Ramble #1

I keep having all these thoughts for things to do and say in regards to books. If you follow me, you know how much I can ramble and the thought occurred to me today (Friday 22nd November), why not have a weekly post where I can expel my rambles and thoughts regarding books from the week.

This week, I have not read a thing! I feel quite guilty about it. In fact, this is probably the months with the lowest books read this year! To be honest, November has been an incredibly stressful month and the thought of reading with that stress, or the headache, the itchy eyes or the muscle pain hasn’t been something I’ve wanted to entertain. Work has been incredibly stressful and it has been weighing heavily on me this month. I even lost track of my regular instagram posts because I was so consumed by anxiety and stress.

My stress at work has been down to impossible deadlines, unpleasant accusations and rude colleagues. I hope that moving into December, everyone will be consumed with holiday cheer and will become more respectful of their actions and the consequences of those effected. In all honestly, nothing will change but I will endeavor to push it to the side and not let it affect me.

I have been quietly buying up kindle books. It is always when I am struggling with my anxiety or when I am suffering from a headache or migraine that I turn to the Kindle store as a source of therapy. As a result, I have a rather full library to read at present.

I’ve also had a massive cull of books, both paperback and kindle. These are books that have been on my tbr shelves for most of the year and still haven’t been read or are books that I’ve attempted to read but haven’t been able to connect to the story. Every three months, I sort through the books on my shelves and decide if I am going to read them or if it is best to find a new home for them.

I was going to list the books I’ve abandoned but I have wrapped them all and put them in the ‘blind date with a book’ box I started at work. I have now forgotten what books I wrapped! So there goes that plan. But! I had another plan as I was thinking of this one, which was the books that I am teetering on the edge of. Everyone has that moment when they have a high expectation of a book and then it woefully disappoints them.

I have found that a lot recently. These are potentially unpopular opinions but I can’t help it.

I have had this on my shelf for most of this year. At first I wanted to wait until the entire trilogy was out before I read it but I learnt my lesson with ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden. I finally decided to start reading this in November, as part of my YA/Children’s book read. I know this is a very popular book and though I try not to have expectations when I read books, I did have some for this because it had been so hyped and positively reviewed. At the time of writing this, I have only read up to Chapter Eight and I do intend to read on. While the idea is interesting and the magical aspects are exciting to read, I feel that my enjoyment of this will go down the longer I read. I say this because I can already predict the character’s actions and motives.

There is a reason I shy away from YA fantasy novels and that is because I feel that they all fall into the same stereotypes in terms of the characters, the love interests and the supporting characters. I think it is an issue that started when I was a teenager and just got more obvious and annoying as I grew up. I already have a sense of what is going to happen to the characters and while I can appreciate the magic of the story, the words aren’t jumping off the page, nor do I feel captivated by the story. I am struggling to read it with any sense of excitement, which is a shame because I do believe that the book deserves its praise and hype. It’s just not a book that is right for me.

I am already halfway thought this book and enjoying it to a point. I’ve actually taken a break from it because it was causing me such anxiety fueled adrenaline that I needed to separate myself from it for a while. I have now been struck with the inability to pick it back up again, for every time I think of it, I get struck with the same anxiety. I wanted to read this because it has a similar structure to that of ‘The Corset’ by Laura Purcell, and I loved that book so much. I know I will come back to reading this book at some point because I want to know how it ends for Cora Burns but I have found myself skim reading certain parts of it and that isn’t good because it means I’m not fully committed to reading the book in its entirety and it pushes my focus to the interesting and explosive bits only. I have found this to be a compelling read and it is a book that makes you think a lot. Unlike the book above, with this one, I feel I got too into it and couldn’t separate myself from it or my thoughts from wondering about it.

I’ve been reading this on and off for several months now. It has over 4,000 reviews on Amazon and they all rate it very highly. I know I’m reading a good book but there is some kind of block on me. I don’t find that the story has gripped me in anyway. It’s like having all the chess pieces on the board but not knowing what to do with them. I don’t think it has helped that for me personally, I feel like I’ve been introduced to the characters of Kane and Alton in the middle of their respective stories, while trying to navigate the beginning of their combined story in catching a killer.

