as I mentioned before), and in the not having them. It’s salt in the wound, when we can’t self-soothe the way we’re used to.

And we’re always aware that so many people have it far, far worse. That our complaints are often small. That we can’t really complain.

Only, we can. The greater hurt of another does not diminish our smaller hurt. There is room for both. We are allowed to feel grumpy and unhappy and scared and worried and anxious and, yes, really, really peeved that our routine and some forms of self-care have been taken from us. Those feelings are valid. Small things matter.

So consider this your permission slip to complain. To say, yes, I am fed up with this. I am tired of washing my hands 75 times a day, and crossing the street any time I see anyone else, and not being able to give my friends a hug. I’m tired of every trip to the supermarket feeling like a quest into Mordor. I’m tired of worrying. Of being scared. Of feeling lost in the face of something so small and so vast.

And, dammit, I’m really, really sick of not being able to get comfort from the things I rely on for exactly that.

We all need to shout, I am not okay with this! from time to time. It neither diminishes us nor takes away from our strength. We are allowed to not bear up cheerfully, to not carry on right now. We are allowed to have a day where we eat nothing but cake, or never get out of our pyjamas, or build a pillow fort and watch every episode of Parks & Recreation. We are allowed to not be okay.

Because we’re human. We can’t be okay all the time. Sometimes being okay even some of the time is a stretch. And it does not make us any less beautifully, wonderfully, lovably our own flawed and magnificent selves.

And if you’d like to complain? To have a right proper moan about what’s getting to you? Jump straight down to the comments. I always reply. Promise.

Right, I was doing a book chat blog, wasn’t I? I’ve gone and got carried away again.

So let’s get straight on with the video, and I’ll pop the ratings below!

Twelve Sharp, Janet Evanovich. I was so happy to be able to get back to a reliable escapism read. The Stephanie Plum series has turned into quite a go-to for me when I need something fun and light that I can lose myself in for a little. I do get a bit fed up of the Ranger/Morelli love-triangle-type thing, but it was less in evidence in this book (or I’ve just got used to it). Overall, a fast, fun, giggle-worthy read – I’d have loved to see the grandmother get her own spin-off series, though. I’d have devoured that! But anyway – five doughnuts and a cuppa.

“Arson is a respected profession among certain subcultures in Jersey, and the good ones don’t get caught. The good ones channel lightning and mysterious acts of spontaneous combustion.”
― Janet Evanovich, Twelve Sharp

The Dead Zone, Stephen King. Not what you might normally term comfort reading, yet it still is. I always feel I know what I’m getting with a Stephen King story, and I’ve very rarely been disappointed. The Dead Zone wouldn’t be among my favourites, but it’s a good read, with a real sense of momentum building toward an inescapable end. Four cookies.

“We all do what we can, and it has to be good enough, and if it isn’t good enough, it has to do.”
― Stephen King, The Dead Zone

The Last, Hanna Jameson. This was a DNF, but I’m including it because I liked the concept, and I thought the story had potential. Twenty-odd people wind up surviving a series of world-wide nuclear strikes in a secluded Swiss hotel. The protagonist realises a murder has occurred, possibly before the nuclear strike, and sets out to investigate it. Which is both a weird thing to do, considering, you know, the end of the world, and yet also very human, trying to set some small thing right in the face of everything being wrong. I can’t give it more than a couple of (stale, end of world) cookies, because I found all the characters pretty unlikable, especially the MC, and a lot of things didn’t ring right with me, but I do feel it might still have potential when I’m in the right mood for it. Maybe. It can live on my Kindle for a bit, anyway.

“A lot of people confuse movement with progress,”
― Hanna Jameson, The Last

Battlestar Suburbia, Chris McCrudden. This was so much fun. Pure escapism, well-written, full of giggle-worthy moments and thoughtful asides. It’s set in a future world where machines are in charge and humans have been kicked off earth to live in the Dolestars. They’ve become an underclass, answering to smartphones and breadmakers, and all Derren wants is to find his lost change-cart. He had no intention of starting a revolution … Five cookies and a large Nicotea.

