Books · Reading Diary

End of Month Reading Diary: 25-28 February 2022

(Some historical fiction, a classic by Dostoevsky and a snippet of birdish non-fiction)

I am aware this is going to be a pretty mediocre blog post, but to be honest, I just need to be distracted right now. The roof damage sustained during storm Eunice last Friday should be repaired in the coming week and luckily the forecast for the next week is reasonably calm weather. I don’t think I could cope with another storm any time soon. But how better to distract myself than getting some reading done. Of course I will need to do some damage control in the main house to try and limit the water damage, but hopefully I will have plenty of time to read. I have a couple of books I would like to finish up this month. The first is Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, which I bought for 99p on my Kindle earlier this month. It sounded right up my street and I had heard good things. The other is Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It feels kind of odd to read Russian literature at this point in time, but I guess it’s not Dostoevsky’s fault. I am also listening to an audio book, but as always, I am not in a rush with that one. The audio book is The Seabird’s Cry by Adam Nicolson. It’s a natural history book about sea birds. I am loving it! It will probably take me at least another week to finish that one. I listen to a bit of audio book every day, but not that long, so it tends to take me a while. I like it that way.

  • Friday, 25 February 2022

16.55 – I have a few chores to do in a moment and I will listen to about fifteen minutes of my audio book whilst doing it. I do intend to get a few pages read of Notes From Underground later and I also mean to get to page 200 of Daughters of Night. My goal is to finish Daughters of Night over the weekend, leaving Monday to concentrate completely on Notes From Underground. I am enjoying the latter, but it takes quite a bit of concentration. It feels quite dense. It was written in the 1860s and it’s basically an internal monologue. It’s quite pretentious, but I think I kind of like it for that. As for Daughters of Night – this is an historical murder mystery set in the late 1700s. It is not quite holding my attention for some reason, so I think this blog post will help me keep me focussed. I like the writing, the characters are interesting, but for some reason it is taking more reading than I expected. I am only a third in and I am not entirely sure why this book is so long. Hopefully the story will pick up a bit and I will start feeling more invested. We’ll see.

21.25 – I reached the 200 page mark in Daughters of Night. My impressions have not changed so far. I am enjoying it well enough, but it’s not thrilling me at the moment. I imagine we will be watching some television in a moment, so though I will read a bit more at bedtime, it won’t be much more today. If I reach 225 pages, I will be happy. Then I can aim to get to at least 350 tomorrow and the rest on Sunday. That’s my plan anyway. But, as I have recently found out, life has a habit of going off-plan. We will see. I may update again today if I think I have something worth saying. Otherwise, I will catch up tomorrow, hopefully a sunny Saturday.

  • Saturday, 26 February 2022

10.40 – I did not quite get to page 225 yesterday,but I caught up to that this morning. I think it’s getting a bit more intriguing, so I am curious where it will go. It was misty and frosty overnight and in our storm ravaged house the leakage is still dripping quite a bit in places. I really hope the damage won’t be too extensive, but it will be hard to tell for a few weeks yet. The stress still lives on and will do until a roof is back on our house and the inside has dried out.

Readingwise, I hope to get a good chunk done today, but it’s also quite a chore heavy day, so we will see. I think I will be able to finish Daughters of Night before the end of the month, but Dostoevsky may have to roll over into March. It’s not a book I can rush. I will do my best, but I do want to enjoy the book!

17.00 – It’s been a chore heavy afternoon, but I managed to get to page 300. According to my Kindle I am only 53% in though, so it’s clearly longer than I expected. Well, that may influence my hope of finishing Notes From Underground as well. I don’t think that’s quite going to happen. I will concentrate fully on Daughters of Night today and I will see how far I will get today. I think if I want to stand a chance of finishing this book tomorrow, I will need to get to 75% and I am not sure I will manage that. I am still enjoying the book itself, though I do feel it’s a bit slower and longer than I want it to be and maybe than it needs to be. I do admire the detail that is going into this late 1700s version of London though. It is definitely believable.

