Friday, 27 June 2014

Day 27 - Want to be one of the Characters'

I knew immediately who I would be when Book a Day turned to ‘Want to be one of the characters’.

I would be someone from the Rutshire Chronicles by Jilly Cooper. You know, Polo, Riders, Jump and so on. Why? Well they all live glamorous lives reeking of champagne, expensive perfume and designer dresses, but most importantly the bad guy always loses, the underdog always gets their day and they always always get a happy ending. Its fairy tales for adults and I love it!

Before We Met Lucie Whitehouse

We immediately found ourselves comparing this book to other ones in a similar vein - Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, both of which we have recently read for Book Club

The Silent Wife in particular had a similar female lead - isolated, didn’t have a job (or played at having a job), supposedly intelligent but very naive in other respects. Neither of which I warmed to. There were also similar male leads – alpha males, rich, expecting to get things their way. A popular trait at the moment seems to be books that centralise pretty exclusively on a husband and wife which this one did(and yep you guessed - Gone Girl, The Silent Wife and Before I go to Sleep also did). As well as those similarities I also thought there was echos of Kiss Me First where internet/technology was key – Hannah would possibly never have found about Nick if it weren’t for the internet.

I find this happens with books. One book on a seemingly new concept is written, The Da Vinci code for example and then a surge of simlar books follow suit rearely being better than the first. One of our members suggested the World Wide recession is possibly affecting this particular cluster of books, even if on a subliminal level. The male is quite successful but has taken risks (The bar in Gone Girl) and as a result is under more pressure as his seemingly perfect relationship crumbles. I hadn’t picked up on it but when you think about it there is an argument for it.

The book was very on trend – People do now emigrate and live/work in foreign countries. As a result they do have relationships with foreign people or in this case with people who are also far away from home. When this happens the extra layer of protection from friends/family that you would have had is removed, as is the extra layer of insight into potential partners family/history. So you could understand to some extent why Hannah and Mark didn’t know much about each other’s past and how much they were relying on the other to be telling the truth.

Whilst we liked that point we thought it was obvious in places – Neesha getting fired was always going to happen, the tidy bedroom was always going to be Marks. It was also very convenient at times - Hannah just happened to park in the one place the police car couldn’t see her so that Nick could grab her and why on earth did Mark not just ring Hannah in the first place and say he had missed his flight instead of triggering the whole sequence of events! No story then I suppose.

I personally thought Whitehouse could have pushed further into Mark being creepy – what if the scrap book that he kept in his old bedroom had a picture of a woman that looked like Hannah so that Hannah or at least someone physically like her was always part of his plan? The group also reckoned he followed Hannah to the book shop that day they first met. Whitehouse could have hinted at this and made Mark seem even more cunning and calculated.

The book did seem like a book of 2 halves. Before Mark returned and afterwards. I preferred the first half as I thought the suspense was best at this point and Hannah’s naivety was at its least. One member asked at what point would we have stopped believing Mark? There was no clear cut answer but everyone’s general consensus was a lot sooner than Hannah!

I was disappointed by how quickly Mark stopped loving Hannah in the end. One minute he was begging her to forgive him, telling her everything he did was for her but then in an instant he had changed his mind was trying to strangle her. Someone commented on the fact that the end of the book seemed a bit rushed and I agreed. It was quite a short book and could have done with a chapter or so more fleshing out the end.

We gave it a 5. It was easy to read (good for round the pool if you’re lucky enough to be going) and I think if I hadn’t just read 2 books on a similar theme I possibly would have scored it higher.

Next Book Sweet Tooth Ian McEwan

Question of the month. I think with this book and with The Silent Wife I didn’t like the books as much because I didn’t sympathize with the main character. How important is it to you to like about the character you are reading about? Any good examples of characters you hated but loved reading?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Should have sold more copies

Book a day today is 'should have sold more copies'

I have no idea how many copies the following books have sold. I’m sure in at least some cases they have sold millions and have been read by many more. However I think everyone should have awareness of the horrors that happened not so long ago and the individual acts of bravery that accompanied them. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose, Schindlers List/Ark by Thomas Keneally. There are many more I could list. They are based on trues stories, based on real people and if you stop to think about it, it’s mind blowing what they went through, suffered, sacrificed.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The ONLY book I haven't finished

Book a day today is ‘Never Finished it’.

