Reading Round-Up: February 2021

Short month, February. Those few extra days can make a hell of a difference when you’ve got targets to meet.

Hasn’t seemed to make a difference to my reading, mind you.

Before I get into all my monthly stats and mini-reviews and general rambling, let’s take a little moment for some celebration: the end might be in sight! For the pandemic, that is. Oh, I’m not stupid, I know full well the UK is still drowning in cases and there’s no way we’re ever going to get this fully under control. It’s going to end up being an annual thing, with all of us trotting off to get our vaccinations every winter, like we do for the flu. Well, like some of us do.

But the peril, the lockdown-inducing, death-rate-soaring peril looks like it might finally be coming to a close. Here in the UK, we’ve vaccinated somewhere between 25% and 30% of the adult population now. I have more friends and family members getting vaccinated every week; most importantly of all to me, my mum is getting hers next week. The government (in general, don’t get me started, but this bit is quite positive) has revealed our roadmap out of lockdown, with an optimistic date for the country getting some form of normality back. I’m starting to make tentative, hopeful plans for an autumn holiday. Fingers very, very crossed.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a book blog, not a wistful look at a potential happy Covid-free summer.

My life has been much the same in February as it was in January. Lots of annual leave, lots of sitting on my sofa ‘playing’ trains with my small boy. Not a lot of writing. My NaNoWriMo novel, so promising, has officially stalled right at the last few chapters. I just can’t decide how it’s going to end, no matter how easily I can leap into the main character’s head and see things from her point of view. It’s seeing things from the other characters’ points of view I can’t manage, so although I know what the main one’s going to do… I can’t yet visualise how the others are going to react. And that’s what will decide on my ending.

All in all, it means there’s been a lot of time I should have been writing, but spent the time reading instead. It’s not quite the extreme number of January – I think that was anomalous – but it’s a pretty decent chunk, nonetheless.

And guess what? It’s time to get out those balloons and party poppers I can’t stand, because there’s some minor celebrating to do!

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Reading Round-Up: January 2021

I was going to do a nice blog post all about my 2021 challenges and goals, wasn’t I? That went well. Maybe I’ll do one at some point – I was all set, and then our new full lockdown was announced, my small boy’s nursery had to go into quarantine because of a positive Covid case, and aims and plans all went out the window. 2020, you’re certainly still making yourself known! Anyway, I’ll try and get a coherent analysis of my actual 2021 plans into production as soon as I can, both reading and writing. For now, on with the round up!

So. Remember how I read 135 books last year? Remember how I blamed this anomalously high number on lockdowns and working part-time? Remember how I was absolutely certain I’d never reach such giddy heights again, because a) I work full-time now and b) surely the world would be getting itself back on track before too long?

Yeah. About that.

I’m still working full-time… in name only. I’ve had so many days of annual leave left over to take before the end of the financial year, I’ve not worked a full week since December and I won’t do so until the end of March. And with the advent of Lockdown 3.0 here in the UK, it’s not like my social life has picked up. Indeed, I spend most of my days building increasingly elaborate wooden train layouts for the small boy, then slumping on the sofa to surreptitiously read book after book on my Kindle app.

“Mummy Mummy Mummy look at Thomas, he’s going over the wobbly bridge, oh no he’s going to fall in the ravine, aaargh it’s a dinosaur!!”

All. Day. Long.

Most of the time all that’s required of me is a noncommittal “oh no!” or “oh wow!” every so often and the regular provision of snacks, which leaves plenty of time for reading. The only thing is, the aforementioned small boy gets quite affronted if he sees me cracking open an enormous hardback, thinking I’m not paying him and his trains quite enough attention. Weirdly, though, he doesn’t seem to notice if I’m just looking at an iPhone screen. I’m making a conscious effort this year to stop doing quite so much doom-scrolling, so every time I find myself going goggle-eyed at Twitter for more than a couple of minutes, I force myself to switch to a reading app, either Kindle or BorrowBox. It’s made this month… productive. We’ll call it that.

Stats o’clock! And – pause for drumroll – it’s a record-breaker! In January I have read twenty books. 20. Two-zero. I don’t think I’ve ever read this many books in one month in my entire life. There might have been a couple of months last year where I pushed towards twenty when you counted rereads in, but I’m loathe to do that as I tend to be able to reread a book a lot quicker than I can read one for the first time, so it doesn’t feel like quite so much of an effort. Speaking of rereads, I didn’t finish any in January – however, I did start a Lord of the Rings reread, as I had the sudden realisation I haven’t read the full trilogy in about six years. I’m slowly working my way through The Fellowship Of The Ring and it’s giving me all the feelings already; who knows what state I’ll be in by the time I get to Rohan!

Anyway. I am quite a bad bookworm, despite a very healthy total number for the month. As I said before, the best way for me to read when I’m also supervising the small boy is to flip to the Kindle app on my phone. I’ve been ploughing through both the Bridgerton series and the Chronicles of St Mary’s series, both of which are incredibly addictive and comforting during ‘these unprecedented times’ (I bloody hate that phrase). Once I get into a series, I like to have all the books in said series in the same format. I started both of those on my Kindle, so on my Kindle they will stay.

Even though I got a fabulous collection of new books for Christmas, and I’ve had a couple of recent book hauls too… I didn’t read a single physical book in January. Everything was digital. It’s made it very easy to plough through things, glancing down at my phone every so often for a few minutes at at time, rather than burying myself in an actual book. But I feel quite ridiculously guilty, like I’m a poor excuse for a bookworm. Hopefully next month I’ll get cracking with the piles accumulating on my (extensive) TBR trolley…

Anyway, let’s have a look at some of the (many) books I’ve been reading this month…

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