The Pages and the Miles: 10th November 2019

The Pages

You know when you have a couple of weeks where you don’t seem to be reading quite the right things and it makes everything drag a bit? I’ve had one of those fortnights.  It started out pretty well. I loosely took part in the 24 Hour Readathon a couple of weekends ago and picked up a YA title I’ve had on my shelves for about 6 years – The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan. It was the second book in a zombie trilogy that I started back in 2013. I read the first one, really enjoyed it, promptly bought the next two and then ignored them. The second wasn’t quite as good as the first but it was a quick read full of zombie attacks to get your heart racing and just the right amount of philosophising about the nature of humanity and a dash of vaguely angsty romance. Not lofty literature but good fun. It was an easy 4 stars for keeping me completely entertained for 24 hours.

The ending was a cliffhanger and a half so I decided to make the most of being swept up in the momentum and immediately picked up The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan. That was when the wheels fell off. The perspective changed from the second novel and the angst increased beyond my patience levels. The new narrator has been badly scarred in an accident and spends the whole novel rambling to herself about how ugly she is and generally being an angry person pushing everyone away. There’s a terrible love triangle of sorts and the threat of zombies increases so much that it almost gets boring. I ploughed on for two weeks though and then the last 50 pages just became all kinds of ridiculous. I know that sounds stupid for a post-apocalyptic novel full of zombies but it all became farcical and far too melodramatic. 2 stars for at least having some clever moments about how all round awful people can be and hope in the face of that.

I then started on Non-Fiction November. I read very little non-fiction because reading is so important to me as a way to relax and unwind but I own a lot and I could do a better job of balancing out my fiction and non-fiction reading. I started with Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox, all about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s involvement in the case of Oscar Slater, a Jewish immigrant imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. Given my job, I was all up for a tale of the famous author’s wrangling with the law and the man at the heart of the scandal. In part, the book was that but I gave up after about a third so I can’t tell you how it pans out. It’s the first book I’ve DNF’d this year so it’s not something I’d usually do but the narrative and the structure just drove me crazy. It was repetitive and winding but, more irritatingly, it felt as though the author was telling me literally everything she’d learned while researching. Mentioning a person in passing? Why not tell me about the history of their surname and how they used to be called something different but changed it? Someone on a boat? Please do tell me about the ultimate fate of that boat in World War II. It was distracting and just not for me. The first book in 2019 that’s really made me think “life is too short for this book”.  Onward and upward.

Currently reading: Eat Up! Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want by Ruby Tandoh and The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Miles

I haven’t been updating on running for ages. Predominantly because I haven’t been running. I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago, which has sapped both my energy and has had me too nauseous for even contemplating the jiggly momentum of running. I’m gradually starting to feel better and although I have bad days sometimes, I also have days where I feel mostly normal and I really want to get back to my usual routine. So from now on, this section won’t chart miles covered (because that number would be LOW) but will be somewhere to keep track of the exercise I’m managing to get in and generally the world of exercising while pregnant. Niche perhaps but the best I can do for the next few months!

Wish me luck…