23.30 – Of course I did not get anywhere near as far as I wanted to. My goal was at least page 350, preferrably to 75%. Yes, that’s not quite happening I think. I am on page 334 (59%), so I am close, but I am about to go to bed as I am feeling exhausted. I may be able to read a few more pages in bed, but I doubt I will get very far before my eyes will want to close.

As far as reading diaries go, this one is not that exciting, but it’s helpful to me, so I will keep up with it anyway.

Tomorrow should be a less busy day. Sunday usually is. I may get a good chunk read. We’ll see. No progress was made on the Dostoevsky book today, but I did listen to another ten minutes of The Seabird’s Cry. I was listening to part of a chapter about gulls. I am enjoying the listen very much indeed. I did not read that many natural history books in 2021 and I have quite a few on my shelf that I still want to read. Maybe 2022 will be the year in which I catch up with what all the creatures and plants that live on this beautiful planet, which humans are so hellbound on destroying.

On a side note, talking about natural history, we are currently residing in our airbnb cottage whilst our house is having repairs done this coming week. It has a DVD player! We haven’t had one ourselves for years! I found my old ‘Wild Down Under’ DVD. This was a BBC series about Australia, which I loved. It’s full of beautiful landscape shots and talks about all the weird and wonderful animals there, many of which I had the pleasure of seeing when I was out there in my early twenties. I truly loved Australia during the best part of the year I spent there. I would love to go back one day. Anyway, my almost 10yo daughter is enjoying it with me and I am loving how much she is into it.

Anyway, time for bed. I may still get to 350 pages – you never know!

  • Sunday, 27 February 2022

08.05 – Good morning! Well, I am up. I’ve fed the animals and I am just waiting for my husband to get up so we can have breakfast together. Guess what! I did get to 350 pages. In fact I got to 358 pages! That’s 63% in. Not the 75% I needed to finish my read today, but that’s ok. I’m happy.

As for today. It’s a gloriously sunny frosty morning, which is nice. The world feels calm. I am going to read for a little bit until breakfast while I can and then we will see what the day brings.

12.05 – I had a good hour to read, which was nice. I am on page 446, or 78%. I think that’s pretty good going. I do feel really invested in the story now. It’s well written and I am enjoying it. I do still feel like it’s longer than it should be, but let’s see if the slow story pays off in the end. There is at least another 100 pages to go,so depending on how the rest of the day goes, I may be able to get the majority of it read today. I’d be happy if I get to page 500.

It’s odd, as last year I really did not read that many books over 500 pages. In 2022 this will be my fifth book over 500 pages and I have another two planned for March. For some reason I feel less intimidated by big books than I was the last few years. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after finishing a big book. I have a couple of books that are over 1000 pages that I plan to read in the not too distant future as well. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that big! The only thing is that with my current book I feel like it need not have been over 500 pages. Oh well!

Do you read a lot of long books?

16.35 – I finished the book! What? How did that happen? I flew through the last quarter. Everything just felt faster and more compelling. Some of the resolutions I had guessed, some I had not. In the end I still think the book is longer than it needed to be, but I enjoyed it well enough. I am leaning towards 5 out of 7 stars for this one. I would be be tempted to pick up the author’s previous book Blood & Sugar.

I am quite amazed I managed to read 200 pages today! That rarely happens. There may be a chance now that I will finish Notes From Underground, but I have a feeling I probably won’t.

I have a stable to to muck out, so I will go and do that and listen to some of my audio book. I will write up a review of Daughters of Night afterwards.

22.00 – I wrote my review and I did end up giving it 5 out of 7 stars. I enjoyed it, but it was a bit too long and the story only really picked up for me in the second half.

I read a few pages of Notes From Underground. I get distracted from it way too easily. I find it interesting with the first person, very introspective, narrative, but it’s not holding my attention. It just feels a little dense. At the same time, it does not feel like a two-hundred-year-old book. It’s relatively contemporary in feel. I want to make progress with it, but I keep starting and stopping. It’s only a short book,so it’s ridiculous it’s already taken me two weeks to read it. It’s taken me two weeks to get 45 pages in. To be fair, I have been reading it alongside other things. Tomorrow I will concentrate solely on this book. I will see how far I will get.

