Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 2 June 2021

Summer is finally in the air and with the sunshine I feel a little more settled and I am expecting to read a bit more this week.

I have been rubbish at blogging and reading/commenting on your posts lately, but I am hoping I will be able to improve a bit over the coming weeks. I feel a lot more inspired anyway, which definitely helps.

Anyway, let’s start with this week’s WWW!

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

My main read at the moment is A Lullaby in the Desert by Mojgan Azar. It’s a semi-autobiographical story of Susan, who leaves Tehran to escape an arranged marriage and ends up in Erbil in Kurdistan, where the rise of ISIS (Da’esh) changes everything. I am not that far in yet, but already I am gripped. It feels like a story that needs to be told.

I am also slowly reading Liberté, Egalité, Phoenix!, which is French band Phoenix telling their story. There are lots of pictures and it’s a gorgeous book. I love Phoenix’ music, so it’s a great excuse to listen to all their albums again.

I am listening to Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. I am about halfway and it’s a good listen. It’s a very dark gothic story and I don’t like any of the characters, but the narrator is doing a great job and I am still enjoying it! I have the hardback as well, but I think audio is definitely the way to go with this one.

Finally, I have picked up Gardens of Delight by Erica James as a lighter bedtime read on my Kindle. It’s one that has been sitting on my Kindle for years, but now I just felt like this kind of fluffy summery read.

What did I recently finish reading?

In the past week I finished a translated work: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, which was a decent read and I liked (5 out of 7*), a poetry book: Peace Flows from the Sky by Susan Polis Schultz (4 out of 7*) and a romance: The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert (4 out of 7*). I did not quite love any of these books, but they were all ok and I enjoyed reading them.

What will I be reading next?

No idea – whatever I am in the mood for. I did make a small summer TBR, so I may choose something from that.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 19 May 2021

Still reading slowly! *sigh* Oh well. I am enjoying what I’m reading though!

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out! (It’s her birthday today, so wish her a happy birthday!)

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am reading three books very slowly, but I am enjoying them all! I am reading Billie Holiday’s autobiography Lady Sings The Blues for my book club. It’s very vibrant and sassy and I like it. It’s co-written, but it came out in the 50s and the language really feels of its time, which I love.

I am also reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. It’s my first Murakami and I am only 50 pages in, but I really like the writing style and the story is intriguing so far. I can already see myself reading a lot more Murakami in the future.

Finally, I am listening to Patti Smith’s M Train. I just love listening to Patti narrating her books. This book does not really seem to be about anything in particular, but just a dip into her journals and making a book out of it. It drifts and meanders and I kind of love it for that.

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished reading Then She Ran by Charlie Gallagher, which was a crime/mystery. It was not really my bag, but it was fine.

I also finished In The Presence of Absence by Palistinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. It’s an ode to his life addressed to himself and it was fantastic. That one felt expecially poignant in current times with everything that’s going on with Israel/Palestine. I won’t get into politics here, but I have strong feelings. I will try and get hold of everything this guy has written, because I love his prose so so much. Obviously I can’t read the original Arabic version, but the translation flowed well and felt sincere.

What will I read next?

I am really not sure yet. It depends on my mood when I finish the books I am currently reading. There are a few books I bought recently that are high on my list. We’ll see!

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 5 May 2021

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out! (It’s her birthday today, so wish her a happy birthday!)

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am currently reading a middle grade book, which is DarkIsle by D A Nelson. It’s not blowing my mind, but I am enjoying it and I will pass it one to my daughter to read once I am done with it.

I am also reading In The Presence of Absence by Mahmoud Darwish. It is hard to explain what this book is. It kind of appears to be his life story written in prose told to himself. He wrote it when he knew he was dying. I have never read anything like it. It is beautiful and I am savouring every page. I know it will make me cry. There is something about his writing that hits me right in the feels, even in a translated work.

