#WWW Wednesday – April 18, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

I am back from Nepal! I had a great time, though the trek itself was quite challenging, physically and emotionally. But I had a fantastic group of people supporting me. Those 12 days went way too fast, but I am glad to be home.

What have you recently finished reading? 

I finished Ready Player One by Ernest Cline before I went away.  I… look, there’s an okay YA dystopia in there somewhere, but I couldn’t find much of it. It was my first ever one star review! (Said review is full of spoilers, read at your own risk).

I also read The Sherlockian by Graham Moore prior to that. It was fine, but nothing special. I definitely enjoyed Graham Moore’s other novel more. I reviewed it here.

Remember how I was all  “I’m going to read so many books on the plane and have a super long post for you when I get home!”? Yeah, I read two. And one of them was super-short.

The first was Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. I had never read it before and I’m not sure if perhaps I missed the boat with it? I mean, I enjoyed it, but I think a lot of people probably have a certain amount of nostalgic love for it that comes from reading it when one is the same age as Anne Shirley.

I also picked up and read Folk Tales from Nepal by Kesar Lall at Pokhara airport. The English translation wasn’t brilliant but it was fun reading these stories while I was travelling around the locations where they took place.

What are you currently reading? 

At time of writing, I haven’t actually picked up The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon since the day before I left for Nepal. I wasn’t entirely into it. Coincidentally, one of the women in my group was reading it on the plane and she wasn’t that into it either, but we did both say we would see it through. .

What do you think you will read next?

I want to try and read something else off my March-April TBR before the end of the month. I am leaning towards Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie because I didn’t read that on my Jan-Feb TBR either… but I also have an ARC of Bookworm by Lucy Mangan, so I should probably read that soon… I don’t know. I’ll see what I’m in the mood for.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

Book Review: “The Sherlockian” by Graham Moore

Title: The Sherlockian
Author: Graham Moore
Genre: historical fiction/mystery
Dates read: 19/03/18 – 24/03/18
Rating: ★★★

Review:

Having just recently listened to the audio book of Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night, I mayeb went into this one with too-high expectations. It was enjoyable, but I never got quite into it.

In 2010, after the death of a Sherlock Holmes expert who has claimed to have discovered the the missing diary of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harold White follows the clues left behind to finally solve the century-old mystery. At the same time, in 1900, Arthur Conan Doyle and his friend Bram Stoker investigate the deaths of several women in London with ties to the women’s suffrage movement.

Perhaps it’s just because I’m not the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan, but I just didn’t find the events of this book something to geek out about and get invested in. There were a couple of moments where something happened to give me a jolt, but for the most part, when I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t wishing I was, if that makes sense.

I think part of the issue was that it was structured in a very set alternating perspective: one chapter from Harold’s perspective, the next from Arthur’s. Sometimes something dramatic would happen at the end of a chapter, but then we would return to the other character, and I had to remind myself what had taken place two chapters ago. By the time we returned to the first one, the momentum had been lost.

I think also, while Harold was a well-written character, I just couldn’t really get into someone who honestly thought he could just waltz his way into a murder investigation because he thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes (okay, so he did solve the mystery, but it’s still pretty arrogant). I had the same issue with Doyle – while he is a well-rendered man of his time, there was little for me to identify with.

Still, if you’re interested in Sherlockiana (I believe this is the correct term), or historical fiction based on real-life mysteries, then this may be the book for you.


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“On the day he would first meet Thomas Edison, Paul watched a man burn.” // Review of “The Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore

Title: The Last Days of Night
Author: Graham Moore
Audio book narrator:
Johnathan McClain
Genre:
Historical fiction
Date Read: 13/03/2018 – 18/03/2018
Rating:
 ★★★★★

Review:

I gave a book 4.5 stars back in January but this is my first 5 star book of 2018! To be honest, had I simply enjoyed this book, it probably would have only got 4, but I’m giving it the extra one because I kept running off to google historical events and figures because I found it all fascinating, and I’ve never done that before. On top of that, it actually helped me with the world-building for my own novel, so I definitely owe it for that!

The Last Days of Night tells the story of “the war of the currents” between Thomas Edison, commonly considered the inventor  of  the electric lightbulb, and George Westinghouse. The novel’s central character, Paul Cravath, was Westinhouse’s lawyer, and along with him, the reader observes events from a layperson’s perspective. Most of the characters and events in the novel really took place in one way or another, though Graham Moore does admit in his lengthy author’s note at the end that he did take some liberties with the timeline and amalgamated some figures into one character.

