I always have stacks of books that I want to read and I never usually plan ahead in terms what I will read next – maybe I’ll go for a new book, maybe I’ll reread an old favourite – I tend to go with my instincts when browsing through my bookshelves and deciding on my next read. However, this has changed a bit recently as, along with a few colleagues, we’ve formed a Book Club at work. We’re reading one book a month – switching between ‘classic’ and more contemporary novels – and this is causing me to change my reading habits. As much as I enjoy reading, I don’t always prioritise it and I find myself getting frustrated that I ‘don’t have time’ to read all the books that are patiently waiting for me. In reality, I’ve not been making time. I’m hoping that with the structure of the Book Club, I will be able to plan ahead a bit more, knowing at least one book I will be reading each month and from there, figuring out what else I’ll have time for. Which should mean I get back to reading more than one book a month!
The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
I’m currently reading The Corrections as part of my Book Club. It’s about a family who are pretty dysfunctional – so far, they all seem to be making very questionable life choices! I’m about a third of the way through and enjoying it so far. Although the characters are often acting in bizarre, unhealthy and self-destructive ways, there is quite a bit of humour so it doesn’t feel depressing. Interestingly, a friend did say that they didn’t get on with this book as they found it too bleak, but for me there’s enough energy and comedy to carry me through without feeling like I’m trudging through some dreary story. I’m intrigued to see how far the characters will go on this downwards trajectory, or if there will be any beacon of hope.
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
I bought two copies of this book for Christmas – one for my Grandma, one for me. When I was a child, my Grandma would often read the same books as me – we share a love of reading (my Grandma was a librarian) and this way she could experience the books I was reading (often Harry Potter!) and we were able to discuss our thoughts on the stories. More recently, I’ve been trying to find books that I think she will enjoy for us to share. So far, I’ve been picking books that I’ve already read myself, but for Christmas I decided to treat us both to something new!
A Man Called Ove has been on my wish list for a while so it’s one I’m really looking forward to reading. It’s about, unsurprisingly, a man called Ove – he’s a grumpy old man exasperated by the world around him. I have a feeling he’s going to be a loveable grump and I’m hoping for a funny, heartwarming story. This is one I plan to get started on next – it’s quite a short book (compared to The Corrections which is over 600 pages) so I’m planning to whizz through it before seeing my Grandma at Easter.
The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion
I read Graeme Simsion’s first book, The Rosie Project, a couple of years ago and loved it – The Rosie Effect is, of course, the follow up. I’ve borrowed this copy from my sister which is why it’s high up on my list of ‘books to read next’!
If you haven’t read The Rosie Project, I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s difficult to talk about a sequel without giving away some of the plot of the first book. To give a general synopsis, the stories both follow Don Tillman, a socially inept scientist who values logic, order and facts but struggles to identify with emotions. In The Rosie Project, he decides to use a scientific questionnaire to find himself a wife, but finds this project blown off-course by an encounter with the chaotic, charismatic Rosie. She manages to both respect his unique view of the world and shake him out of his comfort zone. The first book is a funny, upbeat read.
The Rosie Effect is a continuation of their story, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the world of these characters and into the mind of Don (the stories are told entirely from his perspective). I have to say, I am generally a bit skeptical about sequels – I can’t actually think of any sequel books that I’ve read (other than children’s books perhaps) but with film sequels, there is often a danger that they won’t live up to the original. The story may feel more predictable, the plot dragged out or perhaps even repetitive. However, I’m keeping an open mind with this book and even though it may not ‘live up’ to The Rosie Project, I’m hopeful that The Rosie Effect will still be an enjoyable and fun read.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
In April I’ll be reading To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time, as it’s our next choice for Book Club. I’m not quite sure why I’ve never read this book before – it seems to be a book most people have read (usually at school). It’s one of those books on my vague mental list of ‘Books I Should Read One Day’ – and for me, feeling like a book is something I should read often ends up putting me off, as there are so many books that I want to read first! Having said that, I’m pleased that Book Club is making me read some of the classics that I never got around to before (last month it was Jane Eyre), and I’m definitely looking forward to finally reading To Kill a Mockingbird. I actually don’t know a huge amount about the story, other than the fact that it’s set in the 1930s and is, as far as I can tell from the blurb, about race, prejudice and the struggle for justice. I’m expecting an interesting and thought-provoking read.
Have you read any of these books? What books are you currently reading? I’m always looking for recommendations to add to my ‘to be read’ stack of books!