Yes, my last video post was only a few weeks ago.
No, I haven’t read all that much since then.
However, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you may have realised … No, wait. No, you probably won’t have, as I’m terribly disorganised (both in general and at this particular moment), so haven’t really mentioned the fact that I’m away for a month. In fact, by the time this video posts, I’ll be somewhere between here and New Zealand, all going well.
This means both that I have no idea if I’ll have internet when it comes to a suitable video posting time, and also that I thought I might give you advance warning of some, um, irregularities that may surface in the blog over the next month. Such as the odd re-run. A bit of a delay on answering comments. You know. That sort of thing.
*looks around shiftily and wonders if she’s got away with basically saying, “It may all go to pot in December, but hey – I warned you!”*
Plus I also wanted to show off and say my books are in actual bookshops, which I’m still very excited about. So if you’re in the Yorkshire Dales area, go check out The Stripey Badger bookshop (they also do an excellent cheese scone), or Limestone Books in Settle. Christmas shopping sorted, right?
And with all that meandering done, it’s on to what I read this month.
Which is not a lot …
Rose Madder, Stephen King. This was a re-read for me, and I have to say I found it a lot more unsettling at forty-plus than I did at twenty-ish. I imagine a lot of that has got to do with the fact that at 20 you still feel pretty invincible – or I did. Now, not so much, which made Rosie’s situation that much more disturbing (this book deals with domestic violence, and some of it’s pretty brutal). It was still a good read, and, for me, Stephen King always creates good characters that you become deeply invested in. But I couldn’t say I enjoyed it. Not this time. Still, it’s a good four to five cookies for me, especially for a heroine that very much does her own saving.
“It’s best to be ruthless with the past. It ain’t the blows we’re dealt that matter, but the ones we survive.”
― Stephen King, Rose Madder
The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, Julia Stuart. This was a chance discovery in a secondhand bookshop that turned into a most odd and beautiful read. It shifts from hilariously bizarre situations (a woman of marvellous girth stuck in the front half of a pantomime horse in the Lost Property Office of the London Underground, while a tattooed ticket inspector of diminished height asks her out) to a gentle exploration of grief and its effect on a loving marriage, and it’s all beautiful. Initially it seems to be a story about the menagerie being reinstated in the Tower of London, but that turns out to be almost incidental to the story of love and loss and forgiveness. Five cookies for sheer beautiful oddness.
“For he was firmly of the conviction that the body was more susceptible to disease without the presence of love to warm the organs.”
― Julia Stuart, The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise
A Winter Book, Tove Jansson. Okay, I make no secret of the fact that I love Tove Jansson. My cousin and I had all her Moomintroll books when I was a wee small thing, and we both adored their quiet magic and melancholy. They weren’t great big adventures, and there was never the sense that things were okay just because. They were only okay through love and loyalty and a little bravery, and understanding that not being okay is okay too. They are wonderful books, but until about a year ago I had never even realised that Tove Jansson wrote for adults as well. I’ve only read The Summer Book (as beautiful and gently sad as could be expected), and am now working my way through the short stories in A Winter Book. And I would like more, please. I’m only part way through, so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll feel by the end, but right now I feel a little dissatisfied. This is a selection of stories from other collections, and it just feels like you never quite get to immerse in the world enough. So, three cookies for it being a little disjointed, but five for being beautiful. Which is four. See, I can maths.
“if words lie face down there’s a chance they might change during the night; you may suddenly come to see them with a new eye, perhaps with a rapid flash of insight. It is conceivable.”
― Tove Jansson, A Winter Book
Now over to you, lovely people – what have you read this month? Any stand-outs? And what’s a re-read that you’ve felt completely different about to how you felt on the first reading? Let me now below!
book chat, books, Julia Stuart, reading, stephen king, Tove Jansson