Sunday, 11 February 2018

Goodreads: What I Read in January 2018

It’s been an entire month since my last blog post and I’m very disappointed myself of slipping out of the habit of consistent blogging. I’ve been incredibly busy with work and haven’t had a minute to myself to sit down and divulge my thoughts and feelings, let alone sit down and write hundreds of words worth of book reviews and travel guides! This next week is half-term and I’m planning on giving myself lots of time to catch up on my blogging, alongside planning my lessons for next term, of course!

Despite this lack of time to write, I did make an effort to try and read (although granted a few of the books I mention here are books I’ve read with the children in my class at work) as much as I possibly could. Here are some of the books I read in the month of January, along with a few of my thoughts on them!

The Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishiguro has been on my To Be Read pile for a few years now. I went home to stay with my parents for a few days over the Christmas holidays, as I do every year, and whilst I was up there I finished the book I was reading. I hadn’t accounted for this happening, so I grabbed any old book off the shelves in my childhood bedroom and got stuck in. The Remains of the Day was the book I happened upon and I am incredibly happy that I did so. I’ve previously read Never Let Me Go by Kazou, and I absolutely loved that, so I had high hopes for another of his books. I enjoyed this one, granted not as much as I enjoyed Never Let Me Go. I found that the story was a little bit difficult to get stuck into, because of the language, but I will admit it is just as much the masterpiece as every claims it to be. The story was heart-breaking in the sense that our protagonist, a loyal and faithful butler, put every aspect of his being into being the best that he could possibly be in his role. In doing so, he allows himself to lose the sense of his own being and in his final days realises that his entire livelihood has left him feeling obsolete. A heavy read, but one that I will likely go back to in the coming years.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is a book that a few of my friends have read and loved, so I was keen to read it myself. My little brother bought me a copy of this for Christmas and with my expectations incredibly high, I got stuck straight into it as soon as I could. After a very slow start, and a frantic message to the girls in my group chat who had recommended it to me to see just WHEN I was going to get as hooked as they promised. I needn’t have worried, of course, because the book was absolutely fantastic and I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t put it down. The story follows Lane through two different periods of her life and the circumstances that surrounded the mysterious Roanoke. After the death of her mother, 15 year old Lane goes to live with her grandparents and her cousin Allegra. A summer later, she leaves Roanoke and never looks back, unable to deal with the events that go on there. Flash forward in time and Lane is forced to return upon learning of her cousin Allegra’s disappearance. Nothing has changed in Roanoke and Lane has to relive everything about the place that made her leave in the first place. An absolutely spectacular read that left me gasping by the end!

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen was a fun read of a book that I bought for shared reading in my class. I’m yet to read it to them but I’m going to use the book to support a PSHE lesson on sharing. It’s a very cutesy book about two turtles who find a hat and have to make a decision on which of the two of them will get to wear it.  

My class reader for January was Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary. I wasn’t aware that Dermot had even written a book before I came across a copy of it (signed, no less) in Waterstones in the New Year. After a quick look at reviews, a read of the blurb and a glance at the language level, I decided that it was definitely a book that the class would love. It took about ten pages for the entire class to be completely enthralled by it, each of them sat on the edge of their seats and asking if we could ‘not do spellings today’ and read the book instead! (No to not doing spellings, but they were much quicker at getting their coats on at the end of the day so they could listen to the story in Drop time!)

Another book we read as a class in January was Unfortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman. As a huge fan of Gaiman myself, exploring his books for younger readers was high on my agenda and I was keen to get stuck in. Luckily, the kids were just as keen and loved this book almost as much as they loved Toto. They loved the ‘craziness’ of the story and were really eager to discuss whether or not they thought that Dad was telling the truth about his adventures to get their breakfast milk. A definite hit with both me and the kids.

I have plenty of books to get stuck into over the coming weeks, including a few book tours that I’m a part of.

What have you read recently that I need to get my hands on? Let me know in the comments!

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