Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Musing Mondays - Novellas from the library & reading formats

Musing Monday January 23, 2017

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 I bought acquired the following book(s) in the past week…

I'm making a change to this category because I didn't buy the books I got last week, I acquired them from the library where I work, so I've got them out indefinitely (until I read them or someone else recalls them, whichever comes first). I wanted to talk about them still so that was why I chose to hijack one of the categories for them. I read an article on Book Riot last week, 100 Must Read Novellas, and it inspired me to snag a few from the library. Specifically 3 of them that had been on my want to read list for some time but that I'd never gotten around to. What I like best about novellas is that they can usually be read in one sitting and I can usually get through them in about 2 hours because they're under 200 pages. So what did I pick up?

Booker Prize winner Dame Antonia Byatt breathes life into the Ragnorak myth, the story of the end of the gods in Norse mythology.

Ragnarok retells the finale of Norse mythology. A story of the destruction of life on this planet and the end of the gods themselves: what more relevant myth could any modern writer choose? Just as Wagner used this dramatic and catastrophic struggle for the climax of his Ring Cycle, so AS Byatt now reinvents it in all its intensity and glory. As the bombs of the Blitz rain down on Britain, one young girl is evacuated to the countryside. She is struggling to make sense of her new wartime life. Then she is given a copy of Asgard and the Gods—a book of ancient Norse myths—and her inner and outer worlds are transformed.

War, natural disaster, reckless gods and the recognition of impermanence in the world are just some of the threads that AS Byatt weaves into this most timely of books. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, this is a landmark. -- via Goodreads
Why this one? Two reasons - 1 I love mythology of all kinds as I have mentioned before and 2, because I have a love/hate relationship with A.S. Byatt. I did my 4th year English seminar on her and her mother, I had to write a 25 page paper on her novel Possession, I hated that novel. But I loved all of her short stories, so I figured this being in between the two I've got a 50/50 chance of loving it. I know she won't spend nearly as much time describing bathrooms in this one as she did in Possession.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
For Penelope, Odysseus's wife, running a kingdom while her husband is away fighting in the Trojan War is no simple matter. Already distressed that he had been lured away because of the shocking behavior of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also raise her wayward son, face scandalous rumors, and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, and bloodthirsty suitors at bay.

Margaret Atwood gives voice to Penelope, one of antiquity's most infamous heroines, so that she can tell her story at last and set the record straight once and for all. -- via Goodreads
I chose this one for similar reasons to Ragnarok. It's another one about mythology, Greek this time. I've been saying for years I'd like to try reading more Margaret Atwood stuff. The only book of hers that have read is The Robber Bride which I actually really liked. So I thought I'd start with her novella and then move to her comic book and then try her novels. I've had Oryx and Crake out from work for ages.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin
For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.
At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.  -- via Goodreads
I didn't even realise that this was a book. I knew about the film, I've seen the Nicole Kidman version. So I was already familiar with the premise and I decided I should read the original source material. I also thought given the subject matter that now was an appropriate time to read this. I read it last Wednesday and I was right about my timing, it's a disturbing and scary novella, even moreso because you can see something like this happening. (not with robots  (hidden for spoilers), but through legislation for example)

        THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your preferred reading format?

I was a die hard physical books only girl when ebooks first started getting big, which thinking back makes no sense at all given that I am also a long time fanfiction reader but whatever, I guess I was a little hypocritical. I have since changed my tune! I also had a similar thing about audiobooks, I kept saying they didn't work for me, but they do now. All in all I don't necessarily have one particular format that is my preferred choice. Usually I make my choice of format based on specific circumstances. Like if I know I am going to be travelling, ebooks are perfect because then I just need my phone or tablet instead of the 3-5 paperbacks or 2 hardcovers that I previously would have fought to get into my carry-on and suitcase. I'm going to visit Angie in May and have already decided that I am not taking ANY physical books with me - this will be a first for me. Auidobooks have their place for me as well, usually when I'm at work and am the only one in the office and thus need some sound. I've tried them while walking the dog a few times, that was fun too. I didn't bring headphones with me so I'm listening to Philosopher's Stone on speaker phone while I walk through the park on a Saturday morning. Good thing there was no one around to disturb with it. I like paper backs because they're light, easily fit in my messenger bag and are easy to hold, they're also relatively cheap compared to everything but ebooks usually. And of course I do love a good hardcover, I love hardcovers best for reading at something, like at my desk or at the kitchen table, because then I can just sit the book down and just flip the pages. They can be a pain, literally, when you have to hold them up, especially if you read in marathon stretches like I've been known to do.

Also - this is the 100th post on this blog, YAY! Congrats to us Angie!


  1. I agree that e-books are great when traveling. Audiobooks are something that come and go for me. It depends on my mood and what else I am doing. There are times that I really enjoy listening to audiobooks.

    I love the change to aquired books! Books from the library most definitely count. Thanks for sharing your library finds. How nice to be able to keep books as long as you want them. Nice perk to working at the library! :)

    Congrats on 100 posts!

    1. Yeah I know what you mean audiobook listening is very situational and mood dependent for me too.

      It really is a great perk, I get most of my library books through work now because I can have them so much longer than the ones from the public library!

      Thank you :)

  2. I've never heard of any of these! I feel so uneducated, haha.

    Great post Lauren! :)

    1. Don't you've heard of lots that I've never heard of haha. The two I've read were really good though. I plan to read Ragnarok after I finish Rick Riordan's Hammer of Thor which I am reading now, should be a good thematic follow-up I think haha.