Happy National Book Day everyone! What a perfect day to talk about reading! Almost as if this was planned (spoiler alert, it was not. Just dumb luck)
Geeklings, February was my worst reading month in recent memory. As a matter of fact, I can not recall a worse reading month within the last five or six years. There have been months where I’ve kind of tired out and didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted and there have been months where I spent the whole time reading some massive novel, but I’ve never had a month where I felt like I was going backwards as a reader. As I struggled through February I could feel my goal for the year stretching out further and further. Think of any horror movie where the hero is trying to escape and runs into the clearly haunted hallway and it just stretches on forever. That’s how I felt about reading in February.
What happened? I’m not entirely sure. I think the main problem was my lunch schedule. I do a lot of my daily reading during lunch, mostly because that’s what lunches are for and it’s the ultimate escape. If I’m having a particular crappy/busy day I find that reading helps reset my mind and give me a new energy/outlook of the rest of my work day. I think the word I’m looking for here is rejuvenates. Some people need coffee or soda during their lunch break, I just need Gandalf the Kindle and my current book. God for bid if I have to run errands during my lunch break. If that’s the case the whole day is lost. Gone. I could care less. Just scrap it and let’s start over tomorrow. Don’t take away my lunch reading, universe!
Most days I get an hour which is great. Gives me ten minutes to eat my lunch, I find that eating disrupts my reading flow. Yes I said flow as if I was acquainting reading to spitting hot verses (Side Note: In my car I’m the greatest rapper alive) (Side Side Note: Is acquainting the word I want there?). Don’t get me wrong, I’m reading while I’m eating but I get more done once the food is gone. Chips do not count as a reading distraction, if anything they just enhance the experience because, you know, snacks. This is all besides the point though, I was talking about how my lunch was one of the main contributors to my awful reading month.
You see Geeklings the first week of February saw me with only a half hour lunch. “Awww poor guy only gets a half hour lunch” I can hear you and fully understand that that complaint is #firstworldgeekproblems but it really did trip me up. It’s hard to get into a reading rhythm with a half hour especially when you consider the first ten minutes are for eating. Then factor into the equation that the book you chose isn’t so good… it’s going to make your reading month a total bummer. I felt like I was behind the eight ball the entire time.
With that being said, I think it’s finally time to break down the reading for February. It shouldn’t take long considering it was only one book. Yes, one. Stinkin’. Book.
6. Fellside by M R Carey- When January ended I had a tough time figuring out what book I was going to read next. Usually I’m like a chess player and plan three books ahead (kind of like planning three moves ahead? I don’t play chess but this made me feel pretty smart. I’m like a reading Bobby Fisher. Nailing it right now!). Ultimately I decided on Fellside because I read Carey’s Girl With All the Gifts last year, and really enjoyed it as it ended up being a different take on the zombie narrative. With Fellside I was hoping for a really solid haunted/ghost story (that takes place in a prison. A lady prison!) and my initial thoughts were, “I picked the right book”. Within the first twenty pages or so I felt like I had made the right decision, and then… well, the wheels fell off that cart pretty quickly.
I really wanted to like Fellside and there were a number of different times I tried to convince myself that I was enjoying it, but those were lies. I actually can’t remember a book that I liked less. The story felt disjointed and had no flow as the narrative jumped from character to character almost on a whim leaving the reading experience a bit jerky. Speaking of the characters, I really didn’t like any of them. The main character, Jess (I had to look up her just now as I’ve already purged this book from my memory), seems sort of likeable but neither the author or the character have any idea of who she is. Why am I rooting for a character that just seems to be a conduit for some super natural stuff? Most of these characters were kind of one dimensional lacking any real depth. I can’t remember one of them making any progress from their issues, and all their resolutions resulted in them making little to no change. Outside of one character… maybe two.
The other problem here was Fellside didn’t know what kind of book it wanted to be. Did it want to be a commentary on the corruption of prison life and the judicial system? Did it want to be a super natural horror story? Did it want to be a drug ring/cop corruption story? Did it want to be a story of self redemption? There’s no doubt that the book wanted to be all those things but that’s the problem. It was all of those things and never did it feel like they flowed organically into Jess’s story. Like I said, everything was jerky. Picture putting together a puzzle and just forcing pieces into spots for the sake of completing it. That’s how I felt about Fellside. Especially when it came to the ending because this book went on fifty pages too long. I groaned when I was given resolution but still had more book to read. It was almost cruel.
When I started to question whether or not I should finish I was already 50% through and figured I’d just stick it out. Giving up on books isn’t one of my favorite things to do and makes me feel kind of dirty inside. I read the last half of this book out of spite, and it ruined my February reading experience as well as took up all of my reading time. Damn you Fellside! Damn youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
Books Started In February But Haven’t Finished Yet:
7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab– I’m at the half way point and I’m in love. A waaaaaaay better reading experience and I’m looking forward to talking with you guys about this next month. I’m going to have plenty to say.
8. Old Man Logan by Mark Millar- After two graphic novels in January, I didn’t read any in February. I started Old Man Logan to get ready for the film and it’s made me feel nostalgic to the time where I was just getting back into comics. Plus it’s really good too.
There you have it Geeklings. February was not a good reading month but I’m hoping to get back on track in March. The goal is three books. I’m hoping for three novels but will take two and a graphic novel. Just as long as I don’t have to read Fellside again. Please don’t make me.
But let’s turn the mic over to you guys. What’s everyone reading? Feel free to share in the comments as we’re all looking to expand our what to read lists. Happy reading and many huzzahs!