Literature in Lockdown

Remember that New Year’s ‘Reading Resolution’ I made for myself where I said I would post on this blog once at month, at least?


In all seriousness, we’re all going through a very strange and scary time right now. I’ve been furloughed from work, and while that means I’m in a very privileged position and I’m able to get loads of reading done, I’m finding that nothing is really grabbing me. I haven’t read anything yet where I’ve said ‘yep, this book is excellent, five stars’. I’m not sure if that’s because there’s a constant worry about the current situation ticking away in the back of my mind, or if its genuinely just the books I’ve chosen to read so far.

I’ve read quite an eclectic mix of books during my time in lockdown so far, and here are just a few:

. The Stand by Stephen King
. Dear Mr M by Herman Koch
. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
. The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
. Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

A couple of these – My Dark Vanessa and The Recovery of Rose Gold were debut novels I was really looking forward to, but I only ended up giving them each three stars. Five Star Billionaire was a book I picked up in a charity shop – back when spending an afternoon browsing charity shops for inexpensive books was a thing – and I only gave it four stars, something about it just didn’t quite work well enough for me to give it five. Dear Mr M started well but became confusing and muddled, only slightly redeemed by an unexpected ending – if I was to re-read the other book I’ve read by Koch (The Dinner) I wonder if I would be similarly underwhelmed.

Then there’s The Stand. I was questioned as to whether or not reading this during a global pandemic was a good idea, and honestly I don’t know that I would have ever read it if I weren’t for the pandemic. Not simply due to its length – 1421 pages in the uncut edition I have – but also due to the subject matter – sci-fi and post-apocalyptic aren’t usually my genre. I’m glad I read it now, in a way, because it helped me to truly appreciate the horror in the first part of the book as the infection spread and took hold – and as cities were put under quarantine. But even reading about a global pandemic during a global pandemic couldn’t elevate what was actually on the page, and I must confess I finished the book disappointed. My next King book will either be ‘Salem’s Lot or It, though, and I have high hopes for both.

This isn’t really a bunch of mini reviews, or a long review, and there isn’t a picture of one of my signature book piles. This is really just a little update. Perhaps I’ll post another long review sometime soon – I have plenty of time on my hands, after all…

Stay safe out there, everyone!

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