Monthly Reads |February and March 2016

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Whenever someone saw me reading this, I was asked “Have you seen the film? It’s so good!”. I haven’t yet seen the film but this book had been sitting on my “to read” pile for a long time. There were parts of Wild that were so evocative and emotionally raw, I had to put it down and take a few deep breaths to stop myself from crying. Cheryl Strayed vividly describes bereavement and loss but also her growth, strength, and victory as she hikes over 1000 miles of the PCT on a personal mission to help heal and guide herself. This is a moving read that that is suspenseful and bildungsroman, documenting a demanding physical and emotional journey. I really adored this

 

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

I loved the Sapphic Dickensian novel Fingersmith, so post-reading I immediately added all of Sarah Waters works to my Amazon basket as I had fallen head over heels with this author. However, The Night Watch is an appalling work  in comparison which was depressing, flat, dull, two dimensional and left me wondering if this was written by the same person.

This book is also responsible for why I didn’t have a chance to read much else through February as I felt unmotivated to keep reading this lifeless, soporific novel. I committed to the 500 pages hoping something would happen but it didn’t, I felt fucking deflated and annoyed when I finished. The personalities of the different women in the multi-stranded narrative were boring, the plot was nowhere near compelling enough to encourage you to continue reading as the story was told in reverse and ultimately there was a blandness to the limp ending.

 

Bassoon King, The : My Life in Art, Faith and Idiocy by Rainn Wilson

I am massive fan of The Office which is probably what I have in common with 99% of readers that bought The Bassoon King. I personally think of Rainn Wilson as having quite a singular identity, as an actor and my hero for playing my comedy favourite Dwight Schrute. However Wilson is far more multi-dimensional and his biography explored his revelatory relationship with faith, family, education, charity work and acting career (MORE EXCITING BEHIND THE SCENES STUFF ABOUT THE OFFICE!) which resulted in some thoroughly philosophical musings and extended critical observations explored in the footnotes throughout.  I was surprised how well written it was and how open Rainn Wilson was about his life…, a consistently amusing and richly revealing memoir of the man behind Dwight Schrute.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Some of the tone and content of this book is unbearably hysterical and hyperbolic. However, I found when Lawson writes of her experience with long term depression (in between chapters on drugs, taxidermy and her work) they are gems of lucid, mesmeric and painfully relatable essays. For this reason I adored this book because her description of mental health is refreshing and her refusal to be a victim of it, prescribes an unusual and amusing set of coping mechanisms… in which she started the Furiously Happy movement.