I began the year with the goal of finishing the remaining 34 books on the BBC Big Read Top 200. I wasn’t feeling too confident about achieving this, but a visit to the library this week has renewed my belief that I can do it!
If I don’t make it, I blame* Angela for distracting me from the list with the final installment in Laini Taylor’s amazing Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. I have never ever ever anticipated the release of a book so much as with Dreams of Gods and Monsters, and it did not disappoint. I loved it, and though beyond-sad to have finished, think she exceeded expectations and ended the trilogy in the perfect way. It was funny, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching and tear-inducing all at the same time; I had papilio stomachus (fans will know what I’m talkin’ about…others will just have to read the series) on numerous occasions. I loved feisty Zuzana (our little rabid fairy) and generous-of-spirit Ziri, and Liraz…beautiful, beautiful Liraz emerged as a surprising-yet-not-surprising favourite. There were parts I didn’t see coming, and situations I’d have liked to see (but didn’t change the story at all, or reduce my enjoyment of it), and Laini didn’t disappoint with her style of writing, story-telling or cleverness. Visit Angela and Sarah to find out what they thought (spoiler alert: they LOVED IT TOO).
After finishing DOGAM, I returned to House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski. This took me much longer to read than I expected, purely because it was the strangest book I think I’ve ever read. It was good-strange in story, and confusing-strange in style, and on one occasion I had to resort to using google to reassure myself that it really was a work of fiction. I’ll be writing a review for 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, so keep an eye out for more on this crazy novel soon.
After finishing House of Leaves, which left my brain feeling a little bit ouchie, I started on Kerre Woodham’s Short Fat Chick in Paris, which is a much easier, less thinky read. It’s not on the list, but I needed something banal after working so hard previously. It’s actually better than I expected, and interesting to read as someone who always entertains the idea of getting back into running but never quite makes it past the first run.
After our visit to the library, I’ve just finished The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. I had no idea what this was about, and when I saw the slim little book on the shelf, I was doubtful as to its place on the Big Read list. However, only a few pages in, I understood. The Old Man and the Sea is a fable, set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana. It features an old fisherman, Santiago, his young friend, Manolin, and a beautiful, gigantic marlin; in just 99 pages, I ran through a gauntlet of emotions ranging from excited happiness, to deflated grief. It is amazing how much of a story can be told in so few pages, and with so few characters. You can read Tori’s great review on 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.
*not really. I could have said, “No thanks!” Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha