Friday, 15 March 2019

March reading (2019)

I haven't actually read a book all year, just listened to someone reading them to me. I just love that. I always listen to a sample of a book to make sure I like the narrator's voice. Some voices are more pleasant to listen to than other.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This was our book group read. I am not sure if I'll continue going along. I am really keen to talk about a book at great length but we don't really do that and I feel a bit silly saying repeatedly "going back to book, what did you....". It makes me feel old. Anyway, I loved this book but I found it quite difficult to listen to. I wanted to shake Kambili (15) and shout at her to wake up and turn her life around. Easier said than done. Kambili is the voice of the book. She and her brother Jaja lead a privileged, extremely sheltered life in Enugu in Nigeria. Their father is a well respected rich factory owner. He is also fanatically religious and an abuser of his children and wife. Just writing about it makes me want to scream. The book is set in a time where Nigeria begins to fall apart under a military coup. At one point, Kambili and Jaja are allowed to visit their aunt, a university lecturer, and it is during this visit that both teenagers get a glimpse of what a normal life not dominated by religion and abuse might look like. Upon their return home, tensions in the family escalate... I won't give away more. If you are feeling a bit fragile, it might not be your book of choice. I had to put it down a few times to digest what was happening, not able to continue for a few days.

The Humans by Matt Haig
This was fun to listen to and I had a few laughing out loud moments, much to the amusement of those noticing me. It is a book about humanity and alien superiority (as seen by the aliens that is). The book begins with the main character dying after having solved a mathematical problem that could bring great technological progress for people. On the grand scheme of galactic life, humans are seen as barbaric and unrefined, and definitely not ready for technological advances that solving of this mathematical problem allows. Hence the need to eliminate all knowledge of the problem solved. An alien entity is sent to take over the body of Professor Andrew Martin, tasked to eliminate everybody in the know, no matter how peripherally. As you can imagine, suddenly being in the body of a human and with only minimal understanding of human behaviour, culture and society throws up some problems for the alien entity. The minimal knowledge is also largely wrong. As the alien learns more about humanity, he is less and less convinced that his mission is necessary or justified. He acknowledges that his actions are seen necessary by his masters because of a profound misunderstanding of humanity interpreted by a "people" so different, they cannot possible grasp what it means to be human.

The relentless tide by Denzil Meyrick.
This is the 6th book in the DCI Daley crime series. I have written about this series here, if you are interested in the series as a whole. In this book, past events collide with events in the present when in a Viking grave, far more modern skeletons are discovered. It just so happens that the victims are identified as three missing women, murdered in the early 1990s when DCI Daley was still a newbie police officer. I enjoyed this book, the narration was superb and the plot managed to keep me interested to the end.

I was a bit at a loss then for my next book so looked what other books the narrator of the DCI Daley book had performed. David Monteith, if you are wondering.

The sea detective by Mark Douglas-Home.
I chose this book for the narrator, not because I was particularly intrigued by the plot. The main character is Cal McGill, who is described as an Edinburgh based oceanographer, environmentalist and one-of-a-kind investigator. There are several storylines in this book, one being that of sex trafficking, the other of McGill's own family history and the final one that of dismembered feet washing up on the shores of Scottish beaches. The first and last overlap, but the storyline of Cal's family past is more separate. I enjoyed this overall but found the portrait of isolated Scottish coastal communities rather bleak and unpleasant. The characters are quite black and white, and could maybe be a bit more nuanced.

I also read "The woman who walked into the sea" by the same author. It is another Cal McGill sea detective book. Once more, we are in an isolated and rather destitute small coastal community. The plot was ok but not great. We meet Violet who was abandoned as a newborn on the front steps of a local hospital shortly before her mother committed suicide by walking into the sea. Violet tries to unravel the secrets surrounding her mothers death and of course Cal gets involved.... I thought Violet's relationship with her adoptive parents was poorly elaborated, which (as an adoptive mother) bothered me greatly. Alas, it was a pleasant enough book that kept me entertained for a while.

I am currently listening to Melanie Reid's "The world I fell out of"I listened to an interview with Melanie Reid on Woman's Hour and thought I might enjoy her book. And I do, what an emotional rollercoaster. More in my next book post. I don't read many autobiographies, they can be a bit self-indulgent, but this book is a bit different. 

Next, I am planning to read "We are displaced" by Malala Yousafzai. 

How about you?  What are you reading just now? What is your favourite genre?

Wishing you all a happy weekend. 

Christina xx


  1. Oooh, some books to add to my list! Thank you. I loved Purple Hibiscus, even though it was so painful. I think the writing was beautiful. I am currently reading Say Nothing by Patrick Keefe, which is a nonfiction book about the Troubles in Northern Ireland. So far, it is excellent. I am loving how he is making everyone sympathetic and isn't demonizing any of the people he is writing about. I recently finished Michelle Obama's Becoming (even though I kind of stalled near the end because I didn't want to leave the Obama administration and face what we are dealing with today). I also just reread (for the I don't know how many times) Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma, and Sense & Sensibility. I will get back to Austen with Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey when I finish Say Nothing. I don't think I can pick a favorite genre. Happy reading!!