I’d like to say that I’ll get around to finishing this story at some point but I’ve left it so long that at the moment, I don’t know how true that statement. There is a discord between Kane and Alton that sets me on edge but in a bad way and I’m struggling to move past that and allow the story a chance to come forth. I’ve tried to let go of the small irritation but it has become increasingly difficult. I suppose time will tell, if I ever get to the end of it, I might find something that makes me enjoy it or I might just give up on the series with this first installment.

So many people rave about this series of books and I got it ages ago in one of Kindle’s 99p sales. I was so excited to start reading this. I read to chapter 15 and haven’t picked it up in months! I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me, I just can’t get a hold of this story, it’s infuriating. I can’t connect to this story at all and I don’t find it gripping at all. I will stick with it because I dislike having to abandon a book but I don’t know when I’ll be brave enough to pick it up again. Besides the characters, which are the main reason I can’t seem to connect, I can tell that the plot is interesting and twisted. I think perhaps my problem is a combination of the characters and the way the book is written. It’s just not syncing up with my brain and causing me one irritation after another.

I picked this up in one of my Waterstones book hauls. I so badly want to be able to be exciting to read this. I’ve read about a third and I keep catching myself asking ‘why is this supposed to be good?’ It’s been such a disappointment for me. It got to the point where I was forcing myself to read on, so I ended up shelving it and starting on another book. That was a couple of months ago and I haven’t picked it up since. It’s a book, that for me, when I read it, it stays a book and the words stay as words on the page. I can see the story but I can’t gain access to it and the words don’t paint a picture for me. It has become an endless irritation to see it on my shelf and I’m most annoyed with myself for not being able to connect to it or enjoy it.

This week I’ve been successful in reading 56% of one book; ‘The Good Sisters’ by Helen Phifer. Phifer was the first author I bought when I originally had a Kindle back in 2013 and it was a happy coincidence to find her again. I guess I had high hopes for this book. It is creepy, twisted and haunted but I wouldn’t say I’m gripped to it. The characters are solid and the story is curious but at this point, I wouldn’t say that there is anything that is driving me to continue reading it. I’ve tried several times this week but I just haven’t had it in me to continue reading. I feel like I’m in a rut of boredom and disappointment. I’ve had this experience a couple of times this year and each time I find it more frustrating.

In the absence of reading, I’ve been spending a lot of time painting and drawing. I have been working hard on a project for the last few months and if I get all my ducks in a row, I’ll be able to go live with it at the end of the month. It’s something I am very proud of and can’t wait to show off but it has also been time consuming and an action that aggravates my back and shoulder muscles.

We are almost into December and Christmas looms. I think I’m more excited to have 2 weeks off work than anything else! I need a break from all the chaos, anxiety and stress. In the new year, my line manager is retiring and I am getting a new manager, which I think will relieve me of much of the stress because my new manager is more proactive and understanding of mental health and how it affects people in the work place.

I love Christmas, in fact, I love any excuse to buy someone presents. I started buying presents as early as April, simply because I have a big family on both sides and lots of friends. I’m also saving for my mortgage deposit and by starting so early I have been able to factor in expenses and save more money. I finished all my present buying at the beginning of November and over the weekend of the 9th/10th, I wrapped most of the presents as well – they’re easier to store once they’re wrapped and in bags. I still have a couple of presents to wrap and my Mum’s advent box to wrap but I’m mostly done. I’ve written all my Christmas cards also. I’ve planned what I’m turning my work desk into over Christmas, got all my Christmas hats out and arranged an added Christmas treat for work to lift spirits in the office from Dec 2nd to Dec 20th.

I’m being proactive in every aspect of my life other than my ability to read. I have many more rambles I wanted to include in this post but my vision is starting to blur and I think I might be having an iron attack, so I best get some iron rich food down me fast!

Join me next week for another pointless ramble!

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