Thanks to Emily at Literary Elephant for tagging me in this!
Last Book I Gave Up On:
Symona’s Still Single by Lisa Bent. I feel bad about this, because I love everything about the idea of this book – there needs to be more romantic fiction by and about black women, the cover is beautiful and I very much support Jacaranda Books’ TwentyIn2020 project which published twenty books by black writers last year. Unfortunately, this was rambly and not very well-written, and it relied too much on info-dumps from the characters telling us what they feel about everything from self-actualisation to spirituality. I made it about two-thirds of the way through.
Last Book I Re-Read:
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. This Second World War novel was one of my top ten books of 2015, and this was an enjoyable re-read, but I wasn’t quite as blown away as I was when I first read it. The wit felt a little more artificial than it did the first time around, the situations more contrived, and regardless of concerns about historical accuracy, I think it overuses racist slurs and incidents given the relatively small part that black characters play in the story.
Last Book I Bought:
I was enticed into purchase by a 99p Kindle deal, but I’ve had my eye on Babita Sharma’s The Corner Shop for a while. According to the Observer, this memoir promises: ‘a gentle, charming and at times poignant look at our nation of shopkeepers . . . a nuanced exploration of a part of British Asian life that has long been stereotyped’.
Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t:
I really don’t tend to do this (I am much more likely to say I haven’t read books that I actually have read) so I’m struggling a bit with this one. Hopefully no-one from my book group is reading this, because it was probably when I pretended to have read Alexander Chee’s The Queen of the Night a couple of years ago when I actually couldn’t get through it.
Last Book I Wrote In The Margins Of:
I do this with all the books I own and have to read for work. I think the last victim was John and Elizabeth Newson’s Childhood Into Adolescence: Growing Up In The 1970s which is the reconstitution of some unpublished work by these two psychologists who famously conducted a longitudinal study of c.700 children born in Nottingham around 1958.
Last Book That I Had Signed:
I am not remotely bothered about getting books signed, so only end up with signed books by accident. Most recently, I was lucky enough to win a copy of Kate Mascarenhas’s latest novel The Thief on the Winged Horse in a Twitter giveaway, and Kate signed the beautiful hardback for me. I loved her debut The Psychology of Time Travel, so I’m excited to read this tale of magical dolls.
Last Book I Lost:
I don’t lose books that often, so the last incident that springs to mind was probably seven or eight years ago, but I am still very unhappy that I lost my copy of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword. I really want the same edition so haven’t got round to researching and rebuying it.
Last Book I Had To Replace:
I’m sure my physical copies of James Smythe’s The Explorer and The Echo are somewhere, but my dad wasn’t able to find them in the boxes of books I have at his, so I rebought both books on Kindle so I could re-read them before tackling the third in the Anomaly Quartet, The Edge.
Last Book I Argued Over:
I am not allowed to talk about Anna Hope’s Expectation any more after arguing about it with at least two of my friends, but it made me very cross because it was meant to be about three women taking different paths but actually it was about three women taking the same path (even the one who remains childless wonders regretfully if she should have had children), and it was also meant to be about female friendship, but was actually about how women don’t have each others’ backs. I note in passing that my mini rant on the book continues to attract likes on Goodreads, so clearly I am NOT THE ONLY ONE.
Last Book You Couldn’t Find:
The universe does not want me to read Caite-Dolan Leach’s We Went To The Woods, because not only has it not been published in this country, my attempt to order a second-hand hard copy online turned into a saga when it never arrived and I had to argue with the seller for a refund. I haven’t got round to trying a second time yet.
I don’t tend to tag people, but would love to hear your answers if you haven’t tried this tag yet!