‘Have they seen the whale yet?’
So this post needs a big SPOILER ALERT! I have something I’d like to complain about and if you’re planning on reading Moby Dick any time soon (which you should, by the way) you might like to stop right here.
I’ve warned you, right? Now I can go on.
I have a confession to make. I got caught up in the COVID-19 panic-buying that happened in late March. But mine wasn’t toilet paper or hand sanitiser: it was books.
I remember the day clearly. We’d had dinner, I’d put the kids to bed. I thought I’d check my phone one last time before heading upstairs (never a good idea) and saw that all museums, art galleries and LIBRARIES would be closed… indefinitely.
It was an intriguing title that sounded light and fun, and I thought it might be just what I needed after 5 weeks of the dense emotional roller-coaster of Love in the Time of Cholera. It didn’t disappoint: I enjoyed reading every word.
In the book, teenage Christopher tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour’s dog. As we read on, it’s clear that he sees the world in a unique way – through numbers and facts – and that he struggles with most human interactions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one too!
As I progress through this 100 Book Challenge I’m loving books more and more. Am I becoming the more discerning reader? Perhaps. I find I’m worrying less about how many pages I have to go and I simply enjoy the ride.
Far from the Madding Crowd was full of love- and hate-able characters, countryside that felt like home (my parents were born in England and so many of my family’s stories involve adventures in the south), and short, engaging chapters where there’s always something happening.
A few chapters in to Bridget Jones’s Diary I was feeling a little bored. After recently reading the complex and multi-layered novels of Confederacy of Dunces, Rebecca and Dracula, Bridget Jones seemed all to simple and predictable.
A few more chapters in I was hooked and had to quickly eat my words. This book was fun to read.
Have I ever read a book as perfect as this one? I think not.
Every single page of this story was enjoyable to read. I had never heard of this book before seeing it on the 100 Book Challenge list, so I had no idea of what to expect. The bizarre title and inconspicuous author name gave me no clues either. So I just opened the book and began to read.
This book took me four days to read. Every waking minute during those four days I was obsessed with getting back to the book. When I finally read that last page I was relieved: I could go back onto focusing my daily life again.
But would I recommend you read this book? I’m not sure.
It takes me about half a book of Austen before I start enjoying it. That first half is always such a struggle. I’m constantly looking at the page numbers and monitoring whether I’m a tenth through, a fifth through, a third through…
And then, just when I’m thinking I can’t possibly go on, something takes over. I am connected to each of the characters, I understand what drives them, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I wasn’t particularly drawn to Emma herself – she is the classic 19th century English woman, and somewhat annoying with her matchmaking – but the characters who surround her are brilliant. It always amazes me how I can read about people from the early 1800s and can immediately think of someone I know who has the exact same characteristics. Technology has changed so much over time… but it hasn’t done anything to change human nature.
Why did it take me so long to discover this book!?
I have to admit, the first chapter was one of the most tedious chapters I’ve read during this 100 book challenge. I was ready to give it the flick. Then a word here and there piqued my interest… there was a deep mystery, albeit so slightly mentioned, and from that page on I was hooked.