the ordinary blog
Books Finished :
In Progress :
The start of a new year and one of my resolutions was to get back to reading books and ease off the news a bit too. I went through a very bleak patch in 2020. The website was neglected and lost my enthusiasm. But i've also been incredibly lucky. All my lovely family and friends stayed healthy and we found some great ways to get through this together.
CIRCE - MADELINE MILLER
To get back to reading I wanted a book that would reignite my enthusiasm and take me away from Covid and lockdows and so I settled on the sequal to the previous Ordinary Book of the Year winner "The Song of Achilles" which promised another exciting adventure in Greek mythology.
"Circe" is the daughter the sun god Helios and ocean nymph Perse who is deemed unimportant by her parents whose destiny changes when she falls in love and discovers she has the power of pharmakia (magic) which she uses on the man after he rejects her leading her to be sent to live alone on a remote Island. Needless to say this does not last long and Madeline entwines Greek Gods, Heroes and stories with her own exciting narrative.
The writing is just as beautiful as her first book, a month on and I still have a picture of Circe on her Island under a setting son which takes me away from the gloom for a few moments. As soon as I finished I went onto her website to see if there was any news of another book. Sadly there isn't but it looks like Circe will be turned into a TV Series which sounds great.
ROSEWATER - TADE THOMPSON
Keeping on the theme oF keeping well away from reality but in a very different way to "Circe" "Rosewater" won the Arthur C Clarke Sci Fi award in 2019 and is based in Nigeria in 2066. The lead character Kaaro is a Finder, able to tap into the recently found Xenoform which enables some people read minds. The story cuts to various episodes in the past as we learn how the town of Rosewater and its alien tower was created and its true purpose.
It is a page turning orginal Sci-Fi thriller which never lets the clever concepts overtake and consume the narrative. The first of a trilogy I easily enjoyed it enough to want to see what happens next as long as the reviews are not awful as is the case with Ready Player 2. Such a dissapointment but that second book syndrome.
THE DYNASTY - JEFF BENEDICT (AUDIO)
25 hours on the history of the New England Patriots seemed way too much but the reviews were very good and Jeff's book on Tiger Woods was brilliant so as it was play off time and I had plenty of Audible credits I took a punt if you excuse the pun.
Once the first few chapters sped by the result was never in doubt. The way Jeff uses his exrtensive research to zoom in and out of conversations, situations and back story shows off his writing prowess. Just as footballers open up to Michael Calvin because they know and trust his writing I am guessing this is the same as Jeff has access to the key sources to tell his tale. All the major stories of the Patriots last 20 years are there. As a casual fan from England I didn't know or remember all of them which only added to the enjoyment
The true stars of the book Kraft, Belechek and Brady and it has made following Brady through this years Playoffs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers far more enjoyable too. He just might be THE greatist sportsperson this century but it took this book for me to realise it :)
NOTES ON A NERVOUS PLANET - MATT HAIG
I found December hard and going. A routine health check at my doctors brought on the worst PTSD flash back I have suffered in a few years and I found out my blood pressure was through the roof. The purchase of a monitor confirmed this was the norm throughout the month as Covid and Christmas collided.
I am sure this is what finally persuaded me to pick up Matt's follow up to "Reasons to Stay Alive". It is also small and promised a quick read. It's a collection of experiences, thoughts and ideas of how deal with all aspects of anxiety. Self help books are one of my things so a lot of themes were similar as I expected but there was plenty of original content too. Matt is brilliant at finding the right way to pitch
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