Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. After a lot of umming and ahhing, I decided that I was interested, just in time to get the first book in hardback. Having finished I’m really glad I did, because it will now match my edition of Waking Gods. I didn’t want to be in the same situation as I was with Becky Chambers’ books, having one in paperback, one in hardback, and no shelf were they can sit side by side.

The series name, Themis Files, should have been a clue to how the narrative is presented. I hadn’t expected it when I picked the book up – possibly because when I’ve flicked through in shops, I was looking at the prologue, which is written in a traditional narrative style. A young girl goes out for a bike ride when the ground gives way beneath her, and she falls into a giant metal hand. She grows up to be Dr Rose Franklin, and seventeen years later is leading the effort to understand what she discovered as a child. The story from there is structured as numbered files – personal journal entries, project logs, and transcripts of conversations between the major players on the project, and an unnamed man from an unnamed secret agency.

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Review: ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman

I love being able to easily explain the idea of a book, especially when I want to pass on the recommendation. ‘Summing up’ is difficult – it’s one of the things I find trickiest about writing reviews, trying to succinctly convey a broad sense of theme, tone and plot. The Power is easy to describe. My problem might actually be to stop talking about it.

This novel explores a scenario in which gender power dynamics are, in one major change, completely shifted. Young girls across the world start developing the an electrostatic power – the power to electrocute at will, to tickle, maim or kill at the flick of their fingers. We follow a tight group of characters who help us chart a slowly changing world.

I first dipped a toe into The Power months ago. When I first signed up to Audible it was the first thing I downloaded before realising I don’t get along with new-to-me fiction as an audiobook experience. Great as audiobooks are, they work better with nonfiction for me. However, I was enthralled by the premise of the book, and have had it in mind ever since. When the paperback cover was revealed I decided, pretty as it is, that I wanted the hardback, which is gorgeous. Also with the hardback, you get two covers to enjoy, the dust jacket and the hardcover underneath.

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Chit Chat

I don’t have anything to review this week, so this is just going to be a general life catch-up and witter. This year seems to be going very fast – and I’m sure I say this every single year, but honestly, are we actually really truly (over) halfway through April? Where is time going and how can I get it back?Read More »

Reading… lots of things, slowly

I have yet to finish a book in April. In some ways that makes me sad. GoodReads informs me that I’m four books ‘ahead’ of my target. But for the most part, it isn’t that I haven’t been reading, it’s just that I’m reading more things slowly.

Over the past couple of years since I’ve been setting myself reading goals, my habits have changed. One of the first things I found when I made reading a deliberate action rather than a fortunate occurrence was that I actually finish more books if read them one at a time. Focus is good for me. Perhaps this is related to how much I invest in what I’m reading – reading just one thing is less exhausting. That is particularly pertinent to fiction in some ways, but equally, non-fiction takes a certain amount of attention just to be able to absorb the information and follow the arguments a writer is making.Read More »

March Wrap Up (2017)

Continuing the theme from February, my reading this month has felt scattered. I’ve only felt really sunk into a few books – even ones I did really enjoy I read at such a pace that I never quite settled into that feeling. I’ve been a bit all over the place generally this month, so it makes sense for that to be reflected in my reading. I’m really hoping that in April, with a break from Uni, I’ll start to feel a bit more organised again, and a bit more satisfied in what I’m reading.Read More »

Reading Emotionally

Last month I attended a talk about fiction and empathy with the lovely Books inter alia, at which a panel of speakers from neurologists to novelists spoke about empathy as it related to their field of practice. While empathetic reading is incredibly interesting, I found myself linking these subjects up with thoughts I’ve had for a lot longer about emotional engagements with fiction. Empathy is our way in – characters and plot lines we cannot in any way empathise with are bound to struggle. Empathy is a vehicle for investment.

READING AND FEELING

As emotional responses to fiction go, I have quite strong ones. Really good fiction will make me cry, or bounce around in joy, or spend fifteen minutes staring at a wall. I want a piece of fiction to elicit something personal. Read More »

Review: The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

This will be a very brief review. My schedule has gone a little wonky this week, but I’m trying to get back on track.

First impressions are important, but odd. This book is one that took me a while to get into – the prose is thick with description and lyrical to read, the backstories are complex and intricate. Yet there are other books I got into much more easily which in the end, I liked less. I really enjoyed this.

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