Finally, I am listening to an Agatha Christie on audio. I have gone for By The Pricking of my Thumbs, which is neither a Marple nor a Poiroit. It centrest around an elderly sleuthing couple. I am enjoying the listen.

What did you recently finish reading?

I am still reading slowly and I have only managed to finish one book, which was Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. It was a good one though!

What will I read next?

I am not entirely sure yet. I have some heavier reads I want to get to, but I think I will be better off keeping to light reads for now. Nothing too taxing on my brain. My brain too quickly loses focus at the moment. I do need to read some books from my 2021 TBR, so I may have a look at that when choosing my next read.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday: 14 April 2021

I skipped last week for some reason. I don’t think I finished anything then anyway, so I guess it does not matter. And I am super late again today! Anyway, happy Wednesday evening!

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out! (It’s her birthday today, so wish her a happy birthday!)

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currenly reading?

I have just started Fire From Heaven by Mary Renault last night, so I am only 6 (!!) pages in. I was choosing a new book and just kind of felt like reading a fiction book about some ancient civilization. This one centres around Alexander The Great.

I am still listening to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is nice to revisit this wonderful novel as an audio book. Rosamund Pike does a great job reading it. She brings a lot of life to it. I only have an hour or so to go, so I expect to finish it in the next couple of days.

What did your recently finish reading?

I finished Palace of Desire, the second book in the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, just yesterday evening. I really love Mahfouz’ writing a lot. It took me about two weeks to read, which is long for me, but I don’t mind. I enjoyed it and I will order the third book in the series soon.

What will I be reading next?

It’s time to pick up another non-fiction book. I am just not quite sure which one yet. I have a couple of music books I want to read, but I also have some other books I would like to get to soon. I will probably decide later today.

As for fiction, I will probably pick up something from my 2021 TBR next.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 24 March 2021

Can’t believe we are already this far into March and Covid restrictions have been in place for over a year. How are things going in your country? Have you been vaccinated yet? Fingers crossed we will all be vaccinated by summer and life can return to some sort of normality.

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I had a bit of a book hangover after The Secret History – I felt satisfied, but exhausted! So I picked up an easier read, which is Wilder Girls by Rory Power. I am only 70 pages in (and that took me three days 😂), but it feels like it would normally be a quick read. Hopefully my reading will pick up soon. I plan to put a bit of time aside today, as today I don’t have much on.

I have finally continued The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire. I am really enjoying this poetry. It’s so full of longing, a strange mix of romance and nihilism. I am not that far in yet, so I am curious to see what the rest of the poems will be like. I like this edition as it has the original French poem on one side and the English one on the other. My French is very bad, but I can sort of check whether the cadence of the original returns in the English translation and it seems that it does, which I am very pleased with.

Finally, I have started a new audio book. I chose Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade. I had heard such good things and it was in the Audible sale, so I figured now was the time. I am a third of the way through (it’s only short) and it is such a fun listen. It really is light relief in the best possible way.

What have I recently finished reading?

In the past week I have finished The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which was dense, but very good. It took me quite a long time to read, but it was so worth my time. 6/7 stars.

I also finished my audio book which was Thinking on my Feet by Kate Humble. It’s a book about walking throughout the course of one year, diary style. I found it a really relaxing read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 6/7 stars.

What will I be reading next?

I have a few books that are high up on my TBR. I have the e-book of Where The Crawdads Sing by Celia Owens that I really want to get to ASAP, and I also want to continue the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz with Palace of Desire. I think those are the most likely candidates.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 10 March 2021

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What are you currently reading?

I ‘only’ have two books in progress at the moment. I have about two hours to go on my audio book, which is still Listening to the Animals by Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick. For some reason I just haven’t been listening to audio very much. I am enjoying it well enough though.

I am reading Dominicana by Angie Cruz on my Kindle. I am about 20% in. It’s ok so far – I am not loving it yet.

What have I recent finished reading?

