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February 2021 - This month's reading

Hello again!

I'm doing pretty good for the blog this year - four posts already! I can barely believe it myself.

I've been making lists of new posts to write and trying my best to find as much time as possible to pump into writing and building this blog to be something I can be proud of again, instead of just a hobby chilling on the back burner.

Today's post is all about reading (again... I know I'm addicted). Another month has flown by and I've spent my mornings and evenings to and from work reading. I've flashed through another three books this month and they've all been fantastic! Here's a quick snapshot:

'nine perfect strangers' - Liane Moriarty

'The diary of a young girl' - Anne Frank

'Manhattan beach' - Jennifer Egan

Yet again I mixed up my month with a range of genre's to keep my interest spiked and branch out as much as possible to hit all my tastes.

To begin - my rankings:

3 - 'Manhattan beach' - Jennifer Egan (period piece with catchy themes)

2 - 'nine perfect strangers' - Liane Moriarty (a really intriguing book - but a little bit lengthy/dry)

1 - 'The diary of a young girl' - Anne Frank (how I've never read this before I will never know!!)

My reviews:

1 - 'Manhattan beach' - Jennifer Egan

This book was a neat mix of 1940s gangster's, early feminism and the colourful world of New York City in the height of the second world war.

The plot centred around a father presumed dead, his relationship with New York's shadow world and his tough scrappy daughter who wants to be a diver in the naval yard. There was such a strong plot with engaging clever characters, emotive scenes and brilliant dialogue.

The end failed to live up to the fast paced thriller that the majority of the book seemed to be building towards. I found the ending to be an easy sum up. Egan tied off the loose ends in neat bows and ended on a positive uplifting note that just felt lacklustre after the events leading up to the conclusion.

Overall, an interesting read with a brilliant central protagonist: 6/10

2 - 'nine perfect strangers' - Liane Moriarty

An interesting and unique blend of chatty, personable characters at a health retreat that goes wrong! I love how Moriarty combines very real relatable characters with easy to follow plots that have simple but seriously effective twists.

The real talent of Moriarty is her character building. From beginning to end the thing that sticks with readers most is the way the characters made them feel. Their humanity and at times their flaws really drive the plot more so than the situation the characters find themselves in.

This book in particular put Moriarty's talent for character work on display. It was needed though as the plot overall was a very slow burn with a mediocre conclusion in comparison to the complicated combination of characters (check out that alliteration!) However, if it wasn't for the raw emotions of her protagonists I think I would have found this quite dull to read.

Overall, an enjoyable read over a cup of tea in the afternoon: 7/10

3 - 'The diary of a young girl' - Anne Frank

If there was one word to sum up this novel it would be powerful.

Having always been a bit obsessed with learning about World War II in any format I could lay my hands on I was surprised to realise I'd had this novel sitting on my shelf for a few years unread. Alongside my period piece fictions, political commentary's on the war, a collection of Churchill's most famous speeches and a number of historical works I couldn't believe I hadn't read this yet. Especially considering how much I obsess over the film Freedom Writers which sees a group of students read this exact work!

Her writing is incredible, her vocabulary is far superior to what mine was at fourteen and her outlook on life is so normal considering her situation. Despite knowing the tragedy that befalls the Frank's toward the end of 1944 you can't help but fall in love with her optimism and find yourself rooting for her and her family to make it out alive.

When you realise that her dream at the conclusion of the war was to write it hits you. The fact that her journal is out being studied in schools and read widely 80 years after the fact is incredible and the insight it provides to the situation at the time is incredibly valuable.

Overall, a moving journal that encapsulates the emotions of a teenager in the most troubling of times: 9/10

That's it for my February reading!

As you can see I was a bit slower this month but I'm now seven books down with ten months to go. I'm thinking I'll try and hit a target of a hundred books this year. We'll see how close I can get.

My next read will be a gift I received for Valentine's Day from Mitchell, a beautifully bound collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald works. Then I think I'll start a murder mystery. A classic thriller would do me well in this new month.

Earlier this evening I rearranged my shelves to be a little prettier and in alphabetical order (naturally), what do you think?

Till next time,

Rhi xx

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