TBR MAY ‘17: Re-reads and Reader’s Overwhelm

I had a few pretty great reading months since the start of 2017, but since the middle of April, I’ve been in a little bit of a slump.  It’s always hard to pinpoint why it happens, but I guess sometimes it’s just “Reader’s Overwhelm” – where you feel there are so many books to read, to finish, or to just consider that you wind up not reading anything at all, or simply revert back to old favourites.  I do the latter a lot.  Jim Dale’s narrations of the Harry Potter series are my constant companions, day or night when I’m in a reading slump.  Usually, if I’m suffering from “Reader’s Overwhelm”, I’m also overwhelmed by other stuff in my life too, even if I can’t pinpoint what that is.  

It often means though, that almost all of my usual outlets, such as reading, writing or even thinking creatively, come to a complete standstill while my mind wastes all of its energy on one group of exhausted thoughts and runs miles with it, like a hamster incessantly chasing absolutely nothing on an exercise wheel.  And yes, the rattling of the wheel goes on all through the damned night!  Luckily, I have Jim Dale’s voice as the soothing white noise above the rattle and, eventually, sends me off to sleep.

*Side note: yes, I’ve listened to Stephen Fry’s narration and yes, I still prefer Jim Dale’s.  I do love Mr Fry – but Mr Dale just becomes the characters for me.

Anyway, it’s now mid-May, which feels pretty late to be sharing a To Be Read post with you all but if I’m getting my butt back into reading now then mid-May it’ll have to be! And a TBR will hold my accountable to my intention! So here goes.  I’ll be keeping the list pretty short so that I can hopefully dive into a fully fledged TBR June ’17 edition with my reading brain back in shape.  Picking my books was surprisingly easy, but still felt like a little bit of a setback.  I’ve picked three, although only one of them is completely unread to me but it felt necessary to go back a few steps and finish what I’d started with the first two.  Without further ado, here is my TBR May ‘17:

OTNP HCP The Historian A Game of Thrones Fingersmith May '17

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian
“Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history…”

I started this one in early 2016 and was progressing with it in dribs and drabs. I did find it enjoyable but I honestly kept forgetting that I was even reading it, though I don’t blame the book for that.  Yet.  The Historian lived in my backpack for a few months and I read little bits of it if I ever found myself in need of something to occupy myself with but I wouldn’t take it out of my bag and then read it at home on my bed with a cuppa like I usually do.  It just stayed in my bag, enjoyed but largely forgotten.  Around summertime, I dug the book out of my bag and realised that – shock, horror – the bookmark had slipped out!  That’s not normally so much of a problem as I can usually figure out pretty quickly where in a book I was – but not this time.  It had been so long since I’d picked it up that I’d well and truly forgotten the last bit I’d read.  So, I put the book back on my shelf and promised The Historian that I would come back to it and give it a proper chance again sometime soon.  Well, now’s that time!  Everything about this book that I have read so far ticks my boxes. Family secrets? Check. Ancient books? Double check! Medieval mysteries and vampires?? Holy motherf@!ker, check!!!  I really do hope that this book ends up being worth the re-read…

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones
“In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the centre of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to…”

Surely this series needs no introduction… This isn’t my first time reading A Game of Thrones.  A few years back I managed to get myself started on A Feast for Crows.  I read them with all of my undivided attention and yet I still got pretty bloody lost! The first few books had me hooked! The PoV chapters were so much fun to read and I found myself empathising with each character, no matter their house or cause.  But then a number of characters being given PoV chapters started messing with my mind-pot.  It all started swirling around but not taking any real shape in my head.  Like with The Historian, I then kept putting A Feast for Crows down by then picking it up to find I couldn’t remember what had happened to whom, and who knew about it or whatever!  I was in a tangle with them – so I dropped them.  But I still loved what I had read, I LOVE the TV series (even though they’ve deviated from the books) and I so badly want to get back into the books before The Winds of Winter is released.  I also want to watch season 7 with all the knowledge of the book readers. It means though that I will, for peace of mind, need to start back from the beginning to be able to make sense of it all.  But no matter, as any fangirl will state, the more time I get to spend with characters I love, the better!

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fingersmith
“Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised … in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard “Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confident man, arrives.  He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she’ll get a share of the “shine.””

I have been wanting to read this book since I first saw it appearing on bookshop shelves in 2012 but I kept putting off buying it, reminding myself of how many other books I had on my shelf that were unread.  So, I added it to my Amazon Book Wish List and walked away.  Booktube and the blogosphere were seemingly hooked on this book and yet I still, ridiculously upon reflection, held back from picking up a copy.  I’ve tried my best to not absorb too many other reader’s opinions on the book and so, thankfully, I remain largely in the dark on the nitty gritty details of the book.  I like discovering a book for myself, maybe recommended by others, but still “untainted” by others’ views.

So why have I decided that now is the time to read Fingersmith? Park Chan-Wook, the director of one of my favourite films, Stoker, has directed The Handmaiden, a film inspired by Fingersmith but was instead to be set in Korea under Japanese colonial rule.  The film is now released and showing in my local independent cinema, Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff) and I am desperate to go and see it!  As always though, I want to read the book first.  Unfortunately, The Handmaiden doesn’t seem to be having a very long run in UK cinemas so I’ll probably end up missing out on the experience of watching it in my favourite cinema before I’ve even finished the book.  By the end of the week, The Handmaiden will have stopped showing at Chapter Arts Centre.  Nevermind, when I do finally finish Fingersmith and get my hands on The Handmaiden I’ll make an amazing at-home movie night of it! Who needs the cinema when you’ve got your own bed, a bottle of merlot, a tub of Turkish Delight and a fluffy dressing gown?

So, there you have it! I hope that by the beginning of June I’ll be back in my reading flow, loving the books I’ll have finished and ready for more!  Have you guys read any of these?  What did you think? Got any recommendations for me?  Though, no spoilers, pleeeeeease! Chat soon xxx

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