Tuesday, 27 November 2018

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles
Sphere Paperback Feb 2006
Daddy's Bookclub

I rarely think about the "book of the year" award I give in May before I get there. But this book is definitely in the running. So much did my dad believe that I would love this book, he actually posted it to me to prevent any more delays or arguments.
I absolutely loved the story, a gentleman under house arrest in a large hotel in Moscow and how he copes. As a gentleman we see that he has no real world skills in terms of a career, but his ability to work with people is his triumph. Soon he has his hand in all sorts of areas in the hotel, and feels ownership of his life and situation. His resourcefulness is amazing! What would you do if you were trapped in a hotel for life?
The relationships between the characters is lovely to see develop. Despite the book spanning 3 decades the passage of time is clear and well handled, it doesn't drag or skip too many chunks. The writing is divine and fun to read. 
I've seen it in the window of Waterstones, so it is definitely a recommended read for Christmas, I may even re-read it my self. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Staying up to date

I review every book that I read. 

This is something that I have stuck to since I started a blog. However, there have been times where I have fallen behind in my reviews. Like now. Four months behind, 8 or 9 books to write up and the end of the year is fast approaching. 

I tend to do reviews in monthly round ups. But occasionally I get a month with a dud book. Not achingly bad, but not a favourite either. Or it takes me ages to read because suddenly keeping up with my podcast schedule on the tube seems more important. In these months, I carry these undigested books around. They are literal weight in my bag and serve as a constant reminder of my failure to read them and, often, the fact that I haven't made a post here in a while. 

The domino of this is that in my lack of enthusiasm to read that month, my desire to share the news of this dumb weight of a tomb is dampened. In the case of a particularly bad book, for example one I cannot bring my self to finish (a rare thing!), I may be excited by the prospect of writing a scathing review, which is "fun to write and to read". But mostly it only makes me sad. 

Then the good pick me up book that I read next gets stuck behind the queue of boring OK books and the pile of reviews "to do" piles up to a scary number. By the time I go back to (JUNE!) I have half forgotten the book. Half forgotten the discussion I had about it at the time. Half forgotten what was going on in my life. All of this makes for some strained little paragraphs in my reviews. 

I have decided to change things. I will continue to read every book that I read. BUT. I am going to stop chronological order. I'm going to review when I feel like it for the good ones and try and catch up with writing the ones I'm less excited about. My joy vs my duty reviews. I hope that this will light a fire under me to keep my blog alive. I am so proud of it, I wouldn't want it to fail because I'd set myself rules for how I run it. It's not working so we have to change the process. 

I won't make any promises that this will work. I hope it does though and I hope it leads to more reading and more writing.