Can you believe that it’s already July? I can’t. The passing of time is a terrifying concept, so let’s have a chat about books instead.
My beautiful friend Zoe gifted me Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor for my birthday a little while ago. If you spent any time on the internet a few years ago, I’m sure you’ll have heard of the podcast that this show is based upon. I didn’t truly understand how they could adapt the wacky, creepy world of Night Vale into a book. And I’m not sure they really succeeded. There were bits I adored, such as the relationship between Diane and her son, Josh; the relationship between Carlos and Cecil; the relationship between Diane and Jackie and how it blossomed. Basically I loved the characters and their relationships. But the plot wore a little thin and stretched out. It couldn’t stand up to the 400-page length of the novel. I think that a book adaptation of this podcast might work better as a collection of short stories, which would be more in keeping with the podcast format. But the read was certainly enjoyable enough.
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize last year and the blurb intrigued me from the first time I read it. I wanted to wait to read it until it’s paperback release though, because carrying around a hardback is just cumbersome. I was so happy that it lived up to my expectations. I adored the characterisations. All the characters felt fully fleshed out to me, with flaws and imperfections that were explained, but not necessarily excused. Every other review mentions the humour in this work, but it wasn’t something that really stood out to me. I didn’t find Veblen’s relationship with squirrels amusing, but I did find it interesting. It was a book that sucked me in almost immediately and kept me hooked throughout.
The cover of The Salmon Who Dared to Leap Higher has long since caught my eye in the library, so I finally picked it up in June. It’s a short fable by Ahn Do-hyun, translated by Deborah Smith, about a salmon who has always been marked out as different because of his silver scales. It’s about loss, life, growing up, and love. All that sounds wonderful, but it was just “okay”. It was a pleasant enough little read, but I was never engrossed or entranced. Nothing made me dislike it, but equally, nothing made me like it. It was just fine.
I finished reading/listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in June as part of my Harry Potter re-read. It’s the longest book and also one of my favourites (along with The Prisoner of Azkaban). If you want to read more of my thoughts then pop over to my incoherent goodreads review. Basically, I loved it and I had a lot of feelings.
Thanks to Vanessa’s video I remembered that I wanted to read Ms Marvel, so I borrowed the first volume from the library. I started reading it towards the end of June (and have just finished reading it, as I write this) and really enjoyed it. I’m not a big superhero person, but it’s cute and smart and Kamala is pretty great. It’s a little ridiculous, but I suppose that’s part of the genre. It was a lovely fun read.
What books have you been reading recently? Has anything in particular stood out as a good read? Let me know.
Love Lydia xx