“The distinguishing mark of a truly intelligent being lay, she believed, in what it kept to itself.”
― Chris McCrudden, Battlestar Suburbia

Gobbelino London & a Contagion of Zombies, me. No, I’m not going to review my own book. That would be weird. But – it is out on Friday! So you’ve got until tomorrow night to grab your pre-order for only 99p!

“Zombies don’t exist. You told me they don’t exist.”

“There’s a corpse clawing its way out of a grave over there. I’m open to the possibility that I may have been wrong.”

I see dead people.

And I’m not the only one. They’re even on Facebook.

The dead are rising, and if we don’t stop them before the infection spreads any further, we’re going to be knee-deep in the zombie apocalypse before you can say mmm, brains.

The only problem is, we don’t know why they’re rising, who started it, or how to stop them.

But G & C London, Private Investigators, are on the case. Just as soon as we get through dealing with disapproving reapers, irate magicians, zombie-fied chickens, and a small internal case of undeadness.

Trust us.

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Now tell me, lovely people – what small grievances are feeling big right now? How are you looking after yourself? And what have you been reading? (If you’ve been reading!)

Let me know below!

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  1. A.S. Akkalon says:

    Today my colleagues were being problematic to each other and it fell on me to fix things. And they are not people I should need to fix things between. I got nothing else done all day, and I had lots of things I should have got done. /endrant

    I’m reading a memoir about a ballet dancer. I love some of the descriptions, though I thought starting back three generations was a bit much.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Ugh. That is exactly what you don’t want to be sorting out – I’m assuming you work with actual adults, and not small children or wekas. Although, I quite like wekas, so if you do work with them, I’m jealous. I hope tomorrow is a much better day!

      And that sounds like an interesting book – I’m always a little wary of multiple generation ones, but when well done they can be excellent.

      1. A.S. Akkalon says:

        Sadly, genuine adults, neither children nor wekas.

        1. Kim Watt says:

          Ugh. Disappointing, as wekas are much more interesting. Sadly, not surprising. Hang in there. I hope they put on their grown-up hats tomorrow.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Can’t argue with your choice of Stephanie Plum – I am always impressed with the number of cars she managed to destroy.

    I confess I’m not nervous about setting out to the supermarket as ours is rural and people still maintain the politeness and kindness of country folk. I am, however, short of people to chat to, particularly in a pub over a pint. Nothing deep, just light-hearted chatter. There is a limit to topics when you are shut up with one person day in, day out.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      She didn’t destroy a car in this one! I was a bit disappointed, to be honest. I hope she’s back on form in the next book…

      And your area sounds lovely. Our local-ish supermarket is very calm and restrained (I went in a couple of weeks ago), but as I also shop for the SO’s mum I usually go to a bigger one closer to her so things aren’t in the car as long (plus it’s cheaper for her). The big one is not calm. It’s not calm AT ALL.

      I can definitely see the chatting one being tough. I’m not a big talker, and actually find I’m talking more often on the phone these days, which is weird. Of course, I also have the Little Furry Muse, who is not chatty, but she does listen sometimes…

      1. Carolyn says:

        I confess I have ventured to the hear big one when I desperately needed something not in the usual – chocolate and kefir yoghurt to be precise. The staff were pleasant but there was an atmosphere of aggression among some customers, as if daring you to be in the same aisle. Damn their eyes. Today in the local I had a nice chat with a gentleman who told me about his garden and wife so I warned him not to upset our cashier (I know her well). He replied that he knew better as she had fixed him with basilisk eyes before. That cheered her up as well. A good laugh is hard to find.

        1. Kim Watt says:

          Aw, that sounds like a really nice shopping trip, as far as that goes! And definitely nice to exchange a bit of banter with others. It sounds like you live in a lovely place ❤️

  3. Joanne Altman says:

    Thoroughly enjoying the kittens and reading everyday helps with the COVID19 situation. I have self-quarantined for seventy days with a trip to the grocery store every two weeks for supplies, all masked up with sanitizer in hand. Our idiot government is totally open and the cases are still rising so I stay home and enjoy my vegetable and herbal patch and all of the flowers which are blooming.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Kittens, books, and staying at home sound like a perfect antidote to the world at large! I’m glad you’re keeping safe – I’m astonished by how many people seem to think that “easing restrictions” means “all back to normal”. Definitely a time to be taking more care, not less! Look after yourself ❤️

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