February Update

Books

February’s always a bit of a sod of a month. It’s too short and I have too many family birthdays which means too many social occasions, so it flies by without me ever feeling like I’ve actually achieved anything, or even noticed the time pass.

This February was no different. It flew by without even giving me enough time to blink, and yet somehow I managed to acquire another ten books in those very short 28 days. The book ban is clearly not going so well. These are the purchases I made:

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All except the Margaret Atwoods and John Irving were bought new from Sainsbury’s for between £3.99 and £4.49 each. I bought them over three occasions, either to cheer myself up on a day when I was VERY ANGRY or for no particular reason than the fact that they were pretty and were books that I’ve been wanting and considering for a while. Strings of Murder was the only book that I hadn’t come across before, and that was definitely a pretty impulse buy. It sounds fun though, and I think it will be a quick and easy read. To be honest they were all impulse buys and I had to go through my wish list to remove them all afterwards, but I needed to get Gone Girl from Sainsbury’s now while they’re doing the nice gold cover, rather than wait for my birthday much later in the year. That’s my excuse anyway. I bought The Cider House Rules for £1.99 in Oxfam on the day I was feeling VERY ANGRY, and I was really pleased to find it because I’ve been wanting to read it for a while. I’ve only read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving so far, but I liked it so much that I’m making it a mission to collect all of his books. The Margaret Atwoods were bought at a charity cake and book sale at work, and I got the two of them for £1.50. The Year of the Flood is the second in the MaddAdam trilogy, but I’ve already got (and have read) the first book, Oryx and Crake. It does look like I’m going to have to pick up the final book, MaddAdam, at some point in the future though.

February might have been a good month for buying books (or a bad month, depending which way you look at it), but it was definitely not a successful month in terms of actually reading books. These were the only books I managed to finish in February.

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Considering I was already at least half way through Birdsong and had already started Wolf Hall, it’s not really much of an achievement. I did really enjoy reading them both though, so that’s something at least. I was reading other books alongside them though; these are the books that I’m currently reading and will continue to read throughout March (in theory):

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I’ve actually nearly finished Bring Up the Bodies, in fact I’m hoping to wrap it up by the end of the day. I’ve nearly finished the first Mary Poppins story, which is a bit pants considering I wanted to try and read all 6 last month, but I’m really not enjoying them as much as I thought I would so I’ve been kind of putting them off. To be honest, I’m quite disappointed with it. I’m also not really enjoying Shadow Magic too much, at least not compared with Havemercy, but I’m hoping to finish it and the two sequels by the end of this week if possible. I haven’t really touched any of the other books in February, but I would like to finish The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and its sequel by the end of March if I can. I don’t think I’ve even opened A Game of Thrones since I was on holiday in August. It’s not because I don’t like it, because I do, but I think the fact that I watched the TV show and know what happens has put me off a little bit, or at least removed the feeling that I don’t know what it’s building up to. I’ve only seen the first season though, so I think I’ll find the later books much more gripping.

So, once I’ve finished what I’m currently reading, these are the book sequels/sets that I need to finish at some point in the near future, preferably as soon as possible.

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I’ve got this week off work, so I’d really like to finish Shadow Magic, Dragon Soul and Steel Hands by the end of the week if I can, although that’s probably quite a stretch as I have other things planned too. I’d like to have finished the Fairyland books by the end of the month, and also Charlotte Gray. I also need to read Sense and Sensibility for book club, although that might be quite a task. I really struggle with Sense and Sensibility; I’m not really sure why because I flew through Pride and Prejudice, but I’ve tried reading it a couple of times and not made it to the end. In fact, there’s still a bookmark on page 140 which is as far as I got last time before giving up. This time I’m determined to see it through.

I’m looking forward to wrapping up some of the series and sequels so I’ll have a bit more space to read some more stand-alones with a bit more variety. I’d really like to read Jane Eyre soon, and some more Dickens. I’d also really like to read more John Irving and Sebastian Faulks as I have quite a collection of their works now, but I always have my handy TBR jars to fall back on. I’ve made a wee non-fiction jar too, just to try and reduce my endless dithering about what to read next.

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Films

Moving on from books, I’ve been making the most of my cinema card and have been to see Ex Machina, Big Hero 6, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Kingsman this month. I enjoyed them all, although Kingsman was by far my favourite and Big Hero 6 was probably the most disappointing, although that’s not to say it wasn’t fun. I’m going to try and catch up with some of the films I’ve been meaning to review lately, especially the ones I enjoyed the most. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do a bulk review, or look at them individually though.

Music

I also picked up three Bruce Springsteen CDs this month, Devils and Dust, Working on a Dream, and We Shall Overcome: The Seeger sessions (which co-ordinates very nicely with my orange throw). They were the only studio albums I didn’t have so now I have his complete album collection.

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I have the complete back catalogue of quite a few bands and artists now, and I’m sort of toying with the idea of reviewing their whole discographies, although it’ll be quite a mammoth task. I’m not sure that Bruce is the place to start because his back catalogue’s so big, and I haven’t quite worked out how to do it in terms of format, but it’s just an idea that I’m playing with at the moment. It’s been quite a while since I’ve reviewed any music, although I am going to a Thunder gig in just over a week which I’ll definitely review.

Writing

I’ve been really enjoying my creative writing evening class, although there’s only a couple of weeks left now which is sad. This week is Bath Literature Festival though, and I’ve taken the week off work to attend a few talks/workshops on various aspects of creative writing. I’ve already been to two and I have another two booked for later in the week, so I might put a couple of posts up here relating to the workshops – whether they were helpful, what I learned, that kind of thing.

Things to Look Out for in March

You might have noticed that I made a very small attempt in February to catch up with some book reviews that I’ve been talking about for a while, and I’m going to try and better that this month. Now I realise I’m very unreliable so there’s no guarantee that this will happen, but these are the things I have planned for this month:

  • A few Writers’ Workshop type posts relating to Bath Literature Festival
  • A review of Thunder’s London gig on 14th March
  • An attempt to catch up on various book/film reviews that I’ve been promising for a verrrry long time
  • Maybe (and only maybe) some more music stuff

Fingers crossed March will be a more successful month than February!

See also my January Update (then you can see just how much I’ve failed this month!)