Book Reviews

The Hardest Challenge of 2014

The 31 Days of Waking Up Challenge is now finished and once again huge thanks to Satya Robin and Kaspalita over at Writing Our Way Home for their warm and generous spirits, their encouragement and guidance. I’m very pleased to say I stuck with the challenge to the end and it has been a very enlightening and encouraging journey which has helped clear away some of the cobwebs and kick-start my thinking like a writer again. Some of the small stones produced have appeared here in all their rough and ready glory, I shall continue with to produce them, not every day but as and when I trip over them.

I’ve been catching up on some reading and have just finished Orxy & Crake by Margaret Atwood. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought I would share my short review from Goodreads. I should add a warning that I am rubbish at writing reviews however this is what I thought. In many respects it is in the finishing of this one that I came to understand I need to add one more challenge to my list of goals for 2014.

Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1)Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aside from the usual quality of writing one would expect from Margaret Atwood, the bang-on semi-sarcastic wit, the well paced tale and overall structure, for me the book worked on a number of levels. It simultaneously entertained, offered a chilling perspective on a speculative post-apocalyse world but most of all it made me think – particularly towards the end, as Snowman recounts the version of their creation story he has conjured up and pacified the Crakers with. With any attempt to create a future dystopia, the vision is that of the individual author, there’s a certain tongue-in-cheek quality to this one but the message it conveys is not diluted regarding genetic modification and big business. As I sit here writing this review eating my dairy, wheat and gluten free ‘protein’ bar which frankly tastes like sweet cardboard, I wonder just how far away some of the seeds of this dystopian tale really are.

View all my reviews

This is my first finish of 2014 and I’m diving straight in to re-read #2 The Year of The Flood.  I’m a little slow finishing this and looking at the piles stacking up all over the house, I really need to get my foot on the gas and get on with finishing a few more.  It’s also true to say that while I may be carrying on my own one woman campaign to single-handedly bolster the print industry, I have already bought more books  in January than I have a hope of reading in the whole of 2014 — yikes!  All my available shelving is double and triple parked with books, hence the over-spill which is now generating stacks on the floor which are indeed multiplying everywhere. My Kindle is rapidly filling and my iPad is full of books and music and yes I have heard of the Cloud; I have bought extra storage in the Cloud–it’s full.

In addition to Year of the Flood, I will also be reading Howards End is on The Landing by Susan Hill and taking the same pledge to buy no more books this year but instead concentrate, as Susan Hill did, on my own personal library.  This will indeed be the hardest challenge of any I have set myself for 2014. I am a book junkie and going cold-turkey will be tough–very tough.

I shall however endeavour to persevere. Perculating to the top of the list for 2014 then are:

Trollope: An Autobiography – Anthony Trollope

The Rebecca Notebook & Other Memories – Daphne du Maurier

Floor Sample – Julia Cameron

This Is How You Lose Her – Junot Díaz

The Railway Man – Eric Lomax

MadAddam – Margaret Atwood

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

The Vein of Gold – Julia Cameron

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Carthage – Joyce Carol Oates

I plan to attempt to review everything I read this year, in my own rather haphazard style – maybe it will help me improve my technique!

Well that’s me. I’m off to chase a few dust bunnies and then have an afternoon of reading without guilt. This is after all a challenge!  Have a good week everyone and may all your words be good ones.