  2. Sue does all of her reading via audible and other sources, so I will pass this along to her. I read some books this way. I have put DCI Daley on my wish list, if only I cna remember why when the time comes.

  3. I don’t think I have a favorite genre. I’m in a very picky stage of reading. Books that others rave about barely hold my attention. I enjoy listening to books. My commute to work is twenty minutes, perfect for listening to a book. The last one I listened to was No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol. I enjoyed it. I also finished reading A Visit From the Goon Squad and liked it too. I’m not sure what I’ll read next.

  4. Thank you for the recommendations, it's always lovely to discover a 'new to me' author. I'm currently reading a biography of Alan Turing and also listening to 'A Discovery of Witches' on Audible. I should have taken your advice on paying more attention to the sample, however, as I'm finding the narrator's accent rather annoying! Have a lovely weekend. xx

  5. oh goodness.. these are such lovely books to add to my reading list for when i get a chance to open one other than what is on our homeschool curriculum. - thank you for the recommendations. xx

  6. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. I enjoyed Purple Hibiscus and share your opinion of book group. I struggle through a book sometimes only to discover thta most others haven’t bothered and so the talk doesn’t centre on the book at all. I read an article by Melanie Reid in a magazine and have put the book on my wish list and at the library request list. Happy reading.

  8. I haven't read any of those books so thanks for your reviews. Would have to say my go-to genre is Scandi crime, the more noir the better. Currently reading from the shelves as I've given up book buying for Lent (that's a killer, btw). Book at bedtime is Sophie Hannah's Lasting Damage which I'm fairly sure I've already read. Happens to me all the time these days. Have a good weekend.

  9. I've just finished a fantasy book I really enjoyed, the first of three - A Darker Shade of Magic. I have another crime to start later. I'm not really sure what my favourite genre is, but I do love classics and fantasy, with crime a close third perhaps!

    I haven't read any of the books you've listed, but I did buy The Humans last week - it popped up on Amazon for £2 so I thought I'd try it!

  10. I have been using my iPad lately for reading but getting books to read from my library app. Just finished Reservoir 13 about a village where a young girl goes missing. It’s written in a very unusual way and took some time to get into. Now I’m reading Sally Vicker’s ‘Librarian’ which I’m enjoying more. If I listen to an audio book I too have to like the readers voice too. A lot of them can be quite off putting. Hope your weekend is going well. B x

  11. I think it's neat you listen to books.. I have yet to try that. I actually think reading silently is more my style.. but should give it a try. The last book I started had such a boring start that I haven't read a word in months. It might have to do with being in a CAL.. lol.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  12. Audio is becoming more popular I think, it's a great way to read while you're doing mundane things. I need to sort out a way to do this, it's a really good idea. I'm trying a Michael Connelly book at the moment. I read about him being a top crime writer and realised I'd never read any of his work. Not bad, but not memorable. And I'm reading Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree to the children, which has been a bit of a slog, but at the same time we're persevering as we want to know what happens. I think we'll be glad when we finally get to the thrilling (?) denouement though. Have a good Sunday. CJ xx

  13. Love the suggestions. Happy reading or should I say happy listening.

  14. Christina, I have only listened to a few audio-books, but know many, like yourself, who enjoy them especially when they are on long trips. personally, I use my Kindle or a library book and have recently finished two historical fiction books by Fiona Davis, bth of which I enjoyed. I'm now reading the Wrecking Crew about musicians in the 1960s who played behind the scenes for many popular groups.

  15. Some interesting sounding books... I must try listening to books sometime

  16. I have a massive book pile at the moment. I keep looking at Becoming by Michelle Obama which I really want to get stuck into but its finding the time! I did read the Paris Wife by Paula McLain which I enjoyed about Ernest Hemmingway's second wife! Anyway a massive thanks for all the suggestions it is my intention to become a better reader!
    Wren x

  17. I understand how you feel about discussion time at bookclubs. It can be sadly very short indeed. We have a meal in the pub first and the questions are answered very quickly. Purple Hibiscus I found deeply disturbing, making me very angry at times with the abusive family life. I never choose to watch programs or read books with domestic violence in as it's too distressing. Having said that for the purpose of a bookclub discussion, at times when
    discussing such books, we've altered the direction of discussion - eg a few members have suffered this first hand or grown up in a violent, volitile abusive home. Some subjects will cause discomfort, particularly child murders to members with young children.
    It's a shame we don't live closer as I do prefer a better chat about books. The gypsy one I wrote about listening to on my blog - The Invicible Ones, I still can't understand the ending - it's the marriage and what was found in the trailor, knowing that somebody knew. I'm at a total loss to lay it to rest. Cx


Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx