WWW Wednesday

It’s been a while since I posted about what I’m reading, have been reading and hope to read.

Let's KillWhat are you currently reading?

Barbara Pym’s No Fond Return of Love. I am rather behind in my Pym re-read posts. Have not written about Jane and Prudence and A Glass of Blessings.

Let’s Kill Uncle by Rohan O’Grady

I heard this book being discussed on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read podcast, presented by Harriet Gilbert. Love that show! Have just started reading it — so far, so good.

The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung

I’m listening to this audiobook on Scribd, but I may give up soon. Will give it another couple of chapters to decide for sure.

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Cho

I started listening to this on Scribd forever ago and I was enjoying it but the narration (done by the author) was too distracting, so I stopped. I think I might go back to it. Don’t want to spend more money getting the book so I will just try to ignore Cho’s plummy British accent, which is soooo wrong for this book set in Malaya. Apparently, she wanted to perform the audio book because she wanted the names of Malayan towns and other Malay words to be said correctly. Fair enough, but then why the British accent!

What did you recently finish reading or couldn’t finish?

monkeyApart from the two Pyms mentioned above, I recently finished Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom; and Wu Ch’eng-en’s Monkey (translated by Arthur Waley), which I listened to on Scribd and loved to bits, not least because the narrator is the late great Kenneth Williams.

I’ve read and heard so much about Monkey, but had only a vague idea about Sun Wukong and Journey to the West (Monkey is an abridged re-telling) until I listened to the audio book. So glad I found a version narrated by Williams.

As for Dark Fire, it’s the second book in Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, set during the reign of King Henry VIII. A Good Read is also where I learnt about these books. They’re so good, although the descriptions of torture, burning at the stake, bear baiting and other unsavoury 16th century practices are hard to read. Really happy that there are five more novels in the series. I love it when I come across a series after it’s complete, as binge reading is a thing in my world. However, I am taking my time with these novels.

What do you think you’ll read next?

10 lovesThe next Matthew Shardlake book, Sovereign. Also, (maybe) Cold Comfort Farm and most definitely Pym’s Quartet in Autumn, which comes after No Fond Return of Love.

But, I may start Hiromi Kawakami’s The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino right away as my friend Janet got it for me and I want to discuss it with her.

By the way, these are the books that I am dipping and and out of, which will probably be on my ‘current reads’ list for some time as it’s partly research for my fantasy novel:

A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas edited by Richard E. Strassberg

Myths and Legends of of China by E.T.C. Werner

Daoist Identity: History, Lineage and Ritual by Harold D. Roth

 

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel

Having finished Fun Home, I thought I would read this next! So far so good.

Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym

Still reading this. I’ve tended to rush through my Pyms and, now that I have the physical books, I intend to re-read them all. Slowly.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

This is great. It’s easy to read and funny and surprising, and also strange and disconcerting.She writes about sex and the uncanny so well. They fit together like they were meant to be.

Severance: A Novel by Ling Ma

(audio book)

I love Scribd! I am definitely reading more, with it. And yes, I consider listening to audio books reading. In fact, I pay better attention listening to than reading a book. When I read I sometimes skim and skip. Not with audio. I’ve chosen this one as my next listen. I hope it’s something I can stick with.

What did you recently finish reading or couldn’t finish?

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I loved this one, about a young woman who moves back home after her Dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Like Fun Home, it made me think about my late father and the difficult relationship I had with him. I don’t think he found our relationship difficult though, except towards t the end of his life when I refused to see him. It probably puzzled him. Anyway, this should be a separate post.

Fun Home: A Family Tragiccomic by Alison Bechdel

I liked this. I suppose I have a lot of issues of my own when it comes to my father. Although I think I’m dealing with them OK.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

I love this! I didn’t think I would as I don’t like rap, but of course it’s about much more than rap, and I think I liked the protagonist, Bri, even more than I did Starr in The Hate U Give.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Meh. This post is about how I feel about the novel and the film.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I keep saying Lotus by Lijia Zhang and I do intend to read it, but I keep getting distracted! I think I’m going to draw up a list.

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

On the come upOn the Come Up by Angie Thomas

(audio book)

I really enjoyed The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas’s debut novel, and I’m liking this one too. I’ve never been a fan of rap, but I love the protagonist, Brianna’s rhymes (?): Sorry, I don’t have the vocabulary to discuss rap!

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

This is going more slowly than I thought it would. I suspect I will enjoy the film (with Glenn Close!) more than the book, which is making me really hate men, haha. I mean, even more than usual.