I finished four books since last week. I liked them all! I finished Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose, which despite it’s low Goodreads rating, I really enjoyed. I ended up giving it 6 out of 7 stars (5* on GR). I just love the way she writes every day things. I also finished On Connection by Kae Tempest, which was a small book all on the idea of connection and creativity and how they go together. It was interesting, but I feel like they could have delved a little deeper (5/7*).

Yesterday I finished two more books, which were State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury, which had been sitting pretty on my shelf for a few years. I liked it, but I won’t be continuing the series (5/7*). And last, but definitely not least I read Why Did You Leave the Horse Alone? by Mahmoud Darwish. This is a poetry book with beautiful prose translated from Arabic. I really loved it, but the meaning went over my head a lot of the time. I gave it 6/7*, but I kind of feel it deserves a 7*. I just don’t understand it enough. But then, do you really need to understand poetry to love it? Food for thought…

What will I be reading next?

I keep thinking I want to read ‘this’ and then I change my mine to ‘that’, so I think I will just pick whatever I am in the mood for when I finish my current reads.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 24 February 2021

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What are you currently reading?

I am reading an actual bookie book, an e-book and I am listening to an audio book at the moment.

The paperback is The City of Brass by S A Chakraborty. I bought this one on a whim last week. I am still in the mood for Middle Eastern inspired books, but I fancied something a bit different. This one has glowing reviews and I have heard good things, so despite the fact I should not be starting a new series (oops), I started this one. I am only a few pages in, so not much to tell yet.

My Kindle book is Your Song Changed My Life by Bob Boilen. I am reading this one for my music book club. I am a few chapters in and it is kind of eclectic and interesting. I hope I will end up liking it.

Finally, I am listening to Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick, the Supervet. I love nature and animals and I have not been reading these types of books enough lately. My mother-in-law bought the hardback copy of this for me a couple of Christmasses ago, but I did not get round to reading it. It’s a memoir, so I thought the audio book read by the author would be the way to go. He is a bit dramatic reading it, but I I am liking it so far.

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, which I enjoyed plenty enough, but did not quite love (5 out of 7 stars). I finished an audio book, which was Chronicles by Bob Dylan. That one was kind of interesting, but simply did not excite me (4 out of 7 stars). Finally, I read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, which I absolutely fell in love with (7 big stars!). I am pretty sure that one will end up on my end of year list.

What will I be reading next?

I am not entirely sure yet. There are several books I want to pick up soon, but I have no definite reading plans.

Books · Reviews

WWW Wednesdays: 10 February 2021

It’s a cold and snowy morning, and I have a bunch of chores today, so let’s get my WWW done nice and early! 🙂

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I have an hour to go on my audio book, which is There Goes Gravity by famed music journalist Lisa Robinson. It has been a pretty good listen and includes chapters on a range of musicians, from The Rolling Stones to Eminem.

I am reading Ethan Hawke’s book A Bright Ray of Darkness. I’ve got a signed copy of that one, which is kind of fun. I am not quite halfway, but it is kind of exactly what I expected, smart and kind of sleazy. I am liking it though. If you have seen more recent interviews with him you know exactly what this book is like. It’s about a Hollywood actor doing a Shakespeare play on Broadway. Write what you know, I guess…

What did I recently finish reading?

I finished two books, both of which did not quite hit the mark for me. The first one was Paris by Starlight by Robert Dinsdale. That one has some gorgeous magical passages in it, but overall the vibe was a little off for me. I also read The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn, which is the second book in the Bridgerton series. It was a romp and I enjoyed it, but I am done with that series for now. It’s not quite my jam.

What will I be reading next?

Audio book wise I will probably go back to Chronicles by Bob Dylan. My fiction books will most likely be Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, as I already read the first chapter of that one.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 27 January 2021

It is the last WWW of January 2021 already. I can see the bulbs are already starting to grow in the garden in a first glimpse that spring will be here in not too long. I can’t wait. It’s been a long wet winter already.

