Weekly Reading Blog #41: 20th – 26th January 2020.

Monday 20th January

09:47: Happy Monday! Welcome to another weekly reading blog. I’m off today and I’m working Thursday instead so I’m making the best use of a kinda unexpected day off by drinking copious amounts of coffee and fitting in as much reading as I possibly can.

I’ve started off pretty strong by finishing my first book of the week, my audiobook copy of Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and the Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow.I kinda fell into this book and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get back out. WHAT A BOOK! I’m going straight with my rating on this one, 5 stars. Is this a perfect book? No. I’ll explain everything that’s wrong with this book but despite this I still think this book deserves 5 stars.

This is a nonfiction following Ronan Farrow, an investigative reporter trying to publish a news piece on Harvey Weinstein and his sexual assaults.

I’m gonna lead with the things I didn’t like so much about this book. I didn’t like that Farrow, intentionally or not, put himself at the centre of this story. It felt slightly like a guilt piece written off the back of his obvious turbulent relationship with his sister who never got justice for their father Woody Allen raping her as a child. It also felt slightly like he was taking a lot of credit for getting this story out there when I believe the credit goes 100% to those brave victims who came forward and told their harrowing stories, his multiple statements that the victims were the centrepiece seemed a juxtaposition to the story itself that was slightly, in my opinion, egocentric.

Despite those points, this book reads like a thriller. They say real life is stranger than fiction and in this case, I can fully agree. The fact that we live in a world where such power dynamics openly happen is terrifying. I’m trying to leave this as a book review and not a commentary on society at large but this book makes it hard because it’s so thought provoking. This is a story within a story that unravels to reveal more and more. At first sight this is a book about woman abused in appalling ways but opens up to such dizzying heights of corruption in the film industry and the media at large. And contradictory to my negative points of this book, I found the struggle of Ronan with his family dynamics such an emotional part of this book.

I think this book had so many angles and so many turning point that it could have easily become a mess but it manages to stay on point and round off the information well. I’ve read quite a few reviews of this book where people have said that they actively didn’t like this book because of the amount of information in it, transcripts, police reports, text messages, emails… but I found all of that brought you back to reality a bit and made me realise that this was really happening. And honestly, at some points in this book you will question if this actually is a nonfiction.

This book is hard hitting and important. I truly believe that the victims wanted their stories out there and this is just an extension of that. If you can get through the web of other things that came with this story and leave with anything it is those victims, is that they get justice and the industry and society as a whole learns you can’t turn a blind eye, because doing nothing is just as bad as encourage acts such as this. I’m really emotional after reading this and that’s why I think this is a 5 star book. I would like to read more around this subject but from the the women involved so I’ll have to see what’s out there.

And balancing on the nonfiction high, I’m going to pick up another; Unbelievable by T.Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong. I’ll be back later when I have an update.

17:22: I’ve finished Unbelievable.This is the nonfiction story of a woman who was coerced into saying she lied about a rape and the serial rapist who nearly got away with it. This is obviously a very sensitive and heavy story, from what I can tell the authors did a good job of portraying it but obviously they weren’t there so they can only go off what they’ve researched. Because of this I found the book a little dry and almost like it was lacking emotion which I enjoy in my nonfiction. I gave this 4 stars.

I’m not sure what I’m gonna read next, I’m probably gonna take a break for tonight and I’ll pick something tomorrow, so I’ll see you then.

Tuesday 21st January

10:51: I’m just on my way into work and I thought I’d give you an update on what I’m reading, mainly because I’m proud I’ve actually picked up a book before work and not just laid in bed till 10 minutes before I have to leave. I’ve picked up The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid.

This book is about Changez, a Pakistani man recounting to an uneasy American stranger of his life as a Princeton graduate working and finding love and high society in New York. This his plan until the 9/11 attacks happened and he started to feel like a stranger in a city had felt like home to him. With a shift in the state of his life, he finds his own views also shifting finding alliances more important than money, power and maybe even love.

I’m currently about 25% through this book and from reading the synopsis I know this book is going to be both an interesting and hard read. I’m so interested in reading books based in fact, almost historical fiction such as those of Khaled Hosseini. I have really high hopes for this book so I hope it’s going to be fantastic, it’s feeling that way so far. I’m slightly annoyed that I have to work and can’t just sit at home and read. Still, it’s always good to be reading a book that makes you feel that way! I’ll speak to you all soon, probably tomorrow let’s face it!

