The Book Pile – Feb 2023

January is over, which both seemed to go quickly and slowly at the same time and we’re on to February. Before we get to the main post, I just wanted to share my latest short story that I published yesterday. Please have a read and let me know what you think. Any feedback is appreciated:

At the start of the year I had the aim of reading 4 books each month, and I’ve done exactly that in January. My first book I read this year was Novelist as a Vocation by Haurki Murakami and it was brilliant. I’ve already written a whole post on the book, so I won’t go into much further detail. I do think it’s a must read for anyone who wants to be a writer, or just an interest in the writing process. It’s definitely given me new ideas of how to approach writing and inspired me.

Up next I read both Anything is Possible and Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout. Both books are connected, in that they continue the story of Lucy Barton which I’ve been really enjoying. Anything is Possible is a series of short stories about the people from Lucy’s hometown and the surrounding area, with Lucy appearing in one of the stories. I really enjoyed reading them, and loved how it built the world around her. The characters are so well written and I ended up caring about so many of them.

Lucy by the Sea is set during the first year or so of the pandemic, with Lucy travelling to coast with her ex-husband to avoid the worst of Covid. There are some characters mentioned from other Strout books such as Anything is Possible and it was interesting to see where their lives have taken them. There’s also a few characters from other books that I haven’t read yet. Lucy by the Sea was like reading a time capsule, remembering the early days of lockdown with a lot of familiar moments that all seem so hazy almost three years later. It’s a strange time to revisit, that’s for sure.

Elizabeth Strout has quickly become one of my favourite writers. I’ve only read four of her books, with the other two being My Name is Lucy Barton, and Oh, William!. The characters in the book are phenomenally written. They feel so real and I’m completely invested in Lucy’s life, as well as everyone else in the books. Every time I’ve started one of her books I haven’t wanted to put it down until I finished it. The short stories in Anything is Possible were like puzzle pieces, building the world. I read Lucy by the Sea almost completely in one sitting, and I hope this isn’t the last time Strout writes a book about her. Strout’s writing style is also incredibly easy to read and completely absorbing.

Last up is The Kaiju Perseveration Society by John Scalzi, which is a sci-fi comedy action book, again set in the early days of the pandemic, but not as fixated on it. Scalzi is a great writer, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of his previous books and was very excited to read this one. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually get around to it. Now that I have I did enjoy the book, it’s very easy to read and quite a lot of fun. The book is set in a world where nuclear weapons have caused the barrier between our world and another, where monsters like Godzilla live, to weaken. The book follows a group of people who work in that world to study the kaiju. I hope Scalzi writes more books set in this world, because I don’t feel that the premise has been explored enough. It seemed to fly by too quickly and I really hope to get to spend more time with the characters in the future.

So that’s what I’ve read, now onto my plans for Feb. I’m going to continue reading all of Elizabeth Strout’s work by going right back to her first book, Amy and Isabelle. I’m also going to read Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa, and Victory City by Salmon Rushdie.

Have you read any books in January or do you have any on your reading list for February? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading and until next time!

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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5 Responses to The Book Pile – Feb 2023

  1. Loved Lucy by the Sea, and all her books!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had fun reading your story, Ashley! Yay for meeting your January goal of reading 4 books. Good luck with your February reading goal!

    Liked by 1 person

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