Lurid & Cute

 Adam Thirlwell’s Lurid and Cute is his third novel and is the first since being awarded title of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2013. It is because of this you can be forgiven for having spectacularly high hopes for this novel and in principle it is clearly a feat of good workmanship.

The tale of the narrator opens out as he struggles, like most young adults trying to find their place in a world that has clearly promised too much and not quite delivered enough, to find the correct balance with his wife, friends and the parents he lives with. Sex, drugs and not a great deal of rock n roll feature heavily, and while the story itself plays out to be quite interesting and quickly jumps from morally ambiguous to sheer depravity I did struggle with the unfocussed and often tricky structure which, although clearly an effect to bring the reader closer to the imbalanced narrator, actually removes the reader further from the situation (or it did me at least!).

I was having to read a minimum of 20 pages to even really get involved with the story and, unlike my usual reading style, I could not have ANY distractions without losing the will to read. The anti-page turner if you will.

Probably one that fans of Thirlwell will appreciate (dark, melancholic) but certainly not something I would recommend for the commute.

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Reading Challenge?

January means it must be a New Year – unless I’ve missed something while pub hopping in Dublin for a few days – and New Year means resolutions. Just like everyone else I am terrible with resolutions. For example, it is the 8th January and I have still only downloaded the Couch to 5K App. Downloading is not running, apparently.

There is one thing I am good at though and that is reading so, although I am hoping to be busy and therefore not quite so intense on the reading, I would like to jump on the bandwagon of book challenges. But which??

Thanks to the joy of Pinterest there are just so many to choose from. Do I go on a list of books already created (65 Books You Need To Read in Your 20’s) or the likes of a book ‘challenge’ where you are prompted to read a book based on certain criteria (2015 Book Challenge)?

While I mull this over and finish the two books I already have on the go please feel free to hit me with recommendations of books or book challenges you are trying out this year.

S x

A Very Merry Christmas and a Sparkling New Year

Now seems as good a time as any to wrap up this year and the ridiculous level of reading I have done.

Although I have always loved reading it only really become prolific when I went on a lovely jaunt to Spain and started to use reading to leave reality and homesickness. A friend’s dad once said that he didn’t read fiction because this world has enough going on in it for him… and while I am a happy bunny with my lot, most of the time, I think it is amazing that you can pick up a book and be transported wherever the author decides to send you. Reality is not enough for me it seems.

So, for me reading is escapism and my read list this year probably shows I have needed to do a lot of that. (Books number 46 and 47* are currently still being read but I am sure they will hit the list before 2015 graces us with its presence.)

BUT 2015 is already starting to take form and a new job is on the horizon so reading in office hours will not be required. Yey!

All the same I intend on documenting 2015 in the same way, via books, and hope that the few lovely folk who read this prattle will join me for the ride (Hi Mum!! *waves*)

Have a very Merry Christmas and a sparkling New Year.

Roll on 2015 and whatever it decides to throw at us

xx

The Here and Now

This is a super short review for a book that didn’t spark my imagination particularly.

With a dystopian future upon them, Prenna’s family are sent back to live their lives in the 2000’s, hundreds of years prior to the break down of their version of earth. What isn’t quite clear is what those chosen to go back are actually doing to fix the ever looming problem of their doomed future.

Time travel, forbidden romance and a looming apocalyptic future are all ingredients for a classic YA novel however as Bushares’ female protagonist becomes involved with a ‘time native’ and is quickly embroiled in a ‘save the world’ escapade the story is often left on the cusp of becoming too clichéd to take this one from generic YA fiction to a cut above the rest.

While not the best available in its field I would say this book will appeal to the teen audience but the highly obvious love story and flawed, sometimes rushed, story line just didn’t do it for me.

Short

 The struggle continues to keep my sanity in check both in work and out of it. Some very heavy reading of late has left me in the following situation… reading a Sophie Kinsella fluffy book (again, fluffy is said with love) and also dipping my toe into short stories again.

 The last collection of short stories I read was Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlife by David Eagleman which completely blew my mind. The premise for the book was different than other short story collections mainly because the theme was rather rigid and they were all written by Eagleman himself. This was something I read about 3 years ago and haven’t gone back there for a while but I imagine the feelings would still be the same. My mind was blown. He is so imaginative in his afterlife tales and on the whole the book left me wondering… what if?

Yes, I am probably going to go home and read it again in one sitting. Beware friends, I will force this book on you if I didn’t last time!

 Another collection I enjoyed featured and was introduced by Haruki Murakami, the author, and king, of Japanese Surrealism and all things jazz and running! I believe a friend bought me this for a birthday gift whilst I was at university due to my phase of reading a lot of his books (Dance Dance Dance or Norwegian Wood are my top two Murakami novels) – the title of the book being: Birthday Stories.

I really enjoyed the collection and it opened up short stories to me.  

 So here I am reading Six Shorts 2014: The Finalists for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Awards. It was made available on Amazon the day the short list was announced (which I missed, dramatically) which I think is such a wonderful idea! It gives everyone the chance to read them, have an opinion, share them and potentially look into other work by these authors! I am 3 in so far, one of them I loved, the two were pretty good and I may do a full ramble on each when I have finished the small collection.

 The main thing for me with short stories is what is not said. The skill it takes to keep a story short, whether that is a full story or a snap shot in time, should be applauded. The key to a good short story seems to be to provoke thought, to let the reader wander off with what could or should happen after the full stop has dropped and nothing else is said by the author.

To wrap up:

Read short stories

Really really read Sum. It is magical.

I am still going crackers (and this is only okay if cheese is involved)