Now you all know me. There’s not a one yet I haven’t finished. So I suppose I will have to nominate the one I am reading at the moment as technically I haven’t finished it yet. But I will! Current Book – Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Hooked me into reading

I’ve always read.

When I was younger it was Famous Five, Charlottes Webb, Narnia, Matilda or The Witches. I still want to visit Kirrin Island and search for treasure! As a young teenager it was the Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew or Sweet Valley High. As a middle aged teenager (14-15? I'm making things up as I usually do!) it was Maeve Binchy and I think Evening Class was the first ‘adult book’ I ever read. But the one I am going to choose as my book a day today is Lace by Shirley Conran.

From the first line ‘which one of you bitches is my mother’ I was hooked. It was the first slightly racy book I had ever read. Girls who drank ginger beer and had clean all American boyfriends that they simply held hands with were long forgotten in this book. Lace opened my eyes to the numerous other books that were out there. I suddenly stopped looking at the ‘B’ section of the library/second hand book shop and realised there were 25 who other letters that I could consider. You can tell with ‘C’ for Conran I obviously went far!

After I had read it I was immediately on the hunt for my next book and I think that was the difference between Lace and other books I had read previously. Before I could take or leave reading. I enjoyed it but I equally enjoyed drama, or taping as much of the top 40 as I could without having the DJ speaking over the top of it. Afterwards I had to read. I always always always have a book on the go. Even if I finish a book really late at night I will get out of bed and go and choose another one and stick my book mark in the first page just so I'm not without a book. Lace did that. Whereas it’s not a classic and it certainly won’t be winning any Booker prizes it made me an addict and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A brief appearance by William Shakespeare

Once upon a time my year 9 English class was visited by a Detective. He had with him a mat and when he unrolled it the outline of two bodies were revealed like those you would find at a murder scene. Yes two bodies had been found the Detective said and it was our job to work out how they died. Our only clues were a small dagger and a small empty glass vial. Cue much ridiculous guessing

‘They were shot’ No bullet holes
‘They were stabbed to death by gang members’ only one stab wound
‘They killed each other in a fight to the death’ They did not kill each other.

The Detective tried to give us a clue but in reality just asked more questions than answered*
‘Do we have a man and a woman, 2 men, 2 women?’
‘Who died first?’
‘If A died first why is their hand over the top of B?’

We guessed for ages not really getting anywhere until the Detective enlightened us with the big reveal. ‘These two are called Romeo and Juliet and you lucky people are now going to read exactly how they died. When you’re done I want a report filing as to the facts of the case and you’re verdict as to who was responsible’. I was hooked and that is why Romeo and Juliet are my #bookadayuk ‘Made to Read at School’ choice.

*Needless to say the Detective was not really a Detective but a very convincing Drama Teacher (well to 13 year olds at least) and you will be relieved to know that no one in my class as far as I am aware went on to become Detectives!

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Husbands Secret - yes you are seeing right I am posting about this again it's my favourite cover

So for two days running I am banging on about The Husbands Secret. I apologise to those of you who have either read it and didn’t like it or who haven’t read it and have no intention to but todays book a day UK is ‘favourite cover’ and the immediate one that sprung to mind was this one.

Now if you have come here from Twitter (I’ve tweeted everyday this month you really should be coming here by now!) You have already clicked on one link to get here so if I were to turn around and say ‘I’ve already talked about this go to the previous blog’ I think I would be a little annoyed and give up. So to make it easy peasy for you here is what I said last time around about the cover;

They say you should never judge a book by its cover but let us do just that in this case.

The cover is quite simple - a glass jar (not a box) holding a butterfly, a beautiful butterfly.

But oh how that simple jar and butterfly speak volumes (queue the media studies A grade A level student going into hyper drive)

Firstly the jar and how (as Moriarty was quick to inform us) it was a jar that Pandora opened not a box as so commonly quoted. And we all know that Pandora opened the box and let loose all manner of things. Cue Celia opening John Pauls letter

Secondly the jar is a glass one, designed to keep things in, yet so easy to open. Like an envelope.

