Weekly Reading Blog #47: 2nd – 8th March 2020.

Monday 2nd March

07:06 Good morning and welcome back to another weekly reading blog. It’s blooming cold this morning, glad I bought some gloves last week cause I don’t think we’re out of the cold weather yet!

I’m bringing one book into this week from last; Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami. I’m currently half way through this book, which is a reread but one I can’t remember at all. I’m really enjoying it so far.

I also started an audiobook this morning because I had to edit last week’s reading blog but I still wanted to read, so I’m currently listening to Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd. This is a nonfiction book about a forensic pathologist and after only a couple of chapters; I’m really interested in the book so far. So as always, I’ll be back when I’ve got a reading update!

19:09 Hello! I’ve spent a couple of hours reading Sputnik Sweetheart tonight with the aid of this gorgeous ASMR rainy window video on YouTube that really helped me focus – and I’ve finished the book.This is such a gorgeous story of a young girl, Sumire; who spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend about the woman, 17 years older than her that’s she’s fallen in love with. All changes when the older woman phones the best friend to tell him that Sumire has mysteriously disappeared.

This is an onion of a book, each page unravelled a new feeling, a new mystery, how we never really know each other, how we never really know ourselves. The magical realism in this book is fantastic and I was quickly pulled in. Still, I wanted to take my time with this and I spent quite a lot of time going back and reading paragraphs, taking in the heartbreaking beauty of this book. I’m also incredibly happy that I highlighted my favourite quotes in this so I can go back again and read his beautiful words. Of course this is a 5 star read for me!

I’m now picking up Desire by Haruki Murakami because I’m obsessed! This is a short story and I haven’t even read the synopsis; so I am excited! And I’ll be back when I’ve read it. Also I’ve listened to a couple more chapters of Unnatural Causes and I’m still really enjoying it, it’s making me want to go back to university and train to be a forensic pathologist but we all know I haven’t got the patience for that!

Tuesday 3rd March

10:37 Happy Tuesday lovely people! This morning I picked up Desire by Haruki Murakami and finished it.This is a tiny wee book of 5 short stories all focusing on different aspect of desire. I absolutely adored the first story in this collection, it was great but the rest weren’t for me. I gave this 2 stars.

I’m now just over halfway through Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd and this audiobook is so addictive, I’m really enjoying listening to it. I’ve also started another Murakami (is anyone even shocked anymore?); South of the Border, West of the Sun! I’ll hopefully be back tomorrow with an update, but I don’t want to jinx myself by saying I absolutely will be.

Wednesday 4th March

09:02 It’s hump day and I’m off today and tomorrow which hopefully means lots of reading. This morning I finished the fascinating Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd. This is a nonfiction book about Dr Shepherd’s life as a forensic pathologist and it is fascinating! In this we follow the big cases he worked on such as the victims of Harold Shipman, terrorist attacks including 9/11 and the death of Princess Diana along with his own life. All of this morphs into this fascinating book about medicine, death, life, politics, family and such an interesting section on plans for mass death (such as a outbreak of a disease) and how bodies should be dealt with. I love how much he writes about the importance of respecting the dead. I also really enjoyed that even something as scientific as pathology can be questionable and twisted in different ways. I’m giving this 5 stars.

Today I will be carrying on with South of the Border, West of the Sun but I need to clean my house this morning so I’m gonna pick up another audiobook so the books don’t have to stop! I’ll be back later with an update!

10:17 I picked up the audiobook of…Night of the Living Dead by John Russo. I’ve never seen the film but I like zombies so I thought I’d give it a go. In my opinion it was ok, not really frightening and no where near long enough to build up any atmosphere but it was a quick read!

I’m going back to Murakami now!

16:07 I’ve finished South of the Border, West of the Sun.I think I’ve been calling this the wrong name the whole way through this blog, but I got there eventually. This book is about a man who is best friends with a girl when he’s a kid but they loose touch after his family moves away. In his 30s he’s successful, happily married with kids and a good business. Then his childhood friend comes back into his life, shrouded in mystery and he is catapulted into the past, putting everything he has now at risk.

This was very angst driven from what I can tell from the Murakami books I’ve read so far and I really liked it. Not much happens in this book, but it felt so real and the more I think about it, the more I realise how emotionally strong this book was. As always, beautifully written and not one I’ve heard a great deal about before which is a shame. You should read this. 4 stars!

I’m taking a little break from Murakami now and I’m picking up East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

Friday 6th March

06:59 Good morning and happy Friyay (honestly, my favourite way to say Friday when I’m off on a Saturday). I’m on my way into work now so I thought I’d give you all a reading update.

I haven’t finished anything since I last spoke to you but I am currently reading 3 books. Firstly I’m reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I’ve decided this book up into 30 page sections that I’m going to read one a day of for the rest of the month. I’m mainly doing this because I’m a bit intimidated by this book, not so much the size, more that it’s a classic but 30 page sections seems more attainable.

Secondly I’ve picked up All The Rage by Cara Hunter. This is the 4th book in the DI Adam Fawley police detective books. I’ve not read book 2 and 3 but all the books can be read as standalone books. I’m really close to finishing this book and I’m really enjoying it so far.

Finally, because of who I am I picked up the audiobook of Joyride by Anna Banks. I think this is a YA romance book but I haven’t read the synopsis and I’m only a couple of chapters in, so I’ll let you know when I’ve read it and I’ll be back to you when I’ve actually finished reading something.

