Whereas January is full of new energy and you still manage to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions, February always seems to lack in persistence. After reading tbr books (that I stare at everyday) the month before, I wanted to give myself a bit of new energy and variety and went to the library. And those are the books I picked:
Paulo Coelho – The Spy // This book was the January pick for the Tea & Twigs Bookclub and since I remember being interested in a Mata Hari Biography on my mother’s bookshelf for years now, I decided to read it. But alas, Paulo Coelho’s writing did not blow me away. It was way too short and did not give the biography enough space to fully display this interesting woman. To me, she just seemed really naive and self-centred. She could be a self-sufficient woman that made bold, careless decisions if it suited her, but as things started turning sour (and she older), Mata Hari blamed men and society for her situation. While all the time waiting for them to save her nonetheless.
Robert Galbraith – The Silkworm // Second novel in the Cormoran Strike crime series by J. K. Rowling. I enjoyed the first but this one did not live up to my expectations. The story around a murdered author and the many people he offended in his latest novel was agreeable though gruesome. But the unnecessary drama around Cormoran and his assistant Robyn just made me despise it. Why can’t we have a main crime novel character with a working social life and relationship?
Amelia Freer – Eat. Nourish. Glow // I picked this up as substitute for Madeleine Shaw’s Ready, Steady, Glow which my library didn’t have. I honestly hope Madeleine Shaw’s book is way better because this one is not good. It’s recycled information put into a text with nice pictures, some help to discover you bad eating habits and lots and lots of guilty conscience. Amelia Freer wants you to drop everything that has even the slightest hint of being unhealthy. For example, you’re not allowed Couscous because of gluten and of course diary products and sugar. This made it nearly unapplicable for my diet as it’s excluding too much if you’re a vegetarian. Also, she always talks about allowing yourself guilty pleasures but never develops how to include this in a healthy way into your diet and just assumes that you don’t need it after taking it out of your food completely for weeks.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Americanah // Ifemelu is one of the many Nigerians moving back home after living in the US for years. But with her move home, memories start to resurface and the question she can’t shake is: How is her old boyfriend Obinze? Americanah is the story of an immigrant and tackles topics such as the feeling of belonging, foreignness and, of course, racism. It’s interesting to see what reasons Ifemelu and her peers have for leaving and that the American dream is not as easy to follow as the movies tell us. I also didn’t know how big the role of hair is for African women in our white culture. However, neither Ifemelu nor Obinze really connected with me. Especially their behaviour in relationships seems rather selfish and hurtful which overshadowed the more thought-provoking aspects of the novel.
Rick Riordan – Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer // I started listening to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief as an audio book but the characters were just too young to connect with, so I stuck to the movies which were entertaining nonetheless. I kind of had the same problem with Magnus Chase and his friends. The story was rather generic and following the heroe’s journey archetype quite closely. I’m sure certain surprises are actually surprising for people not knowing as much about North Mythology and that younger readers can connect more with the characters and the storytelling. But I disliked that every phrase had to be a punchline which is Rick Riordan’s signature writing style.
Jo Baker – Longbourn // Pride and Prejudice from the view of the servants? Well yes, thank you, I thought before starting Jo Baker’s novel. After finishing it, I’m not as enthusiastic anymore. It was nice to revisit characters and places so well known to me but the drama surrounding the servants was too much. I like the subtelties and slowly developing storylines in Jane Austen’s books and Longbourn was more telenovela than a study of society.