As I was writing my last blog of 2013 reviewing my top 12 books of 2013. I was reflecting on the future for my blog. Has it had it’s day? In 2013 I had written once a month about my resolutions with a monthly update but feel like the year that had run its course. With an increased work load recently I have struggled over the autumn and winter period to update my blog as often as I would like. But that led me to reflect that with no blog to update I am less likely to write for pleasure and though I love writing via my work at Bright Light Marketing writing for pleasure is like reading a way of relaxing. Which gave me my solution why not combine the two? And write a book review for each and every book I read over 2014 while seeing if I can make the goal of reading 100 books over the year.
So my first book of 2014 was “Questions of Travel” by Michelle De Kretser. This was a find in my local bookshop Mainstreet Trading in St Boswells. It caught my eye as it had a very attractive cover and in particular bright colours which immediately caught my eye. It was also winner of the 2013 Miles Franklin Literary Award not sure what that particular award is but books that are award winners as a general rule of thumb are usually worth reading. Turning to the back cover it was about two people one a lady called Laura who is Australian and dreams of travelling the world and the other Ravi who lives in Sri Lanka but is forced to flee due to the fighting in that country. The combination of the attractive cover, award and the bio at the back had me buying the book. I like to read about travel and I am also interested in the history and politics of countries and not knowing much about Sri Lanka it sounded time to find out. I started the book on the 27th December. It is beautifully written. The book is split into two parts and I greatly enjoyed the first part as we got to know about each of the characters. As I suspected I was captured about Ravi’s story growing up in Sri Lanka and how the political situation there tore his family apart and those of his friends. Both characters through out the first part are kept as separate stories and you do wonder how and when they will meet and where. This leads to the second part of the book and without giving the ending away part two was not what I expected and although I had greatly enjoyed the first part of the book it was let down by the second part though the actual ending took me by surprise. It is a good book and I enjoyed it. I felt as if I learnt more about a part of the world I didn’t know about but felt let down by the second part of the book. So for that reason in my book journal it was awarded three stars.
The second book of the year was Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. Having resisted for some time to get Amazon’s prime I recently gave in realising that their postal charges would quickly make up for the price of a prime membership and it also came with the benefit of a free kindle book per month. I have had a Kindle for a year of so now. If you made me choose it would be a book every time but as a very avid reader I can see there is a time and a place for kindles and the like. If you commute it would be essential. And for me who used to take 14 books with me on holiday taking up lots of the boot space in the car and I confess when we holidayed abroad not leaving much room for clothes. Taking a Kindle with me is fantastic and I can read as much as I want without worrying about running out of books. I also love the fact that my Kindle Fire connects me to the web, social media and so forth and since my parents bought it in March for me it has become something that I use most days. Now with prime I also make sure I take up the offer of their free book per month. Sisterhood was actually my December book which I prioritised so I could get a January book. The title of this book caught my eye as my husband calls my walking friends and I “The sisterhood” so it had instant appeal. It was also set in Spain which I love and combined present day Spain with 15th Century Inquisition Spain which I haven’t studied since school. The historic story about a group of girls fleeing the inquisition is really interesting and you are taken back to a different time and place. The story of the girl in the present day though slightly beggars belief from beginning to end and for me spoils the overall story. But an enjoyable enough read not as well written as Questions of Travel so award it 2.5 stars.
2014 the year the blog takes a book review slant. I do hope to write other articles on this blog over the course of 2014. My Creative Writing Course starts again tomorrow with a travel theme and I also hope to write more marketing articles again. Combining this with books reviews over the course of the year. A strategy for the year ahead for Fiona Drane’s blog now like any strategy the trick is to stick to it.