The Big Reading Update 2021: Week 3

January 22, 2021 in Wrap-Ups
AD • Some of the books mentioned in this post are review copies or advance reader copies (ARCs). This means that I was provided with a copy in exchange for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links which are marked with a (*). If you click on these links and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, please read my Disclosure.


January is flying by! How have we had three full weeks of the year already?? The week started with a continuation of my reading slump. There were six days between finishing All Systems Red and Intimations which I think just proves how slumpy I was. And so I kind of resigned myself to another slow reading week but somehow I have five books to wrap-up this week! So let’s jump straight in!

What I Read This Week

 

Intimations by Zadie Smith

Intimations: Six Essays
by Zadie Smith

★★★★

When I bought this, it was just days before the UK was plunged into its third lockdown. So I guess you could say a collection of essays about the lockdown experience is pretty timely. 

Zadie Smith is one of those writers that I know is highly praised but I’d never read anything by her before. In fact, I’ve never read anything quite like this before! Still, I found this short read deeply compelling. The essays are all thought provoking and tackle themes like identity, community and racism. The latter, in fact, is compared to the virus which I thought was especially effective.

I know that a lot of people don’t want to consume media that reminds them just how awful 2020 was and that’s okay. If you don’t feel that way, I highly recommend this book. Even if only to find comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this. To find solace in the thoughts and behaviours of strangers from a year ago.

 

Faith: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage and Andrew Dalhouse

Faith: Hollywood and Vine
By Jody Houser et Al

★★★★★

Okay so I don’t have much to say about this graphic novel. Faith is an awesome fat female superhero/journalist/fangirl. Oh, and she kicks ass. Superhero stories aren’t my usual go-to as I often find them full of all the things I dislike: violence, misogyny, I could go on… However, this one was a really fun geeky read and I can’t wait to continue the series!

 

Gut Feelings by C.G. Moore

Gut Feelings
by C.G. Moore

★★★★

AD – Review Copy

Chris was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening condition at a young age and this novel-in-verse explores the many ways that chronic illness impacts your life. Although my own chronic illnesses are very different to Chris’, I found this to be super relatable.

And while some elements may be uncomfortable for some, I think those are an important part of the story because chronic illness IS uncomfortable. The things that we go through are not comfortable or pleasant and are often not spoken about for fear of being TMI or considered ‘attention seeking’. So I really valued the candid nature of this book. I won’t say too much more as I will be sharing a full review over the weekend!

READ MY REVIEW

 

The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-Eun

The Disaster Tourist
by Yun Ko-Eun
(translated by Lizzie Buehler)

★★★★★

Wow. I’m still processing my thoughts on this one but I loved this translated eco-thriller. The story revolves around a Korean woman in her thirties who works for a travel company specialising in areas affected by natural disasters. Which is kind of gross, when you think about it. Throw in sexual harassment at the hands of her boss and boom, she decides to resign. But her boss refuses to accept, demanding that instead she takes a break and goes on an all expenses paid trip to one of the company’s destinations. And naturally, that’s where everything takes a turn for the worse. Because this destination might just be trying to create a disaster of its own.

I shouldn’t have enjoyed this as much as I did. For one, there are so many references to decapitated heads. (Which are #1 on my oh-no-no list!) Throw in some super immoral characters, an attempt to gentrify an area via genocide and honestly, I was so enraged that I’m surprised I finished the book. But the ending. Wow. It’s pretty disorientating so I was reading faster and faster trying to make sense of what was happening. And then – satisfaction. Pure golden satisfaction. It was very well done and I loved it!

 

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris

★★★★★

And finally… I was craving a thriller read so I decided to read this one quickly before my Kindle Unlimited subscription ends on Monday. It was not my intention to read this in one sitting. And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

So this follows a newly married couple, Jack and Grace, and you can tell from the start that things aren’t quite right. The story is told from Grace’s POV so the signs are there early on that Jack is not the man she thought she was marrying. And from there we go back and forth between the past and present as Grace desperately tries to escape the situation that she’s found herself in.

I won’t say much about this except that I highly enjoyed it and I see why so many people recommend it to newbies of the thriller genre.

 

Currently Reading

So I’m still making my way through Ace by Angela Chen. There’s roughly 3 hours left of the audiobook so I’m sure I can finish by the end of the month.

I’ve also just started The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. There’s been a lot of hype and praise around this book so I’m expecting really good things. I read Haig’s Notes on a Nervous Planet back in 2019 and loved that so I’m fairly optimistic that I’ll enjoy this one too.

 

Haul

Another one book wonder week. I spent £3 and bought a copy of The Cousins by Karen M. McManus which was very slightly damaged. This is a book that I was highly anticipating last year but the timing of it coming out wasn’t great. I’m very excited to read it but obviously I am still dealing with the death of my own grandparent so I think this is a bit too close to home at the moment. Definitely one that I’ll read at some point this year though!

As for library books, I only had one hold come through this week. That was The Disaster Tourist by Yun Ko-eun and as you know, I’ve already finished it.

And finally, let’s talk about review copies! It was a pretty exciting week because I was approved for You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry. *squeals* I absolutely loved Beach Read and so this was automatically at the top of my most anticipated releases of 2021 list. I’m so excited to read it and share my thoughts with you! (You can read my review of Beach Read right now, if you’re interested!)

I also picked up a ‘read now’ of Gudetama: Mindfulness for the Lazy by Wook-Jin Clark. It’s a graphic novel about the famous egg-ish character who I don’t really know much about. But I was super intrigued by that subheading! I could definitely do with learning about mindfulness. And full disclosure: I am a little lazy! So this could very well be a match made in heaven!

 

Bookish Content I Loved This Week

To finish off this week, I wanted to introduce a new category into the mix! I consume a lot of book-related content each week. This week, I have a few links (mainly listicles) that I really enjoyed and wanted to share!

That’s a wrap on week 3 but be sure to stop by again next Friday!

What have you been reading this week?

2 Comments

  • Cristina Rosano January 24, 2021 at 2:19 pm

    I love this reading recap post! I never read anything from Zadie Smith, but it sounds like a great read as well as Faith. I will add both to my list! I have just finished ‘Six of Crows’ and waiting for the second book to be delivered, so I dipped into my TBR list and started ‘The New Jim Crow’. Thanks for sharing this and can’t wait for an update x

    • Hayley January 27, 2021 at 3:57 pm

      Oooh excited to hear your thoughts on The New Jim Crow! I placed a hold on it at my library earlier today so I can read it next month for Black History Month. 🙂

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