Paul is depicted as a likeable yet fallible character. He makes some mistakes, some with huge consequences for his client, and others which affect him more personally. Thomas Edison is arrogant and self-serving, though the book did manage to make me feel sorry even for him at the end. George Westinghouse was more sympathetic, though he was still a businessman. And Nikola Tesla, another key figure in the game… I wanted to give him all the hugs.  Though to be honest, I have always wanted to give Nikola Tesla all the hugs.

I got rather invested in the romantic subplot between Paul and his client-turned-love-interest, Agnes Huntington. Agnes was a great character, too. She was intelligent and not afraid to speak her mind, though she was also caught up in the typical pretenses of New York high society. Even though this was one of the things I googled and I knew that the real Paul Cravath did marry the real Agnes Huntington, there were a couple of points where I wasn’t completely sure their fictionalised versions were going to get it together and actually get engaged. I may have made som undignified squeaking noises as I worried about this.

do need to mention that there is one scene of particular animal cruelty that may upset some readers. There’s also a rather graphic description of the first execution by electric chair, which is not for the faint-hearted, along with some other descriptions of electricity-induced accidents.

But all in all, this was the first time I’ve really felt like I was learning something as I read a historical fiction novel This is a fascinating examination at a unique point in history, and I recommend it!


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#WWW Wednesday – March 21, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

Due to me having no time a couple of weeks ago and still alternating Wednesday posts between this blog and my writing blog, it’s been about three weeks since I last did a WWW Wednesday. I’ve finished a number of things, and am progressing through my March-April TBR quite nicely. But it does make for a bit of a long post! Sorry!

What have you recently finished reading? 

First up, I finished Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.  I enjoyed quite a few of the essays in here, particularly the way she explained her depression and the stories about Simple Dog and Helper Dog. I’m not going to get around to reviewing this one properly, but I would recommend picking it up if you enjoyed the HaaH blog.

Next, I finished my ARC of Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge. This was such a cozy urban fantasy mystery and I enjoyed it a lot. Though it did make me hungry. I want to hang out in Lola Dodge’s kitchen while she’s baking. My review is here.

The next one was Deep Storm by Lincoln Child, which I listened to. This was a sci-fi thriller, I guess. I found some of the ideas quite interesting, but it is in a third person omniscient style, and I found it a bit too detached to get interested in anyone.

On the same day, I finished an ARC of Daddy Dearest by Ellery Crane. This was a compelling thriller though there was one character where I couldn’t decide whether to sympathise with her considering how messed up she was, or whether I just thought she was completely irresponsible. So that did affect my enjoyment a bit. You can read my full review here.

Next I finished Call Me Sasha by Geena Leigh. This is Geena Leigh’s memoir of her time working in prostitution in Sydney. I’ve read a few books in this vein and it wasn’t my favourite. Though I think the audio book narrator also contributed to that because it sounded like she pouting at everything. You can read my review here.

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester was my next read. This was a damn fine piece of historical romance, set in 1920s New York, and featuring young women bucking societal norms and also lots of Broadway. So I was sort of destined to like it. My review is here.

Last but certainly not least, I finished the audio book of The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore. This was fascinating, and I’m already pretty sure will be one of my favourite books of this year. It is another historical fiction, set during the “War of the Currents” and featuring historical figures such as Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. I have never googled so many real events to find out more while reading a novel. My review will be up on Friday.

Phew! That’s it. Only seven books, but I do tend to go on a bit, don’t I? (I have actually been drafting this post for at least a week and adding books as I finished them, but it still feels like it took forever to write).

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve been reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, which is on my March-April TBR… I feel like the blurb promises one thing and the words between the covers go off in a completely different direction and I’m not sure how I feel about that. So I’m having a bit of a break from it.

In the meantime, I have started The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. I’m not quite as into it as I was into The Last Days of Night. I think it’s little things like small Americanisms in the chapters set in Victorian London, and a fictitious descendent of Arthur Conan Doyle (I’m never sure how to feel about liberties taken with such recent historical figures). But I only started it last night and I’m  already a third of the way through, so there’ s that.

What do you think you will read next?

I’ve got Ready Player One by Ernest Cline out from the library. To be honest, the excerpts I’ve read, along with everything I’ve heard from people with similar reading tastes to me, suggest that it is pretty terrible, so the best I’m hoping for is “so bad, it’s good.” Yes, every now and then I like to rage-read a book, it’s true.

It will probably be another three weeks before I post a WWW again, as I am flying to Nepal on April 2! Eeeek! I won’t be reading much while I’m there, but I have a number of ebooks lined up to read on the flights!

What are you reading this week?~ Emily