Wednesday 22nd January

08:12: Good morning and happy Wednesday! This is my last day off before 6 days in work for me so I’m really planning on making the most of it. So far this morning I’ve finished…The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. This is honestly unlike any book I’ve read before and there’s this twist that absolutely blew my mind even though it was so subtly done. The writing in this book was fabulous and I can’t recommend this book enough if you want to read something a bit different. I’ve given this one 4 stars.

I’m now picking up Little Women by Louisa Alcott. This is a classic set in the 19th century about 4 sisters as teenagers and then as adult women. It’s one of those classics I’ve wanted to pick up but not desperately. When the film came out I thought it looked really cute. I want to read the book before I see the adaptation so here I am doing it. Thanks to my local library for having the audiobook on its overdrive, I’m currently 5 chapters in and I’m loving it so far, far more than I thought I would so I’m hoping this will carry on. I’ll be back when I’ve got more to say!

Thursday 23rd January

09:44: I’ve just finished Little Women by Louisa Alcott and I have feelings. I get the inkling that books like these are why people see history through rose coloured glasses and think the old ways are the best ways. I say this because this book is SO LOVELY. I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I picked this up but it gave me the same feeling as Pride and Prejudice which I adore. Can I see why people don’t like it? Yes! It’s very flowery, which I enjoy but I can see being utterly annoying to other people. It’s very of it’s time with the role of women and although probably forward thinking of it’s time it certainly ain’t now. Saying this, for me I have to take it as a period piece and enjoy it despite the couple of bits in this that made me cringe as someone in 2020 and not the 19th Century.I think the main thing I love in this book are the relationships, I love the connections that surround these 4 sisters and how relationships move and change as the girl become women. I like also that this book looks at changing views and how the social climate was at the time. For me, it’s like 90% about the romance and Jo and her relationships were a highlight for me. I feel so sad to have finished this book, it was like being wrapped in a blanket and I loved being in this world. I’m giving this 4.5 stars. I’m now gonna pick up a book I bought this morning, Those People by Louise Candlish.

Friday 24th January

10:56: Happy Friday lovely people. I managed to fit in a couple of chapters of Those People by Louise Candlish yesterday and I’m really enjoying it so far. I think it’s gonna have a feel to it like Big Little Lies and I’m excited.

I wanted to pick up an audiobook yesterday on my break so I picked up A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I wanted to pick this up because I loved the adaptation that the BBC did over Christmas last year and my husband showed me a Muppet’s Christmas Carol for the first time which is just EVERYTHING! And I’m happy to say I finished it off this morning.This follows Scrouge, a debt collector who is very mean and has no Christmas spirit. He’s visited by Christmas ghosts that show him the errors of his way. This was a lot shorter than I was expecting it to be but it really packed a punch. I gave this 4 stars. It’s made me want to pick up more Charles Dickens and I think Oliver Twist is next on the list. I liked it so much more than I think I would because I listened to it in audiobook form. I think it’s just so much easier to pick it up when someone is reading it how it’s meant to be read. I sometimes really struggle with the language in classics so it’s such a joy to be able to love books that people have for many years.

Ok I’ve finished waffling and I’m off to work now. Probably not gonna get much reading done for the rest of the week now; since it’s my weekend but I would love to get in one more book before Sunday, we shall see!

Sunday 26th January

20:35: So guys, I didn’t manage to finish another book this weekend, I did try though. I’m about 75% through Those People by Louise Candlish, not fully into this book to be honest with you; I’m just finding it a bit over dramatic and a bit boring. But who knows, by the end I might love it.

I also picked up Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin.This is a companion book to the tv series of his travels. If you don’t know, Michael Palin is not only a comedy genius being in the very successful Monty Python team but also a fantastic travel journalist. I’ve read quite a few of his books before and I’ve always really liked them. This one is especially fun for me because he started his travels on the day I was born which is pretty fun. It’s almost like reading a history book now, 31 years later. I’m currently about 1/3rd of the way through and I’m looking forward to carrying this on next week.

Now is the time for my weekly wrap up. I read 5 books this week, which isn’t the most I’ve ever read but I feel like I’ve read some real quality books this week that I’ve really enjoyed. I honestly don’t have a least favourite this week, I don’t think I’ve read anything under a 4 star read.

I think my favourite read of the week was Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, I would have believed you if you’d said this was a fiction book because it was crazy! I really enjoyed the audiobook and I’m so glad I got to read it, it also made me realise how much I enjoy books about investigative journalism and look forward to reading more books of this genre in the future.

Finally, I’m taking Around the World in 80 Days by Michael Palin and Those People by Louise Candlish into next week. Thank you so much for joining me for another weekly reading blog and I’ll see you all next week!


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