WWW Wednesday 22 April 2020.

This Book Tag is hosted by Taking On A World Of Words.

What I’ve read, What I’m reading, What’s next.

What I’ve Read

Title: Hold Back The Tide

Author: Melinda Salisbury

Star rating: 5 / 5

After attending the book launch for Hold Back the Tide in the middle of March (the last weekend I left the house before lockdown), I read this in two sittings right afterwards.

This book is a punchy, thrilling, and quite frankly terrifying little novel. Set in the wilds of Scotland, we follow 16 year old Alva and her murderer father’s lives on the Loch. Just as Alva is ready to carve her own path, everything she thought she knew flips on its head and she must survive unbelievable horrors past and present.

Hold Back the Tide is Melinda Salisbury’s first stand-alone novel and I loved it. Very unsettling from the beginning, this is an eye-opening spin on the consequences of our abuse of natural resources. I would also happily state that the first chapter is easily the best YA novel opening I have ever read. Alva is also a kick ass protagonist and sports my own horrific brand of gallows humour.

In short, I would highly recommend this book.

What I’m Currently Reading

Title: A Very English Murder

Author: Verity Bright

Star rating prediction: 2.5 – 3.5 / 5

First impressions:

I assumed I was going to adore this book from the offset because it’s set in 1920s England with an amateur female detective sleuthing around. However, so far I’ve found the protagonist mostly irritating at best. The plot concept is great (Lady Swift has witnessed a murder but there is no body, the scene is clean, yet everyone is acting shady and then the victim turns up dead elsewhere in an apparent accident), but so far it’s less ‘getting on with the plot’ and more ‘the author has a bee in her bonnet over 1920s sexism’.

Baring in mind the era this novel is set in, I fully understand the situation with regards to men’s attitudes towards women at the time. Even a little bit of set up to paint that picture is absolutely fine. However, every third paragraph the narrative is side-tracked by Ellie’s social commentary of historical sexism.

‘Oh that man is disregarding my opinion because I’m a woman.’ 3 sentences later: ‘Oh I wish we had female police constables in this village like in some of the northern cities, but even those women are babysat by men on the force.’

It’s the 1920s. We got it the first time you mentioned it. We’re in an era 2 years post some women getting the vote. Society is male-dominated and backwards. Fine. Understood. Get on with the plot.

I’m over half way through and so far not a lot has actually happened. Here’s hoping it improves because I really want to like this book…

What I’m Reading Next

Title: Orphan Monster Spy

Author: Matt Kileen

Blurb:

A teenage spy. A Nazi boarding school. The performance of a lifetime.

Sarah has played many roles – but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there’s only one way for a Jewish orphan to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that is to become a monster like them.

Survive. Deceive. Resist.

They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming… with a mission to destroy them all.

I think I’m a Kindle convert

I know. I said it would never happen…

On Black Friday 2019 the Amazon sales broke me and I bought the new Kindle Paperwhite (not sponsored, it’s just the e-reader I purchased).

Back in 2016, during the huge rise in e-books, I wrote this blog post -> 3 Reasons Why I Will Always Be Loyal To Print Over e-Books. Yet it’s 2020 and I’ve eventually bought a Kindle. Dare I say, I’m actually pleasantly surprised and all of the factors that left me vehemently against these evil electronic book murdering machines, have been less of an issue than I expected.

It won’t feel like a ‘real’ book…!

Let me tell you, 900 pages of paperback feels every bit as long on a Kindle. For me, I think what helps with this is that my Kindle Paperwhite has a matte screen. It doesn’t look like a screen therefore it doesn’t feel like a screen when I’m reading. Yes I have the backlight option available for lowlight conditions but I very rarely use it which means there’s no glare on my eyes, aka like reading paper (thumbs up emoji).

I do miss turning the pages and feeling the physical book, however if I can read fanfiction on a screen (don’t judge) I can read a published book on a screen. I’m coming to realise that the ‘real book’ is the words and not necessarily the paper.

NO BOOK SMELL

Again, missing one of my favourite parts of a book but it’s not like I’ve donated my book shelves and removed them all from my life. My Kindle will always play second fiddle to a physical book but I don’t detest the e-book the way I expected to.

Convenience

The biggest realisation for me has been how convenient a Kindle is. I don’t mean that there is an entire library in my pocket, more that I have 24 hour access to new titles and the next book in a series. The new Paperwhite also has the option to add audible narration for a relatively small extra cost (this may not be a new feature but before purchase, I didn’t know this was a option and it was pretty much the deciding factor). This is proving very useful to me as I can now use this to assist with my language learning. I have the foreign text in front of me, with the audible narration in that language in my ears, and then I can highlight words to search for definitions and to add to a vocabulary page. Honestly I think language teachers should be recommending this as I have certainly found it very useful.

An e-book is also definitely a space-saver. I bought The Priory of the Orange Tree in the Kindle sale and I’m definitely glad I won’t have to lug around a nearly 1000 page hardback should I wish to re-read.

E-readers also make reading accessible as there are options on my Paperwhite to increase the text size, change the font, even invert the colour which I know would help my brother who is dyslexic. AKA: e-books = books for everyone 😁.

Cost

Quite simply, ignoring the initial expense of the device, e-books are usually cheaper. It’s much cheaper to buy a £3.99 e-book that I may only read once than purchase a physical copy for £7.99 and let it gather dust on my shelves.

Before anyone comes at me to say ‘libraries are free’, I’m aware. However some of us aren’t lucky enough to live in a place where we have a local library. My hometown library has lost so much funding that it is only open 6 days a week from 9.30am – 1pm on 2 days, closing at 4pm on 2 days, and closing at 6pm on 2 days, which means I would not have time to get there after work to use the facilities.

New Approach

Most of all, buying my Kindle has already changed my approach to my book-buying habits despite only owning it for around 6 weeks or so.

I’ve pretty much decided that unless I can see myself reading a book more than once, I’m going to buy the e-book rather than the physical copy. Most books I do re-read so this won’t make a massive impact but I think it’s a good question for me to ask myself when I consider how much I can afford to spend.

For instance, I already know that I’ll be buying every one of Samantha Shannon’s books, but after not enjoying Lauren James’s books to the same level I’m unlikely to purchase physical copies unless I really enjoy them. I’ll definitely buy all of the books in series I’m already committed to reading – because if I’ve decided to continue a series chances are that will be a re-read. However, in the future I’m probably going to read the first of a new series on my Kindle before making that decision.

I can already feel myself being more selective with my book-buying which is great when I currently share a flat so all of my belongings remain in the one room.

So far, so good…

Long story short, my first impressions of my Kindle Paperwhite are really positive – despite all of my initial reservations, and at times outright hatred, towards them for most of the last decade or so of e-reader existence.

At the moment I currently own about 20 e-books, most of which I only paid £0.99 for, and own over 400 physical books which I have no plans to get rid of or cut down on. My Kindle has certainly confirmed my suspicion that I will NEVER completely switch to e-books because paper books have my heart and are clearly far superior.

However, I think I may just be a Kindle convert…