I have managed to keep reading this month, so my book count is climbing ever higher.
I have been listening to a podcast series rather than an audiobook this month though. Bad People is an excellent little true crime podcast on BBC Sounds if you are interested – and the early episodes were recorded in lockdown so one of the presenter’s cat makes the odd appearance purring into the mic, which is adorable/hilarious.
Anyway, back to the books…
What I Read
- The Tiger Came To The Mountains (Trespass Collection #1) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: 5* – This novella was set in 1917 Mexico, during the revolution. It was dark and gritty, but with a strong current of family bonds and love amongst the fear and brutality. The tiger was from a circus, and scared the actual life out of me when it finally loomed out of the dark.
- Dick Fight Island: Volume 1 by Reibun Ike: 4*– Okay. Where to start with this one? Uhhh. It’s manga, and it is about a group of islands choosing their next king through their, um, unusual traditional battle system. Each clan chooses a representative, and they battle in knockout rounds until a final champion is decided. So far so normal, right? Except the battles are basically ‘who can make the other guy ejaculate first’ wars. Whoever resists longest wins and goes on to the next round. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds, and also hilarious at times, but also it was surprisingly sweet in places, and kind of had an actual storyline somewhere beneath the giant penis armour and sparkly bottoms. Not sure how it managed to be so heartwarming amongst the manga penis battles, but it was. (This was loaned to me by a friend, in retaliation for me telling them to read our old bookclub ‘favourite’ Bedroom Stories)
- Wildlife (Trespass Collection #2) by Jeff VanderMeer: 3* – I sort of have absolutely no idea what happened in this novella. It was weirdly compulsive reading and had a lot of atmosphere and suspense but I did not understand the final twist and it left me feeling bewildered. Maybe that was the point? I don’t know.
- The Gifts by Liz Hyder: 5*– Liberty and I went to the book tour for this forever ago, it was our first post-covid book event and we decided it was high time we actually read it, so read our copies at the same time & had a mini book club about it after. (We went out for lunch. And cake. And a walk. But we did talk about the book! And other books! Honest!) It is a beautiful story set in 1840s London (and also Shropshire) about four women finding the confidence to be themselves in the very male-centric world of the times, and one man losing himself to an obsession that causes all their paths to cross. Historical fiction with a light touch of magical realism, this wasn’t my usual read but was one I loved. The writing is beautiful and striking, the characters all strong and interesting, and the story is compulsively paced and mysterious. Highly recommend picking this one up if you get the chance.
- Dick Fight Island: Volume 2 by Reibun Ike: 4* – Did I not mention there was a second book? Right, so this was both a prequel and a continuation of the first one. You got to see the budding relationship of two characters that was briefly mentioned in the first volume, and learned what happened with the other contestants after their battles. This was, again, surprisingly sweet for the most part. I was oddly invested in a couple of the characters stories, and enjoyed finding out who got together with who etc after the big penis battles (sorry, The Great Wyrm Tournament *sniggers*). This was utter fluff and popcorn (with sparkly butts and penis waving) with the aside of one character’s arc which was very much not fluff or popcorn, but it’s okay coz the guy’s mum swooped in and saved the day. Bizarre. Bewildering. Oddly heartwarming.
- Not My Wolf (Fenrir Wolves #1) by Eden Cole: 3* – It took to about 25% through before I remembered I’d read this shifter romance before. Ooops. Not good enough to remember, but good enough to finish twice.
- Be Prepared: 100 Useful Things To Know by The Scout Association: 3.5* – This was a cute novelty book of scouting hints and tip from throughout the history of scouting. Some things were useful, somethings might have been useful at the time but would now be quite hard to do, and some were just funny/silly/no longer recommended due to safety issues. It wasn’t the easiest to read continuously, as proven by the fact that it took me five months of reading chunks between other books to finish it. Interesting for Scouts past and present as a novelty gift though.
- Tick Tock by Simon Mayo: 4.5* – Another one Liberty and I went to the launch of, though this time that even was only the end of August so I got round to reading it quite quickly compared to usual! This was a super-quick thrilling read, set in the right now post-Covid UK, about a shiny new plague that starts with a weird ticking in your ear like tinnitus… except other people can hear it and it’s not just in your head. It was unsettling to read, deliberately so, and yet I did not want to put it down once I had started. The story focuses on one family amid the emerging pandemic – Kit, a secondary school teacher, Rose, his teenage daughter, and Lilly, his vaccinologist girlfriend – and somehow this focus makes it all feel more real. It is a global event, and you are aware of that, but it is much harder to care about ‘everywhere’ than it is to care about some specific ‘someone’s. Another one I would recommend, but only if you’re okay with twitching every time your ears click when you yawn for a week after finishing the book…
Something has begun…
I have started Wolf Bane by Michelle Paver at last. It has been on my shelf since release day back in April, but the knowledge that it is the final book in the series that I love so much has made me put off picking it up. I just don’t want it to end. But end it must, and so I read.