Yet if the jar is smashed all we are left are its fragments that we have to try to piece back together, possibly injuring ourselves in the process only to find its not repairable. Like Celia discovering that really it’s impossible to recover intact from a secret like John Pauls

Next there is the butterfly, so fragile, so easily broken, like a small child. Cue Polly the helpless victim trapped by her Dads secret.

If you don’t release the butterfly it will die. A bit like Celia saying if she didn’t come clean it would infect her life like poison. So you release the butterfly – such a simple act like opening a letter and everything changes.

This of course is why the creature in the jar is a butterfly and not a bee or a ladybird because this book is magnificent at encompassing the butterfly effect. One small action changes everything.

Again the creature in the jar is a butterfly as it lives for such a short time reminding us that in the blink of an eye something can end, a marriage, a friendship.

But note that in the end what was left in Pandoras jar was hope. Hope that now it is out in the open people can recover from it. I think Rachel beautifully illustrates this at the end of the book by going to sleep at Robs house.

All that in the front cover that you maybe looked at for 3 seconds? Or as a Kindle lover maybe saw once when ordering and then never saw again? Makes you think again doesn’t it?

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Still can't stop talking about it!

Book a day UK for 19th is ‘Still can’t stop talking about it’ and mine is The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty. Boy did I love that book!

I want to try to say something different from my last blog about it (November 2013) but my blog was so long I’m struggling to think of a new angle.

It’s about secrets and choices, the many layers of love, and how it can cripple us if we don’t let go but equally if we don’t hold on.

It did take a little bit to get going but I loved everything about Celia. It was funny, heart breaking, full of suspense and had one of the best epilogues I have ever come across. I read some cracking books last year Tigers in Red Weather, Me Before You but this one just about tops the lot.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Book a day UK today is 'bought on a recommendation'. Mine is Wideacre by Philippa Gregory

I read this book about 3 years ago now and it wasn’t a book club choice so before writing I did a little search to refresh my memory. I came up with these two quotes

“The heroine is despicable in every possible way, yet the author clearly expects you to root for her à la Scarlett O'Hara. She commits multiple acts of murder, participates in very creepy incest, and betrays people who love her. She was horrid and I couldn’t stand her or the book.”

“Beatrice Lacey is by far the most horrible, hateful, despicable narrator I've ever read, but I found myself rooting for her throughout all her scandalous deeds- the conspired murder, the attempted murder, the committed murder, the incest, the hidden pregnancies, and on and on the list goes. I even found myself disliking sweet little Celia, as wonderful a woman as she was, simply because she was Beatrice's enemy. That, I think, is the mark of a truly wonderful author. In any other case, I would despise a woman like Beatrice, but while reading this book, I couldn't help but be on her side.”

This book certainly divides!

It was recommended to me by someone who loved the book (of course it was as otherwise they wouldn’t have recommended it!) and I have to say I fall in to the latter camp of Wideacre appreciation. I loved Beatrice and really really wanted it to come good for her.

As always Gregorys characters were brilliant, you really felt like you were there within that time period. It captured the essence of the era really well – the themes of women and inheritance and the closure of green fields and public grazing being expertly woven in to the story. I was very interested to read about that part as I hadn’t previously.

Be warned though if you like Gregorys history books about the great Queens of years gone by THIS IS NOT ONE!!!!!!!!!! I will say that again THIS IS NOT ONE!!!!!!!!! It is at times very sordid and I can totally appreciate why some people would simply stop reading it in disgust. It sucked me in though, I had to find out where the car crash was going to end. You just knew Beatrice was going to get her comeuppance but the tension built as she told one lie upon another to try to dig herself out of the hole she had so expertly crafted. It’s not everyone cup of tea but if you’re not a sensitive soul and you survived 50 shades of Grey without blinking an eye then go for it.

It’s not a sex book as I may have inferred above but it certainly has sex in it. In all shapes and forms. It is a vital part of the story but isn’t THE story and I think that makes a real difference. It’s a trilogy and I haven’t got round to reading the second one yet although it is in a box under my bed waiting so may have to dig it out once I have finished this months book club (Before We Met Lucie Whitehouse).

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

It just screams future classic!

Book a day choice today is Future Classic and Cramlington Bookclubs choice for this is Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

This was a book club choice in November 2013 but it’s one that has stayed with me despite over 6 months passing since.

