Review: When I Grow Up I Want to be Mary Beard – Megan Beech

46 - When I Grow Up I Want to be Mary Beard

Rating – 4*

I have said it before, and will undoubtedly repeat myself many times, I am by no means an expert on poetry. What I do know however is that I absolutely adored this poetry collection and would very, very highly recommend this.

Megan Beech is a performance poet; sometimes performance poetry just does not translate well when written down and read, this collection however translates to the written word beautifully. I found getting in to the rhythm of these really quite easy, it sometimes took a bit of slowing down to find that rhythm but it wasn’t in any way impossible. This easy rhythm made Beech’s voice come across clearly for me, although I am very aware that other people have struggled in finding this.

The poems themselves really resonated with me. Her point of view is one I really identified with and I found so much of myself and my own opinion in her words. What she was just saying sung to my soul, however cheesy that sounds. Her words are fearless, and it was both beautifully poetic and yet raw, exposed and quite brash. On the whole, I’d say it was amazing – and very, very passionate. One of my favourites in the collection was possibly Dadverts; actually it’s one of the more quiet pieces, it’s slower, but it really stood out for me.

I was torn as to whether I could give this 4 or 5 stars. It’s definitely the best poetry collection I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and one I will be revisiting. I loved Kate Tempest’s work, but if I’m honest this was better (or at least resonated more with me individually). I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled for more by Megan Beech because this woman is amazing. Really, give this a go because it’s wonderful.

August Wrap-Up & September Goals

08 - august wrapup

August. What can I say about August? It’s been an up and down month, mainly down because of my health. But I’ll not bore you with that!

On the reading front, I was completely ruined for life by A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I think that sums up this month in a nutshell, nothing will compare to my love of that book and it is already up there with some of my favourite books of all time (Rebecca, Daniel Deronda, and The Count of Monte Cristo to name but a few). It was the first fiction book I’ve given 5* to since the start of May.

Needless to say it was the best book of the month for me.

Stats wise, I read 6 books which totalled 2456 pages. My goal this month was to get over 2000 pages, as I hadn’t since April, so I’m really happy that I did. I also managed to knock a few off the TBR list that I had going, two of them however I haven’t – they’ve been recurring on a TBR list since June and I still haven’t read them so they’re going to go back on to my shelf and I will pick them up at a later date.

I have one book still ongoing which I started at the very end of the month and it’s a proof copy of Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a follow up from Sapiens which I really loved so I’m taking my time with it as it’s quite a chunker! So far though, I’m really loving it.

08 - september goals

September is my last month of sort of freedom, while I’ll be working come October I will be doing a masters on top of my job so I’m pretty certain I’ll take a wee slump in the reading department. So I want to take advantage of September to the fullest.

My goodreads goal for the year is to read 52 books, I currently sit at 45. I want to hit my goal for the year by the end of September. So 7 books is what I’m aiming for.

Naturally, I want to finish Homo Deus – though that might not be for a while as I’m reading little and often. However it’s really got me in to non-fiction and I’d like to maybe read a bit more over September.

I also really want to read a classic this month – my ‘classic a month’ has sort of fallen by the wayside as of late and as the nights are drawing in, I think now is a perfect time to really get on top of that again. September marks a year since I read Middlemarch, and a year since I fell in love with George Eliot – so maybe I’ll pick up Felix Holt or Romola. 

There are a number of books that I’ve felt ‘calling me’ the past week or so, so I might pick up some of those. In amongst them are a short story collection (or two) and Daphne du Maurier’s work generally.

As for other things, I’m off to see Ian Rankin in conversation with my dad in the middle of the month, so that’ll be fun and I may well put a bit on here about that if it’s good! (which I am absolutely certain it will be)

All in all, September is hopefully going to shape up to be a wonderfully bookish month for me!

Review: Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb

46 - Royal Assassin

Rating – 3*

Unpopular opinion – I didn’t much care for this book. There is no denying that Robin Hobb can build an incredible world, and I really enjoyed book 1 but this was just a really hard slog for me. I was hoping that the pace would really pick up in this book, but if anything I felt it slow down from the first book. Reading other reviews of this, many people do say that “you have to get through this trilogy and then it becomes amazing in the next series” – and I find that really hard to swallow. I wanted this book to be amazing, not a precursor for something amazing – nearly 2000 pages building up to another series, which is itself between 3000 and 4000 pages seems like I’m being cheated a bit!

 

I listened to this as an audiobook. While from the clip I listened to of the first book had me quite dubious about the narrator, I have come to find him quite easy to listen to, and would seriously recommend this on audiobook.

Now, I gave this book 3* – but it was more a 2.5 if I’m honest – and in the goodreads term “I liked it”. It was a good story in parts, it does have merit and I can see why people love it but for me it really, really exhausted me. And, worst of all, everything still felt unresolved come the end. Honestly, I found myself a little disappointed. I don’t want to go too much in to the plot (though I struggle to recall anything of note as I’m writing this), as it is a second book in a series and in doing so some points of the first book would be ruined. But I found the romance (if you can call it that) quite irritating, the trials that Fitz went through could have been resolved in 200 pages less, and all was made worse for me by the characters. If they were better, maybe I’d have enjoyed the plot a bit more.

The primary issue is the characters, as I said above, and I can’t say I feel attached to any of them. Least of all Fitz. When a book is written in first person, I need a connection with the character, I need to have some sort of identification with them and with Fitz I just don’t have that. I found his character really monotonous, and didn’t feel like he grew at all through the course of this book. It wasn’t just Fitz though, I felt all of the characters were more like caricatures or puppets who I just didn’t gel with as a reader.

The fact it was an audiobook actually elevated the rating a bit as I rated the whole experience of the book, and audio definitely made the book a little more enjoyable for me. Without it, I would probably have rated it a 2*.

I just found it very difficult to read, and throughout I just became really despondent with it. I did finish it, I was in two minds as to whether to give up, but I’m a completist by nature. Because of that, I will read the final book in this series but I’m not in any hurry unfortunately. What I find most infuriating is so many people say that this trilogy is not reflective of the rest of the books set in the same world – that you just have to ‘get through’ this one and then it becomes amazing… but I’m really put off reading The Liveship Traders series after my rather rocky relationship with this first trilogy so far!