It’s taken me a while to get round to publishing my February books round up. I only read 4 books after a busy January, but am still on track for my 52 book challenge this year. I’ve got a few days off next week so I’m sure I’ll be catching up on my reading then. Especially if I’m short on wifi access.
Here’s last month’s books round up.
Road to Rouen – Ben Hatch
I loved Ben’s first book Are we nearly there yet? , so had great hopes for the this one. Overall I enjoyed it, but not as much as the first which seemed a lot more carefree and less pressured during the road trip than this one.
If you’re a parent, you know what it’s like to take children on a trip anyway, and doing that ongoing as a travel writer must be even harder than the odd day trip or week away. Road to Rouen shares the Hatch family’s escapades round France over one summer. I’m not sure onion farm tours would be the visit of choice for many families, but Ben and his family go through it for us.
I do love the way the book’s written, and we learn more about the relationship and background to the travel writing, but for me I probably wanted less about the whys and what fors, and just more about what they get up to and what they see. I’ve never really been that interested in travel writing apart from devouring Bill Bryson books when I was younger, but Ben’s books probably fall in a similar class but with added family stresses.
Mediterranean Tycoons – Jacqueline Baird
Another day and another quick box set read from Mills & Boon. My little vice (along with those Ye Olde Oak hotdogs in a tin that my OH abhors, and spaghetti hoops!). I do love a quick read, and these 3 books were fine to bridge the gap between heavier novels. Of course, totally unrealistic, but ultimately the usual girl meets boy, barriers in place which they manage to get over to be together. Not the best I’ve read, but not the worst either.
Life after Life – Kate Atkinson
It’s not often I really dislike a book or don’t see the point of it. I did enough studying of books during my A level and 1st year at uni for English literature and French to know what it means to slog through a book. I can probably count on one hand the books I’ve really hated – A level was Oscar and Lucinda, and post-uni, Donna Tart’s The Secret History and Yann Martel’s Life of Pi were also not my cup of tea.
But yet another award winning book has beaten me. I did manage to finish Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, but I really wish I hadn’t. I think seeing 9 hours 36 minutes to go on my Kindle when I opened it to start, should have warned me it was going to be a slog.
I was optimistic because I have enjoyed her books in the past. The story is set prior to, during and slightly after the World Wars 1 and 2. It traces the story of a large relatively well-off family, mostly from the view point of Ursula, who’s seen as a bit of a misfit in by her relations. To be honest, they’re all a bit odd, apart from Ted, the baby of the family who we don’t know much about except that he was adored by all, and the father Hugh who seems more down to earth. The mother Sylvia is insular, and favourites various children: Maurice is arrogant and only cares about himself, while Pamela is a bit dull although steady and goes on to live the expected life as a wife and mother.
The story skips forward and back through the years, and many a time I couldn’t keep up with what year it was, who was who. A large part of the story mentions Izzy, the over the top, frivolous aunt, with whom Ursula has an obvious connection. Ursula seems to have problems with relationships, whether friends or men.
Once Ursula meeting Hitler and making friends with Eva Braun appeared in several chapters, I was lost. Even by the end, I don’t really know what was true, what wasn’t. It’s like Dallas of the World War period – with reincarnation (and dreams or nightmares?) mixing in with real life.
I did finish the book, but now I wish I’d just given up. I’m not a big fan of reading novels in historical periods, although I do enjoy finding out facts about history. I can’t say that I even managed to get that from this book, so I felt it was a waste of 9 hours of my life!
Unless you’re keen on heavy books which flit between time, have complex, unlikeable families, then I’d say avoid this book. I’m thinking I have an issue with serious award-winning books from my list of really disliked novels!
The Ice Twins – SK Tremayne
Thankfully moving on to The Ice Twins made my reading life better again. Read my The Ice Twins review.
So, only 3 books read in February (but on the upside, I’ve managed to do a lot more of my crochet in between – I’m sharing the time between reading and crocheting my Sophie’s Universe blanket).
February books – 4 (combining the box set)
Total books for 2015 – 14 / 52
What’ve you been reading this month?