It’s not topical, so it won’t date (there is no mention of Facebook taking over identities, or reality TV encouraging us all to want to be famous). It’s not trendy, so it won’t date (such as trilogies of soft porn are at the moment, tales of Irish poverty were around 15 years ago and secret Jesus codes were somewhere in between) and it’s not plot driven, so you don’t feel like you are reading it just to find out who did it only to never need to read it again as now you know who it was. You can totally read it again and get more out of it, then discuss it with a friend and see it from a totally different point of view (“yes but Ed is in love with Daisy that’s why he did that”)

The book has so much depth/so much to analyse. I can honestly see a teacher asking a question in class as to whether Daisy really was naive and innocent or whether she understood everything perfectly but chose not to. Or an exam question entitled ‘Nick was like gravity pulling everyone towards her even if they didn’t want to be. Discuss.’ Feel free to do exactly that in the comments section at the end by the way!

There were parallels to the American great Great Gatsby, it had imagery, beautiful writing and subtleties left right and centre. It just screams future classic and unlike a few classics I have previously read I really enjoyed it.

Go and check out the blog post from November 2013 while you’re here.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Can't believe more people haven't read

At the time of reading this book I thought without doubt it is the best book I have ever read. I cried bucket loads which for me is always a massive plus in a book (strange person I know). I bought it on a whim in JFK on my way back from New York. I hadn’t brought anything to read with me, I had just turned 21 (literally that day) and fancied treating myself to something to read for the plane journey. It was a hardback, not too big, not too long, not too expensive so to the till I popped.

I have never re-read it since, I always have so many other books to read that I never seem to have time to re-read ones but if I’m honest I’m a little bit scared to in case I have put on rose tinted spectacles over time and it’s not as good as I remember. I truly truly loved it when I read it though and can’t believe on my return to England no one had heard of it. Still to this day if I mention it I get a vague look. So unsurprisingly I say to you now, get out your pens and make a note of this one, stick it on your bucket list of books to read before you die. Or better still head now to Amazon or other online book sellers and purchase it, or reserve it from you library, or download it to your kindle. Whatever shape or form suits you I’m not fussy as long as you give it a go.

The book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The author, Mitch Albom

Book a day weekend

So Saturday and Sundays topics were ‘An Old Favourite’ and ‘Favourite Fictional Father’

One did jump out immediately as an old favourite but I’m saving it for one of the ones later in the month. I have therefore decided to go for The Last Juror by John Grisham.

Grisham was a real change in direction of my reading. Up until then my back catalogue would have fit very comfortably in a retirement home given that they were all gentile Binchy type choices. My mum at the time was a member of one of those book clubs where they send you a catalogue every month you order say 6 books over 12 months then get a free one. The free one in this case was John Grisham – The Brethren. It was about law, something that I was developing an interest in at the time so I thought I would give it a go.

BAM I have never looked back.

I loved the fast paced world of the American legal system and quickly devoured everything he had ever written. Like Binchy, he too became quiet formulaic after a time (young rookie lawyer with no money takes on big firm) but I didn’t mind, Grisham still took me along for the ride. To be honest it’s over 15 years since I read most of them and they do tend to have blurred into one another but the one that stands out still to this day is The Last Juror. It was a slightly different take to his previous ones (only ever so slightly) and had me virtually in tears by the end something that no other Grisham book has done.

I tend to not read so many Grisham books now, I think I overindulged and made myself sick of them for a while. We did read Skipping Christmas for Book Club though which was good and a big departure from his previous work. I think it’s been long enough for me now to go and read one of his newer ones and really enjoy it as I do still love crime thrillers, something which I owe massively to Grisham. Do read his early ones if you haven’t they are really good just not all at once back to back

I confessed I hit Google for Favourite Fiction Father. I just couldn’t think of any. Sure enough up came a list of 100 possibles for me to choose from. Don’t you just love Google! One jumped from the page immediately, more so because we have recently read Death comes to Pemberley. Can you guess who? Mr Bennett. I love how he handles living in a house with so many women including the infamous Mrs Bennett. He seems to dearly love Lizzie and really in a society where it’s all about money and security allows his daughters freehand to love whom they choose (good job they turned out to be Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy huh?)