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am only reading one book at the moment, which is Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz. It’s a Middle Eastern classic and the first book in the Cairo Trilogy. I am halfway through Palace Walk and I am enjoying it a lot. It feels quite sweeping and quite claustrophobic at the same time. It’s really well written and the translator seems to have done a very good job! The book was published in Arabic in the 1950s, but it is set in 1910s Cairo and centres around one family. So far, so good! I definitely want to pick up the other two books in this series.

What have I finished reading?

It has been a very productive week, readingwise!

First of all, I finished all three of last week’s reads. Things The Grandchildren Should Know, by Eels frontman E (Mark Oliver Everett), was a book about a tragic life with a good outcome, but I never warmed to the author. He came across a little bit aloof and not that likable. It is a good memoir though (5*).

I finished listening to Greenlights, another memoir of sorts, this time by actor Matthew McConaughey. This was a joy to listen to. It as a very dynamic memoir with lots of life advice and bumper sticker wisdom. (6*)

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke was a novel I picked up on my Kindle at random and I absolutely loved it! It was strange and mysterious and just absolutely lovely! (7*)

I also read a little book called How To Write One Song by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy. It was an excellent guide on how to motivate yourself to be creative. This was specifically about songwriting, but really it could apply to any creative craft. It was really well written and thought out and it was a joy to read. (6*)

Finally, I read John Cooper Clarke’s poetry collection Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt, which I really loved as well. I just really enjoy his poetry and its gritty wisdoms. His use of words is second to none.

What will I read next?

I have a single NetGalley book I should get to, which is Off The Charts by Kat Goldman. I hardly ever request books from NetGalley these days, but this one sounded right up my street!

I have been reading so many music books recently and I have been enjoying it a lot.

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays: 20 January 2021

Can you believe we’re three weeks into 2021? Time seems to move so fast and yet so slow at the same time. We are in Lockdown still here and I am home schooling my daughter for at least another two weeks.

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WWW Wednesdays’ home is at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. Check it out!

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

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What am I currently reading?

I am listening to actor Matthew McConaughey’s memoir Greenlights. I am enjoying that one a lot. He is definitely an interesting guy with interesting views on life. This is a memoir/life advice book and feels quite unique. I decided to listen to this one because he has such a good voice to listen to and I had seen him talk about it somewhere. It sounded like a good read, and it is.

I am reading another memoir as well. Things The Grandchildren Should Know is the memoir of musician Mark Oliver Everett, also known as E of alternative band EELS. This is a guy that had a very turbulent life that I knew next to nothing about! I only picked this one up because of a book club. I am halfway. There are things about the writing I don’t particularly like, but his life story is sad, but kind of fascinating.

Finally, in desperate need of some fiction I have started Piranesi by Susanna Clarke on my Kindle last night. I am only a few pages in. It’s definitely intriguing!

What have I recently finished reading?

I have finished reading The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, which is mostly historical fiction set in Tehran, Iran. It was a tearjerker for sure, but I loved it so so much! My first 7-star read of the year.

Unfortunately it was followed by a less impressive book, which was Greenmantle by Charles de Lint. I only gave that one 2 stars. This is a late 1980s fantasy book and though the characters were ok, it was rather sexist and the weird combination of mobsters and fantasy creatures really did not work for me.

I also read The Love Poems of Rumi, which is a collection of Rumi’s poems translated by Nader Khalili. I read this after Rumi was referred to in The Stationery Shop. It was the second book in a short while that touched on Rumi, and I felt I wanted to look into his work. This collection was not great, but it really felt like it was the translation that ruined the poems for me. I ordered a different work by him that is supposed to be a more faithful translation. I decided not to rate this one, mainly because I did not feel it was a good reflection of Rumi’s work.

What do I plan to read next?

I am not entirely sure. I am really enjoying stories set in the Middle East at the moment, so I may pick up something else set there. Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz is on my 2021 TBR, so I may decide to read that one. This one is set in early 20th century Egypt.