Fun Home: A Family Tragiccomic by Alison Bechdel

Loving this!

Less Than Angels by Barbara Pym

I am well on my way to owning physical copies of all Pym’s novels, and so I might read them all again. Am due for a re-read anyway.

What did you recently finish reading, or couldn’t finish?

Melmoth by Sarah Perry

(audio book)

Not as good as The Essex Serpent, and some descriptive scenes were a struggle to listen to as I do not do well with violent or lingering death, torture and the like; and I think the ending was too rushed. Nevertheless, I did enjoy most of the story.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Lotus by Lijia Zhang

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reads 2018

I am no longer clued in enough about book publishing dates to take on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Upcoming Releases I’m on the Fence About. I have a vague idea of some books that are coming out this year, but nothing definite. These days, unlike when I was writing book reviews and managing the books pages of a newspaper, if I do know a book’s release date,  it’s because I’ve heard it on a podcast, read it somewhere, or someone more knowledgeable has told me. It’s more likely I hear about ‘new’ books after they’ve been published — via an interview with the author, a review or recommendation.

Anyway, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl‘, but today I am posting my ten favourite reads from 2018. Late, I know, but then it’s never too late to read these books.

My ten favourite books, in no particular order:

Top Ten

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami

Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Murder While You Work by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)

The Tale of the Bidadari by Stephani Soejono

Enormous Changes at the Last Minute by Grace Paley

Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

And if I had to narrow it down to my favourite five …

Top Five

The Nakano Thrift Store by Hiromi Kawakami

Provenance by Ann Leckie

The Magicians of Madh by Aditi Krishnakumar

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

Murder While You Work by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)

 

 

WWW Wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki

This collection of graphic shorts is about a boy (Kitaro) who can see yokai, the umbrella term for Japanese ghosts, ghouls and demons. The creator, Shigeru Mizuki, was famous for his comics about these creatures and the graphic novel Nonnonba describes his friendship with the old woman who worked for his family and was the person who introduced him to yokai in the first place.

I really love that book, and after I’d read it I was keen to read Kitaro and was disappointed that it wasn’t available at the bookstore. Imagine my surprise when someone at my flat for my Christmas party, remarked that I owned the Drawn & Quaterly edition, a collection of stories from the original manga series. I think I got it as a gift (from the same friend who encouraged me to buy Nonnonba) several years ago and forgot all about it! She doesn’t remember either.

Kitaro isn’t exactly disappointing, but I guess I expected more after Nonnonba. I believe the comics were written for a much younger reader than Nonnonba is meant for. Each story sees the boy vanquishing some yokai or other, at times with the help of other yokai. There are funny moments and some of the yokai are striking in their appearance, but, on the whole, it’s all too repetitive and I’m starting to get bored.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

YA fantasy with an appealing premise but a singularly irritating cast of characters, especially Nancy, the self-consciously-written protagonist. I’m listening to this on Scribd and have just five more chapters to go. This is the first of a series, but I don’t know if I will continue. However, I suspect I may like it better in print because at least I won’t have to listen to the reader (Cynthia Hopkins) putting on these annoying accents for the characters.

A Fourth Form Friendship by Angela Brazil

I’m reading this for a book challenge. Seventy-eight per cent done, thank goodness!

What did you recently finish reading, or didn’t complete?

Uncomfortably Happily by Yeon-Sik Hong  *****

This graphic memoir tells of the two years Yeon-Sik Hong lived in the Korean countryside with his wife, an aspiring picture book author. Hong is frustrated about working as an underpaid comic book artist-for-hire. Moving out of Seoul makes financial sense, and he also hopes the quiet seclusion of the place will help him concentrate and meet his deadlines. The book documents the challenges he and his wife face, with their new home, each other, and their work as creators. So far, my favourite book this year (month!).

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry *****

I listened to this on Scribd and loved it, especially the main character, Cora Seaborne whom I was not expecting at all. Really, the characters are all so well realised, they are painfully flesh-and-bone. I would like to read the paper-and-ink book soon so I can linger over the story.

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Abandoned in the middle of the second chapter. I liked the premise: four friends, who were at music school together, navigating the cruel cutthroat world of classical music. I listened to the audio book so maybe the reader (Rebecca Lowman) just didn’t appeal to me. I shall try to read the paper-and-ink book instead, one of these days.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Wife by Meg Worlitzer

Lotus by Lijia Zhang

Melmouth by Sarah Perry

And all the graphic novels I own but have not got around to reading.