This category is one though where really memory is the biggest test. I am sure there are loads of father figures out there that I love but just can’t remember at the time of writing. Please jog my memory!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Books I pretend to read and that make me laugh #bookadayuk

Ok so blog was lost to me yesterday due to work commitments but I’ve managed to steal 5 minutes today to write about yesterday’s bookaday and todays.

Yesterday was a book ‘I pretend to have read’. Now regular readers of this blog will know I always finish a book once I start it so there isn’t an obvious candidate as if I waived about War and Peace on the bus but accidently started to read the first page then I would simply have to read until the end, which I did.

I’m not a snobby reader, well I tend not to like classic chick lit genre but I certainly love a good Jilly Collins, jumped on board with the Hunger Games and read all of the Shades of Gray series (really not worth it). So, whilst I would like some day to have read Ulysses, Paradise Lost, The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Les Mis. backwards twice. I have no desire to pretend that yes I have read them and weren’t they very good!

So what can my nomination be? Like a light bulb switching on inspiration hit. I have not one but two books I like to think I have read but haven’t actually. They are (drum roll please) Watership Down and The Hobbit. Shock horror! I can’t possibly have not finished a book and then pretended to can I? Well no because, you see, when I was younger I went on a couple of European holidays with my auntie and uncle and my cousin. They had in their car a tape player, and in that tape player they inserted audiobooks of which they only had two which were (yep you guessed it) Watership Down and The Hobbit. Now Tolkein is not very sparse with his word content but even with his helping hand the number of times the two tapes were repeated on our 24 hour journeys to Switzerland and the South of France were numerous. Not only did my cousin and I became word perfect the latter tape had such an effect on my impressionable younger cousin that he has never fully recovered and now wears his hair long, owns a bow and arrow and would like to be an elf!

So if someone happens to mention Watership Down I freely comment how heartbroken I was and tell everyone who will listen that I haven’t a clue how Peter Jackson has made the Hobbit into three films when really it’s not that long but I hold my hands up and admit, I've never read them and in view of the fact I can still quote from Watership Down (“whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you”) I’m honestly not sure if I ever will.

Today’s book a day is a book that ‘makes me laugh’. Obvious choice for this one, the recently read The Rosie Project. It’s not too often a book makes me laugh but this one did. What made it stand out was the fact that it had so much more to give than just a few chuckles. Rather than repeat myself here I refer you to my previous blog on the very book (see post from February 2014)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Tweet Tweet

So Cramlington book club has now joined twitter @crambookclub and upon joining I noticed something trending under the hashtag ‘bookadayuk’ interesting I thought what’s that? It turns out it’s this;

And for those who can’t be bothered to click on the link (or just wanted to keep on reading this exciting post), for every day in June there is a different category of book. You then tweet your favourite of that particular category every day. Ever had a burning desire to know which book with a blue cover is the most popular? Can’t get to sleep at night without telling the world your favourite fictional father? Well panic no more #bookadayuk remedies that.

Todays category (11th June) is secondhand bookshop gem. Living up in Northumberland we are obviously honoured to have Barter Books on our doorstep – a very large secondhand bookshop in a converted railway station in Alnwick however my favourite bookshop has to be in Scarborough. It’s been a few years since I’ve last been to Scarborough and I can’t remember the name of the shop but it’s the one round the corner from Boyes that is like a tardis and has books stacked floor to ceiling (please don’t tell me it’s closed).

Anyway I used to go to Scarborough every year when I was younger and this was where I would head to (along with the 2 pence machines to which I was addicted!) It was here I would scour out the very few Maeve Binchy books I hadn’t already read, the John Grisham ones that I was fast becoming addicted to and the slightly risqué Shirley Conran and Jackie Collins ones.

My husband also most Christmas’s buys me a box of books. There are all randomly picked from charity shops and have featured over the years books such as The Giles Wareing Haters Club by Tim Dowling, Empress Orchid by Anchee Min and Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt (the one I am presently reading having wanted to do so for ages).

