Anxiety and stress seem to have ruined any thought of reading I may have had this week. I will be so grateful when things at work finally settle enough to let everyone relax. Right now, we are all feeding off of each other, so while we may be having fun, we are also sharing our stress levels and increasing them to insane levels.
FINISHED SINCE THE LAST UPDATE:
This may be a first for me, and I mean not just since the beginning of this blog. I do think this is the first week in which I finished nothing in print. I have no words.
The continuation of Gail Carriger’s The Custard Protocol series remains just as cute as ever. We spend more time with Lord and Lady Maccon, which is awesome. We spend less time in London, which is even better. We meet some old friends and make new acquaintances. I still have objections to some of Ms. Quirk’s narrative choices, but I found that I was able to ignore them more thoroughly than I was in that first novel. I also enjoyed Rue as a character a bit more this time around. She is still spoiled and woefully ignorant, but she is not afraid to admit to her mistakes. Plus, she really does have her heart in the right spot. I do like that Ms. Carriger does not shy away from the problems with British foreign rule and the issues it caused the native inhabitants of an area claimed by the British. She does not hide how much harm the British did by imposing their own assumptions and ideas on others. I also like that she continues to develop such diverse characters. She has long ingrained a nonchalant attitude toward homosexuality through Lord Akeldama and his drones, and I like that we get to see it from other character’s aspects as well. Make no mistake, this series may take place during the height of Victorian England, but Ms. Carriger makes sure that her stories are as opposite of Victorian stodginess as possible. This may be what I love most of all.
DID NOT FINISH:
I tried with J. Reuben Appelman’s true crime slash memoir. I even started to skim at the 30 percent mark to see if his story improved. Sadly, I could not finish it, and there are several reasons for this. The first is that I never saw the point of what he was trying to say. He flips from a child pornography ring to his past to his present to the unsolved murders with random abandon. There is no logic to his switches, and I was left frustrated with the lack of cohesion. He may tie all of the narratives together in the end, but I did not have the patience to wait until then. Another issue I had with it is the speculation Mr. Appelman frequently applies to the unsolved murders. In the portion of the book I read, he presents little real evidence but has no problem taking his novice sleuthing skills to make assumptions about what actually happened to the children and by whom. Moreover, he lets his biases and feelings cloud those assumptions. While the crimes remain unsolved, any good true crime novelist still needs to apply deductive reasoning skills and remove all bias from the narrative. Mr. Appelman does not, and may not be able to, do so. Lastly, Mr. Appelman is in the throes of some major life issues while writing this novel, and his depression at such is apparent on every page. So, not only must a reader wade through a painful telling of this state-wide pornography ring as well as the unsolved murders of four children, but s/he must also deal with Mr. Appelman’s despair. Anyone who likens his mood to Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” is having serious mental issues. There is also an issue of Mr. Appelman’s rough edges. Readers are in doubt that he had a terrible upbringing, and I get that an editor might want to show how that childhood hardened him while traumatizing him. The thing is that Mr. Appelman’s edges are a bit too rough, and the frequent application of his opinion combined with street language does not fit the subject. For all of these reasons and a few others, I was not willing to subject myself to further frustration and discomfort in the way Mr. Appelman was telling his story. I have too many novels waiting for my attention.
Reader of many, finisher of none – this was not the week to attempt to read Christina Dalcher’s dystopian novel about the silencing of women. It hit just a little too close to home right now. As for the biography, that requires concentration of which I have none lately. I have found success reading Kiersten White’s latest novel but am still reading at a much slower pace than I have since I finished grad school. I know this will pass, but it is so frustrating to want to read but not have the attention span to do so.
August Review Copies:
September Review Copies:
So, what are you reading?
Michelle, I hear you on stress affecting reading. I’ve been there and am currently slowly coming out of a bad anxiety patch. It wasn’t even about ‘bad’ things. Anyway, good luck. It’s OK to take a breath and not finish a book in a week. It really is. Ha! Good luck this week with everything.
Well, considering reading is the number one way I relax, the fact that I did not finish a book this particular week is upsetting to me for several reasons. I know I read more and read faster than most people, but I know what I am capable of finishing in one week and I know those methods of self-care that work best for me. For someone who reads more slowly than I do, not finishing a book in a week is no big deal. For me, it is an indication that I was not taking care of myself this past week, and given the high blood pressure and my already-high stress levels from work, let alone the news, it is a cause for concern.
I know it doesn’t seem possible to go a week without finishing a book. I hope this week is less stressful for you!