Tonight I will start a new book on my Kindle. I had review request recently for a fantasy book. I ummed and ah-ed a bit as the cover is not doing anything for me, but the premise sounds interesting and it is on Kindle Unlimited. May as well make use of it whilst I still have it! This is a fantasy book and I think I am quite in the mood for fantasy. I have a feeling March may well be a fantasy heavy month. I’m looking forward to it.

Let’s sing out February first. I will be off to bed soon and I will make a start on the Kindle Unlimited fantasy book. My priority tomorrow, however, will be Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

  • Monday, 28 February 2022

08.45 – Good morning! It’s the last day of the month. February seemed long for some reason. It was an eventful month, but not in a good way. I will be happy to put it behind me to be honest.

Tomorrow work on roof repairs should start with building up the scaffolding to fix the roof in the aftermath of storm Eunice. It’s predicted to rain tomorrow, which means more leakage and potential for damage. But at the end of the week we should have a roof again. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, yes, Notes From Underground is my task today. I am on page 48 and the book has 136 pages. Now, that sounds very doable, but I have been finding it hard to focus on this one. Before I was thinking of picking up Crime and Punishment, but to be honest, I am not sure whether Dostoevsky is for me. I will see how I get on today. When I am reading it, I do find it interesting, but I am just too quick to put it down again.

I made a start on the Kindle Unlimited fantast book yesterday, but I only read about 5 pages before my eyes wanted to close. As far as what I read goes, I am not sure about that one. It was a bit of an odd start to a book, but I will withhold judgement for now.

I do have some admin tasks this morning, but I will read a bit of Dostoevsky first. Wish me luck!

10.10 – I managed to read up to page 70. I feel like I will be able to finish it today. I am enjoying it more now I am reading more than a couple of pages at a time. It’s a very interesting study of human nature. The unnamed main characters most inner thoughts and feelings are not pleasant, but I think they feel very real and believable. He is not the nicest of characters in whose head to spend time, but there is definitely a lot of skill in making his spiteful, cowardly nature come to life. I am appreciating it.

Right, admin time. I will try and read the rest after lunch.

13.05 – I achieved the main part of my admin. I just need to upload some stuff, which I will do in a moment. I spent the past half hour reading Notes From Underground. It really is quite an extraordinary novel. The narrator is such a horrible individual that he makes my skin scrawl. Yet, I cannot deny that the writing is so good! I have not read a novel quite like this one before. Do I like it? I am not sure. I certainly don’t like the narrative, but there is something compelling about it too. There is something so fascinating about this study of the vilest of human natures.

I am on page 106 at the moment with 30 pages to go, so I am quite confident now that I will be able to finish it.

I picked a few books from my library to read in the next couple of weeks. I’m excited! But first this Dostoevsky book and after that I will continue reading the KU fantasy book with the bad cover I started reading yesterday.

16.10 – I finished Notes From Underground. It was well written and a fascinating exercise in existentialism. Did I truly enjoy it? Not quite. I think I will give it 5 out of 7 stars. I think that’s quite reflective of appreciating a book without truly enjoying the read. I think I would like to try something else by Dostoevsky at some point in the future. I will have a look into some of his other works and see if there is one that appeals to me. Recommendations always welcome.

17.05 – I tried with the Kindle Unlimited fantasy book. I am 20 pages in, but I am not feeling it right now. I feel like introduction to the characters felt rushed and the pacing seems odd. It’s not flowing for me. I may try again in a couple of days. For now, I need something to pull me in right away.

23.50 – Just wrapping up my end-of-month reading diary. I did not read anymore, apart from listening to a bit of my audio book, which is The Seabird’s Cry. I finished the chapter on gulls and started the chapter on guillemots. It’s such a joy to listen to. I will start The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson tomorrow and I have picked up Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire to read at bedtime. I enjoyed the first two books, even if I don’t love them as much as other people seem to. I am sure I will enjoy this one as well. I have not read the synopsis, so I am not sure what this one is about.

This was not the most interesting of reading diaries – apologies! But it helped me read those two books before the end of the month.

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