10:01 Cara Hunter has done it again!I spent the entirety of this book guessing wrong, which is one thing I love about Cara Hunter’s novels; she’s the master of manipulation. This book follows DI Fawley as he investigates the attempted abduction and rape of 15 year old Faith Appleton. With Faith refusing to acknowledge the attack, will the perpetrator do it again?

Honestly, a hell of a lot happens in this book, there’s links with a past case and the DC’s personal history that makes this book such a whirlwind. These books are fantastic. I’m giving it 5 stars.

Saturday 7th March

16:08 I had an unexpected day off work today so I’ve done some reading. Firstly I’ve made it through about half of my audiobook of Joyride by Anna Banks which is pretty much your bog standard YA romance as it stands. Don’t get me wrong, I like it well enough but I’m not loving it.

I forgot to tell you all I bought Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan yesterday.I loved The Cement Garden and On Chesil Beach by him so I knew I was gonna like the writing style, so much so that I read this entire book today.

The plot of this book surrounds this guy who buys one of the first synthetic humans. He some how ends up in a triangle with the robot and his girlfriend, also she has a dark secret and it’s all set in an alternative 1980s London where technology is highly advanced and Thatcher lost the Falklands war.

To say this book is a journey would be an understatement, there’s so much in this book I honestly don’t know wether to class it as a sci-fi, a historical fiction, an alternative history, a thriller, a romance; it’s all these things combined and I loved it. McEwan has managed to produce this book that really makes you think about what makes us human, about ethics, morals, politics and the advance of technology and it’s truly chilling in a Black Mirror kind of way. If I ever get a chance, I’m not gonna be picking up a human style robot, Alexa freaks me out enough, I could not cope.

I’m giving this book 4.5 stars, the reason I’m not giving this 5 stars is completely a personal preference but I felt some of the story that should have been more realistic such as this storyline to do with a child (and I don’t want to say more than that). I think if you’re gonna base a sci-fi in real life that you’ve gotta have the basic processes of life firmly down and I didn’t believe the storyline of this at all. Also, I get there was a lot of conversations of penis’ that didn’t need to be in this. Saying that, there’s an eerie scene in this involving sex that made me really consider how terrifying artificially intelligent human robots could be. Incredibly thought provoking and it’s fucked with my head a bit.

I got a book haul today; in other news.Honestly so excited for all these books (ignore the half cut off book at the bottom, it’s just East of Eden – which I do still have to read my chunk of today). I’m honestly so excited that my March TBR is gonna go to hell cause I just wanna dove into them all! I’m gonna start Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi now because I need to read it! See you all in a bit.

Sunday 8th March

07:08 And it’s Sunday! I only got a couple of chapters into Before the Coffee Gets Cold last night; but it’s really interesting so far and I’m looking forward to getting more into it on my break at work today and then tonight when I get home. I have just finished the audiobook of Joyride by Anna Banks.I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. This book is about two teenagers, one who is the daughter of undocumented immigrants, trying her best to save up to pay a man to bring them back over the Mexican boarder. The other is the son of the town’s police chief, his father is all powerful, all nasty and incredibly racist. When the two teenagers world’s collide, they both realise there’s more to life and some things are really worth fighting for.

This started off as your common garden fluffy contemporary romance and it was cute. But this book got dark, it dealt with some real issues and although I felt some of the issues in this book were wrapped up a bit too neatly; overall this was a really powerful story and I loved that it was much more than romance. Obviously the thing surrounding this is that’s it’s not own voices, so how true to life the Mexican side of this book is I’m not sure. I can only comment as a white woman and say I liked this book but I would be interested to read more about this issue from the Mexican perspective and that’s something I plan on doing in the future.

20:14 I didn’t actually think I’d manage to fit in another book today but I flew through Before The Coffee Gets Cold tonight after work.This is a gorgeous book about a Japanese cafe where if you sit in a certain seat and follow a set of rules you can time travel, but only to the same seat in the cafe and only for the duration that your coffee retains its heat and you can only do it once. Surprisingly for me, this book was completely heartbreaking and it’s made me think a lot about if I could go back in time for length of a cup of coffee, where would I go? If you like magical realism I think this book is both fantastic and beautiful. I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! I’m giving this 5 stars, there’s a lot more I could say about it but I don’t want to ruin anything for when you read it (cause you’re gonna read it right?).

So for my weekly wrap up…

Books read: 9 books, which is a lot more than I thought I’d read!

Breakdown: Of the 9 books I read; 6 were physical books and 3 were audiobooks. None of these were off my TBR bookcase but we’ll try again with that next week.

Books started but not finished: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. Still planning on reading this throughout March but we’ll see if I finish it earlier (as I have a week off work next week so plenty of reading time, yay).

Most disappointing book: Night of the Living Dead, just absolutely wasn’t for me but at least it was short!

Favourite book: That’s a really hard one this week because I’ve read a lot of really good books! Still, the ones that stand out the most are Before The Coffee Gets Cold, Machines Like Me and Unnatural Causes; all such different books and all of which will stick in my mind for a long time to come.

So next week I’ll be taking East of Eden by John Steinbeck with me and I’m excited to see what else I pick up! Thank you for joining me for another weekly reading blog, see you next week!


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