Recent Reads: February

Another month has passed, and I haven’t read nearly as much as I’d hoped to. I hate to sound like a walking cliché but where does the time go?! I swear one of these days I’m going to take a reading holiday and be done with it. 

Enough rambling. Here’s what I read.

RecentReadsFebruary-1

[The book selection in our cottage in Rutland Water this past weekend. The scenery was a lot better]

A Nurse Abroad, Anne Watts **** ¦¦ I decided to read the follow on to Always The Children (which I read last month) because it was on Audible and I enjoyed the first book so much. This book attempts to go back in and fill in some of the gaps that Anne left during her first book. It’s a bit of a shift towards a true autobiography, which the first book wasn’t so much. Again the choppy narrative was a bit frustrating at times but it did feel more cohesive than the first book. Overall I enjoyed it, although I don’t think it’s as good as the first.

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty ***** ¦¦ Thanks to Kristen for the recommendation of this one. I loved it! The story centres around Alice who wakes up one day having forgotten the previous 10 years of her life. The story follows her trying to understand what has happened in those lost years; in some cases trying to make amends for what has happened and in others just adjust to the new reality. It’s a really powerful tale and it definitely stayed with me

That Quail, Robert, Margaret A Stanger ***** ¦¦ Alright this is a re-read for me and I’m not ashamed. It’s a classic Nice Book About Animals (the favourite genre of my Mum and I when we need cheering up). It’s the true story of a couple who rescue a wild quail egg which hatches. They raise the baby quail who quickly becomes a central member of the family, and one full of character at that. It’s just heart warming and cute and that’s about it really.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway *** ¦¦ My First Hemingway. I figured it was about time. This is about a motley group of expats in Europe in the 1920s and nothing much really happens other than them getting drunk, travelling around a bit, flirting awkwardly with each other, drinking some more, being snobby, watching some bullfights, and a lot more drinking. I appreciated reading a book written in a style that’s different to what I’m used to, and although at times the narrative was a bit meandering and frustrating I liked that not every detail included was leading towards some dramatic climax. Mainly my issue was that I didn’t like the characters at all. I realise that’s sort of the point; it illustrates the foolishness, hedonism and futility of the lives of these privileged expats. However, I struggle to enjoy books when I don’t like at least the main character. That’s just me.

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin *** ¦¦ This is written by OG travel writer Bruce Chatwin, who started the “quit your job to travel the world” craze back in the 1960’s when he left his very successful job at Sotheby’s at the age of 26. Seeing as blogs weren’t around back then, he wrote books about his travels instead. This is one such book and follows his journey across Australia, focusing heavily on indigenous peoples and their traditions and current ways of life. It seems he was obsessed with nomads and kept finding tribes to pester throughout his life. After a slightly meandering start, the book descends into a total chaos of notes and quotes in the second half, which really put me off. I actually think it’s a really good book, which is why the second half is such a shame. It’s also important to note that even though the book follows someone called Bruce who has the exact same life story as Bruce Chatwin, he maintained that the book was actually fiction. So make of that what you will.

What did you read this month?

-Rachel

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42 Comments

  1. 7th March 2016 / 19:33

    What Alice Forgot is one of my favorite books ever, and probably my favorite Liane Moriarty book! I’m so glad that you decided to pick it up! Have you read any of her others yet?

    • 7th March 2016 / 22:34

      I loved it! Such an interesting concept. I haven’t tried any others yet, because I feel the bar has been set pretty high. Which others have you enjoyed? I need recommendations or else I feel a bit overwhelmed!

      • 7th March 2016 / 22:39

        My other two favorites from her were The Husband’s Secret (her first big hit which I actually read first), and Big Little Lies. Big Little Lies I liked more than The Husband’s Secret, so I would start with The Husband’s Secret. Both are really good books, and I hope that you like them!

        • 7th March 2016 / 22:39

          Thank you! They’re going on the list!

