I have now finally read The Woman in Black. The thing is with being a book blogger is that every cunt expects you to have read whatever ten books they've heard of ever. This is one that came up a lot, and that I wanted to rectify. And I wish I hadn't. Now I can't go for a piss in the night without fucking shitting myself that the shadows in the hallway are that fucking woman swishing her long black cape. A proper traditional creepy ghost story.
Remember when we all had a little chuckle cos I had somehow got myself in to a book club? Well, they're reading all the wrong books now so I just read my suggestion instead which was The Bees. This is a fucking weird book. It's about a bee called Flora and her life in the hive. She doesn't quite fit in to any of the standard groups and as such has a bit of a rollercoaster of a life. Really clever, really interesting and really odd.
From now on whenever someone says to me 'oh but this chicklit is actually really good! It's funny and ironic and mad! hahahaha!' I'm going to fire them straight out of a canon in to the depths of nowhere. Undertaking Love is one of these books that I TRUSTED someone on and this just goes to show why you should never trust anyone. Horrible, vapid two-dimensional characters, predictable plot, absolutely fucking zero lols. A right load of bollocks.
Now then. As we all know I fucking love dragons. I found A Natural History of Dragons in my local library and thought I'd give it a whirl. It all started off pretty well, but by a quarter of the way through I began to notice a problem. HARDLY ANY FUCKING DRAGONS. Just fucking Lady Trent bleating on about this and that. I want a HISTORY of DRAGONS you misleading prick-headed twats. Disappointing.
There are a lot of quotes on the cover of Shame and on the internet from people saying about what a great picture of Africa it paints and loads of shit about light and dark and all of those kinds of words that those people say. I don't know about any of that, but I did enjoy it. It's one of those that goes back and forth between time but is ultimately the story of a woman and her struggle with her past and her present. Decent.
Someone gifted me a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper fucking ages ago and I only recently realised that if someone gifts you something like that that they probably really love it and it should get bumped up your stack of books to read, so I read it. Two years later. This is a very slim book containing seven short stories. The best one is the first one which has the same title of the book and is about a woman going mad. The collection is old, bold, feminist, and very very good. Give them a go.
Sticking with going mad, the new Galley Beggar book come my way a little while ago, which I was delighted to receive. Playthings is a book about a man who is suffering very badly with a nervous condition. I don't want to give away the shape of the story, but it follows said man, a 42 year old judge, and paints a picture of mental illness and madness that is fucking harrowing and yet feels very honest and human. A wonderful book, and one that is based on a true story. Joint best book of the month.
I know I said I'd given up on psychological thrillers but you know how it is, you go down the library and it's wall to wall James Patterson and fucking Patricia bastard Cornwall and you just have to get what feels right at the time. So I got You. This is a book about a lad called Joe who falls in love (sort of, I guess that's one way to describe it) with a young woman named Beck. This is one of those really creepy, you know nothing's going to go right kind of books. Joe is a fucking headcase, and Beck is used to male attention and is confident she can handle herself and whatever situations may arise. Joe is kind of a collector, not that dissimilar to The Collector, that one in the John Fowles book. This reminded me of that. Dark, disturbing, pretty filthy at times. Not bad at all.
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it but I fucking love dogs. Imagine my delight when a book called Fifteen Dogs drops through the letterbox. Fifteen dogs! The stuff dreams are made of. I had lovely thoughts about all the lovely dogs having a lovely romp together in a garden or maybe in a field or a lake or at some kind of park and all having a fucking lovely time and me reading a long and getting to know all the dogs whilst weeping with joy. That is not quite what I got. This is actually about gods Hermes and Apollo making a bet over whether dogs having human thoughts will help or hinder them and specifically, whether it will make them unhappy. Although there were some sad dogs in this novel, which did make me sad, it is an incredibly thoughtful and beautifully written book about relationships, finding your way in the unknown, loyalty and survival. Highly recommended.
I haven't quite finished it yet (which is why you're getting a slightly early post cos I'll finish it tomorrow) but I am fucking loving A Notable Woman, which is the edited diaries of a woman named Jean Lucey Pratt who kept journals throughout most of her life - between the years 1925 up to her death in 1986. Jean Lucey Pratt is a fucking megababe. She's cool as fuck and enormously forward thinking and progressive for a woman of her time. She wants to have (cos it's important and she enjoys it) a career, she struggles a bit with men but acknowledges that they are quite fucking difficult at the best of times so doesn't often let that get her too down, has her head screwed on just right while questioning why society think some things are right and wrong in a person and their orientations, and is a top line, glorious, funny and astute writer. She wasn't a famous lady, just someone who loved to write, and I'm hoping that this book will make her name more well known. She is wonderful and I'm a little bit in love. As I say, I haven't finished yet but after all this gushing if it all turns to shit in the last couple of hundred pages I'll be sure to let you know. Another highly recommended, but it is long as fuck (hardback is 700 odd pages) so be warned.
I haven't read Fear of Flying but it's good, right? I got send Erica Jong's new one Fear of Dying and you know how I love a story about a woman and her life, don't you? Well this is a lovely one of those. Our leading lady is called Vanessa. She's married to an older man who can hardly ever bang her anymore, her parents are withering away to nothing in their deathbeds, and she is suddenly realising her mortality. A funny and honest story, which managed to allay some of my anxieties about some of the many things that are wrong with myself and my thoughts and my brain in general. A very good book about an aging woman in a changing world. Joint best book of the month.
Next up was a tiny book of no more than 100 pages. The Cider Camp & Other Tales is one story that is the longest - The Cider Camp - and then a few other much shorter stories. The Cider Camp is in some horrific dystopian future where a way of dealing with homeless alcholoics is to round them up and put them in a camp where they can smoke and drink themselves to death. A bit fucked up, but a fucking good story. The other few stories in this short collection range from one about a vampire to one about a WW2 veteran with a secret. A lovely little collection with some writing that packs a real punch.
Lastly is the one that I finished just now on the way home from work - Hotels of North America. This is about ficitonal motivational speaker Reginald Morse who travels around North America (and occasionally but very rarely) in to Europe to speak at various functions and things and who stays in many hotels of which he leaves reviews for on RateYourLodging.com. I liked the idea but the actual execution was a bit long and slow for me, as I'm a very impatient reader. It's basically a lot of Reg giving anecdotes and telling stories which I didn't find that interesting and I thought could have been a bit shorter. Sorry.
Also, I can't find a picture of the cover for this one. I read a proof and you can see a picture of that on my Instagram, if you like.