Every Christmas I in turn buy every member of the book club a randomly chosen book from a charity shop. It acts like a secret Santa, everyone picks a wrapped book out of the box and it’s the luck of the drawer as to whether have already read it, hate it on sight or discover a whole new author. I wouldn’t be able to afford to do this at somewhere like Waterstones (I love that shop and am not knocking it in the slightest but I would literally have to take out a bank loan to buy the 13 books I need)

I think writing this has made me actually stop and think how long ago it was before I last trawled a second hand bookshop. It’s so easy for me to head to Amazon and buy a book for a couple of quid now that it’s very rare I even enter a bookshop let alone simply browse for the pure joy of it. This is something I will seek to rectify!

You will note I deliberately have spoken about gems of bookshops rather than a gem book from a bookshop as day 28 of the #bookadayuk slightly overlaps on this point and I want to leave myself something to talk about!

Tomorrows book is ‘I pretend to have read it’

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kiss me First - Lottie Moggach. A strange one.

I genuinely had no idea how this book would pan out. I was about 2/3rd of the way through and still couldn’t tell what was going to happen. What made Leila go to Spain? How were the police involved? Was Tess really dead? How would the story with Adrian pan out? It’s not very often I read a book and have no idea where it is going to take me. I may not be able to guess the killer straight away but I know that the book will conclude with the killer being revealed. Here I didn’t know if I was going to read about Tess turning up alive and well, Connor and Leila falling in love or Leila being charged with murder and I really liked that about the book. I was curious and in a way it really built suspense.

It was a strange one though as I don’t think I ever reached the ‘can’t put it down stage’ which I thought I would given that I had such little idea as to the ending. As I missed the meeting I didn’t finish the book during the scheduled month so it took me ages to read including one week where it wasn’t touched at all. Yet I found I was able to pick it up quite easily. There were very few characters in the book and perhaps this helped.

I found Leila’s character really interesting. The way she was so naive in some respects – sex and how close she had come to having it, removing the parking tickets as a favour to the builder next door yet she was on the ball on some things – the way women hold their handbags in the crook of their arm (guilty), the light bulb moment about buying the flat above the takeaway even though it was horrible just so she could spend more time with her mum. I found myself as the book went on thinking about the Rosie Project and wondered if she had some sort of mental illness/issues. She was very socially inept yet despite having a rubbish life she didn’t complain she just got on with it. Was this because she was so alone? The more I think about her the more I could talk about her and I love it when a character does that.

The book was very of the moment in relation to life being lived via email/Facebook. I do expect more books on this vein as people who have never known life without Facebook become adults. There was also shed load of morals/issues to discuss - What does it say that someone can just disappear and live life only via the internet? How easy is it for someone to pass themselves off as another person? Not to mention the whole suicide and euthanasia debate (latter in relation to Leilas mum).

I wasn’t sure why the book was called Kiss Me First. It led me to think it was going to be more of a love story than an on the ball look at the impact internet can have on real life. Maybe because kissing is one thing you can never do over the internet, and perhaps that is what Moggach was trying to say. We can spend hours researching someone, can reel off all the facts and figures and post photoshopped pics on Facebook but we can never truly be someone, we can never kiss, we can never properly love. I will mull that one over later.

I liked the possibility surrounding Ava Root that Moggach added at the end (won’t spoil it for you) but equally the drought in Spain offering a different ending. I cringed quite frequently – Leila stood at the bar waving her book around in an effort to accidently bump in to Connor!
I’m finding as I write this I have a better appreciation for the book. It really is a strange one as if you asked me if I loved it I would say no. If you asked me if I was really in to it I would again say no. If you asked me did I relate to any of the characters I would have to say no. Yet it was a good book with lots of discussion points and for this reason I really wished I could have attended the meeting.

The group gave the book 6.5 however I have been informed by a couple of people that the book raised some interesting questions so I can’t wait until next month to catch up and see what they spoke about. I may even have to add a mini post afterwards unless anyone else wants to add some comments????! (Always hopeful)

Next book is Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Question of the month. Which book has taken you the longest to read? Was it worth it in the end? The usual candidates spring to mind - War and Peace/ Lord of the Rings purely for their length but I read them one mini book at a time so they don’t really count. I’ve struggled to finish a few history books in my time that were just facts piled upon more facts (Kings of the North, Auschwitz and the Final Solution) diluting them by reading another light hearted book alongside them which only stretched the reading time out but got me through. There are a few that I had been meaning to read for years (Life of Pi) but really it’s never taken me more than a month or two of dipping in and out to finish a book.