As I may have mentioned before, monthly wrap ups don’t really work for me because my reading pattern is so erratic. Because of that, I decided to do one of these posts every three months instead (for now, at least). If you’re interested, you can read my first wrap-up here.
I’ll start off with a brief update on the books I said I was currently reading in the last post. First off there’s The Lies of Locke Lamora, which is still on my currently reading pile. I haven’t abandoned this one, it’s just that I’ve had other books that I’ve had to read. I’m sure I’ll be picking this one up again soon. I also said I was reading The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch, which was an assigned book for my Haunting the Contemporary module. I DNF’d this book. I was about 200 pages or so into it, and nothing was happening, and there were other books that I wanted to read more. I might pick this one up again in the distant future, but for the moment I don’t feel bad about not finishing it.
Now onto the books I actually have read!
I read Half Lost by Sally Green, the concluding book in the Half Bad trilogy, and one of my most anticipated releases of this year. I ended up being massively disappointed by this one. I have written a full review of this book, so I won’t say any more about it here, but I gave Half Lost 2 stars.
I then read several books for my Haunting the Contemporary module, the first of these being The Sea by John Banville, which is about a man who, after the death of his wife, returns to the seaside town where he used to holiday as a child. I ended up really liking this book, as I thought Banville’s writing was wonderful. His descriptions were very vivid, and I found it easy to get immersed in the book. The book moves through several stages of the narrators life, jumping around without warning, which a few people in my class found disconcerting, but I really liked this technique. As an aside, I wrote my final essay for this class on this book and got a really good mark, so perhaps that’s warmed me to it as well 😉 I gave The Sea 4 stars.
I moved on to read Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, and this is the first book I’ve ever read by her. Her Fearful Symmetry is about a pair of twins, Julia and Valentina, whose aunt dies and leaves them her flat near Highgate Cemetery in London, on the condition that their mother and father never set foot in it. I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, but I did quite like it. Despite its considerable length, I got through it in about two or three sittings. The writing is accessible and easy to get through (which often wasn’t the case for other books on this module). I did find some of the things in this book a little ridiculous at first, but it took a very surprising dark turn at the end, which almost made me feel like I was reading a different book entirely. I ended up giving this book 3 stars.
The last book I read for this module was The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor, which is about a little girl whose family is forced to move out of Ireland, but Lucy doesn’t want to go. She does something to try and make the family stay, but it goes very, very wrong. The rest of the book deals with the family’s lives after Lucy’s transgressive act. This was an incredibly depressing book, but it didn’t move me to tears. In fact, I felt almost distanced from it, because I couldn’t understand why Lucy continued to punish herself for something she did when she was eight years old long into her adult life. Because of this disconnect, I couldn’t get immersed in the emotional aspects of the story, and I ended up giving it 2 stars.
I read another one of my most anticipated releases of this year: The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, the concluding book in The Winner’s Trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and gave it 5 stars. You can read my full review here.
Back on the MA side of things, we were all paired up with our dissertation supervisors and were told to make initial meetings with them. This finally managed to gave me the kick up the backside I needed to motivate myself to actually read books for my dissertation, and my supervisor also recommended a few books for me to look into. The first book I read is one that I’ll be writing on, and that was Carrie by Stephen King. Perhaps unbelievably, I had never read Carrie before, though I did know almost everything about its plot. I really enjoyed reading another Stephen King book, and was pleasantly surprised by Carrie. Despite knowing that I enjoy King’s writing I had anticipated that, because this was his first book, there’d be a dip in quality, but that absolutely wasn’t the case. I flew through this book, and gave it 4 stars.
I also read The Girl Who Couldn’t Read, another book I did a full review on, and one that I’ll be talking about briefly in my dissertation. I gave this 3 stars, though it’s very close to a 4 star book for me.
I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, a book I’d been meaning to read since I read and enjoyed The Haunting of Hill House. I loved this book, the characters were so brilliantly written. Merricat, the protagonist, is wonderfully creepy. I loved her relationship with her sister, and their very bizarre family unit. Jackson’s writing is brilliant, and I’m so glad she has so many more books for me to discover. I gave this 4 stars but to be honest, I’ll probably end up bumping it up to 5 stars.
Another book that I’m definitely writing on for my dissertation is The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. For whatever reason, I had no idea that this was a book (and, confession time: I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the film all the way through). This was another one where I knew almost everything that as going to happen, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The writing admittedly wasn’t brilliant, and it did drag in parts, but time hasn’t made this book any less shocking. Ultimately I actually think this is one of those books that’s definitely better suited to the visual format. I ended up giving The Exorcist 3 stars.
As you might know from my Holiday TBR, I went to Greece for a week with Julianne, and I’m pleased to say that I got through the vast majority of the books I intended to read! I’ll be doing full reviews of all of these books over the next few weeks, so very quickly: I gave Sofia Khan is Not Obliged 4 stars; Since You’ve Been Gone 3 stars; A Court of Mist and Fury 3 stars, and I already have a review of this book up here, and finally I gave A Darker Shade of Magic 4 stars. I also finished up its sequel, A Gathering of Shadows over the weekend, which was technically July, but given that I read most of it in June I’m going to include it here, so I also gave A Gathering of Shadows 4 stars.
So those are all the books I read between April and June! I’ve read 26 books so far this year, so I’m just over half way through my reading challenge. I’ll briefly mention the books that I’m currently reading (or at least, the ones that are on my currently reading shelf on Goodreads). I’ve already mentioned The Lies of Locke Lamora, and I’m still not done with House of Leaves, but I haven’t picked it up in a while. I’m also currently reading Interview with the Vampire, this was a potential dissertation book, though I’ve decided not to write on it, I figure I’d read it anyway. I’m hoping to get through all these books over the next month, but I’m also hoping to reread The Passage and The Twelve so I can finally read The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin, so…we’ll see.
Please let me know if you’d like to see full reviews of any of these books! 🙂