  2. 7th March 2016 / 23:00

    What Alice Forgot sounds really interesting! Adding that to my list of books to check out next time I’m at the library 🙂
    I’ve slowed down on my reading as I’ve decided to read one of my old books and without the ‘deadline’ of getting it back to the library I haven’t been making much progress. Need to power through and finish it so I can check out some new ones! 🙂 Plus I preordered the new Harry Potter book so I’ve got the rest of the series to read through in the next 3 months – better make a headstart!

    Away From The Blue Blog

  3. 8th March 2016 / 13:32

    Lol at the “Nice Book About Animals” genre. I never thought about it that way, but I have a few of those. My favorite is probably Rascal, where a boy finds a baby raccoon and raises it. And then there’s “FUP” but that one is really weird, so maybe “nice” doesn’t apply anymore.

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:50

      It’s definitely a thing and sometimes it’s the only genre I can manage! I’m putting Rascal on my list, that sounds ADORABLE. Goodreads seems to suggest Fup may cause tears so I’m passing on that one!

  4. 8th March 2016 / 14:00

    I’ve been wanting to read What Alice Forgot for a while (it’s actually sitting on my Kindle), so I’m glad to hear you liked it!

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:51

      Oh it’s great! What excellent luck to have it sat right there. I hope you manage to read it soon and enjoy it!

  5. 8th March 2016 / 14:01

    I can like a book without liking the characters of the story or writing make up for it. Sun is favorite Hemingway but his characters in general always have fatal flaws for me. Fitzgerald’s too.

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:54

      And really that’s the point of the genre isn’t it? I suppose I’d rather that than a Mary Sue, but this bunch were just utterly unlikeable. I think maybe Hemingway just isn’t for me, classic or no.

  6. 8th March 2016 / 14:20

    I also ready my first Hemingway this month! Mine was A Farewell to Arms, and I didn’t find those characters particularly likeable either.

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:56

      Ha! Did you enjoy the book as a whole though? And was the writing quite meandering in style with lots of short sentences? Being a Hemingway novice I gather that’s his style, which I’m not sure I really enjoy!

      • 9th March 2016 / 13:44

        The writing style I could get used to, I think. I took a break for about a week or so, and it was much easier when I came back. The overall story was decent but the characters were kind of meh, probably just due to the fact that he doesn’t really go into what they are thinking/feeling as much as I’m used to…and I hated the ending. I would give him another chance before making up my mind though.

  7. 8th March 2016 / 15:16

    I gave my mom What Alice Forgot for her birthday and she loved it, I think ti’s such a great creative story!

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:57

      Oh yay! I’m glad she loved it too. It’s a great book and you’re right, what a fantastic idea for a story.

  8. 8th March 2016 / 15:22

    i haven’t read any hemingway, and i don’t really have any desire to. oh well. i am so so so so glad you liked what alice forgot, yay! adding that quail to my list because it sounds amazing.

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:58

      I’m not sure I’ll be reading any more either! I loved What Alice Forgot, thanks again for the rec. And oh I do hope you like the quail book, it’s like the reading equivalent of a big warm cosy blanket 🙂

  9. 8th March 2016 / 15:47

    What Alice Forgot has been on my to read list for awhile! I don’t think I’ve read any of Hemingway’s books.

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:58

      I highly recommend it, it’s a fantastic concept and well written. As for Hemingway I remain unconvinced, but may be willing to give one more a shot if I’m feeling generous…

  10. 8th March 2016 / 16:03

    What Alice Forgot is one of my favourites right now too; I just read it in January and absolutely loved it. I still think about it weekly so I’m sure a re-read is in my future sometime 🙂 I haven’t read any Hemingway, but hopefully someday 🙂

    • 8th March 2016 / 20:59

      It’s great, isn’t it? I’m very glad I read it. I think I’ll probably get back to it in the future, too.

      I’m glad I tried Hemingway, but I’m not sure it’s for me. Each to their own!

  11. 8th March 2016 / 18:16

    I’ve been on the waiting list for What Alice Forgot for ages and it was finally my turn this month but I was in the middle of two other (not so great) books plus a Moriarty book as an audiobook, so I worried I would get the plot points confused! I need to go make sure I’m on the list for it again, though, since I hear it’s everyone’s favorite of her books.

    • 8th March 2016 / 21:02

      Oh man! That’s annoying. I listened to it as an audiobook which I liked because I got the benefit of the accent. In general I’d highly recommend it, it was a brilliant book. But it’s the only book of hers I’ve read(/listened to) so I can’t really assign it favourite status yet! Which one did you listen to? I’m on the hunt for my next one…

  12. 8th March 2016 / 18:42

    What Alice Forgot is on my list and I need to prioritize it higher. I get so many great recommendations from this link-up but sometimes I forget why I added a particular book until someone else reviews it. 🙂 I have never read Hemingway, although we both share a deep affection for cats! LOL! I admit that his style really isn’t my favorite, but I’m thinking it might be good to read at least one and go outside my comfort zone. I am with you, though, on needing to like or at least care about the main character. Otherwise it’s really hard for me to get into the book or want to finish it. In the real world, we have deal with unlikeable people, in my reading world, I don’t!

    • 8th March 2016 / 21:04

      Yes I’m the same! I love the link up for that reason but it’s also a little bit overwhelming to keep track of everything…! I hope you do read it, it’s an excellent story.

      I think I’m the same with main characters I don’t care about. There really is quite enough of that in the real world!

  13. 8th March 2016 / 20:44

    I read nearly ever one of Liane Moriarty’s books and What Alice Forgot is definitely my favorite! I’ve actually been meaning to read some of those old classics like some hemingway and faulkner. I read Fahrenheit 451 last fall for the first time and really enjoyed it.

    • 8th March 2016 / 21:07

      I’m glad I started with a good one, then! I have a woeful track record with classics, hence trying to redress the balance. One of my favourites is Brave New World, have you read that? I haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 but it’s going on the list (I see it’s dystopian too, what a coincidence)!

  14. 8th March 2016 / 22:48

    We can add Hemingway to the list of authors I’ve never read but I know I should.

    I like Liane Moriarty. What Alice Forgot was definitely a good book. Not my favorite of hers, but good.

    • 10th March 2016 / 14:21

      I have a really really long list of authors I’ve never read but know I should! At least I can cross one off now though…

      What was your favourite Liane Moriarty book? I’m looking for the next one for my list…

  15. 8th March 2016 / 23:54

    I participate in an Aussie Authors Challenge, and What Alice Forgot is on my list to read.
    I’ve been getting the Hemingway itch lately too…like, I feel like I should read something of his.

    • 10th March 2016 / 14:22

      I really recommend What Alice Forgot, it was just such an interesting concept. Makes you take a good hard look at your own life, but in a good way? I won’t dissuade the Hemingway itch because maybe you’ll love his style, but I will say it’s different. That’s all.

  16. 9th March 2016 / 02:56

    I’ve not read The Sun Also Rises, but I feel like I should…

    • 10th March 2016 / 14:23

      I’m glad I read it, but it’s not made me rush out to get any other Hemingways! I’m going to let it sit for a while and then think about whether I want to give another of his books a go. Right now no, but you never know…

  17. Jen
    9th March 2016 / 17:07

    The Sun Also Rises is one of my favorite books, I read it in high school and it has stuck with me ever since.

    • 10th March 2016 / 14:24

      I’m glad I found someone who likes it! Objectively I can appreciate it, but I just didn’t enjoy reading it, you know?

  18. 10th March 2016 / 19:28

    In my opinion, that is a lot of books! I struggle to get through my goal of 2 books a month! But 5? Ahh! 🙂 Hopefully you will be more successful this month and get through as many more books as you were hoping to this month.

    • 10th March 2016 / 19:47

      It’s certainly more than I was reading a couple of years ago, but not half as much as I used to read when I was younger. Or perhaps that’s just a case of rose tinted glasses! Either way, I’m glad I have time to read at all really.

  19. 10th March 2016 / 22:07

    I haven’t read The Sun Also Rises. If you liked his style, you might try A Farewell to Arms. I read it in high school and remember liking it.

    • 15th March 2016 / 23:55

      Honestly I found his style a little difficult to get into, but I don’t want to write off a hugely famous author just on the basis of one book. When I have some time to concentrate properly I think I might give this one a go.

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