Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

Home Sweet Home

Boston Common was right near our hotel – my pictures are
languishing on my camera so this image is from here
Oh home time, you are so bitter-sweet.  Both Boston and Washington DC were fabulous and we had an amazing time walking everywhere and looking at everything but my goodness me was I tired by the end of it.  Happy tired, obviously, but tired nonetheless and in dire need of some home comforts (our own bed topping the list) and a decent daily quota of fruit/vegetables on the assumption that pumpkin in croissant/muffin/latte/beer form doesn’t count. 
I adored Boston.  If I was moving to America, Boston would be the top of my list of places to pick out of those that we’ve visited.  It’s the perfect mix of modern and historical and has some really lovely architecture and the people seemed wonderfully friendly and chilled out.  I also have a big love of seafood so that helped (the lobster rolls and crab that I tucked into were particularly delicious!).  We did a lot of the properly touristy things and I made my peace with toting my camera fastidiously along the Freedom Trail like a bit of a plonker.  We went on plenty of tours and pleasantly endured some thankfully light-hearted jests about the horrid British Empire and its admittedly rather shaky tax-imposing/uprising-repressing ways, which was fascinating because it’s a huge part of America’s history as an independent country that is told in a hundred different ways over there but that was barely touched upon in my British history education.  ALSO, we went to watch Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, which was so quaint and a super fun night.
As much as I loved Boston, Boyfriend loved Washington.  I definitely really enjoyed Boston, don’t get me wrong, but just not as much as Andy.  Where I went for the more…charming feel of Boston, Andy went for the modern hustle and bustle of Washington.  It helps that he loves all things political, I think.  It was super warm in Washington while we were there too, which made returning to permanent rain all the more tragic.  We basically went as many places as would give us security clearance (the Pentagon included) and it was exhausting in the best way.  Incidentally, we stayed not far from the Georgetown area which was adorable and had some fabulous restaurants so if you’re over there, visiting that area is my tip. 
Basically, Boyfriend abhors “just sitting around” (which is what other people know as “relaxing”) so our holidays tend to involve a lot of exploring, going on tours of historical/political/other culturally significant things, eating and drinking.  We’ve been on three beach holidays in the seven plus years we’ve been together and two of those were forced upon Boyfriend by family members with significant birthdays.  I’m in no way complaining but it does mean that our holidays can be a little hit and miss in the reading stakes.  This time, I read three whole books and two halves of separate books and was pretty darn pleased overall. 
I finished World War Z by Max Brooks on the flight on the way out and found it to be a bit of a mixed bag, really.  There were some parts that I was gripped by and some that I found…dry.  I am in awe of how clever the book is and I couldn’t fault Brooks for attention to detail.  The version of the world that he’s created is impeccable and I do respect it, I just didn’t enjoy reading it.  Early on, I really struggled to engage with it.  I can see that one of the book’s strengths is the multiple views and how the global picture develops but it stopped me really connecting with it.  When the ‘invasion’ was in full force,  I was interested enough but when it moved on to military tactics, I couldn’t bear it.  I’ll admit that I skimmed quite a bit…I can see why people do love it but it wasn’t for me.
After that and while I was jet-lagged, I wanted something light-hearted.  Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan won the day and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first two in the series.  If I have children, this series is going to be right up on the list of those that I’ll be buying them and hoping that they love as much as I do.  Obviously, I’m looking forward to the next one.
Next up was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  I’d heard great things about it before I set off and it definitely lived up to my expectations.  The writing is quirky and beautiful in its way and I flew through the story in a couple of days.  It’s short, admittedly, but I was also completely obsessed with reading it and I read it at every single possible moment.  I don’t want to say anything else because it’s better if you just read it.  I definitely recommend that you do read it but I don’t want to tell you why.  You’re welcome.
My last full read was Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.  I’ve been craving a Christie for a while and I figured that I might as well go back to one of the most well known.  It wasn’t really what I expected and was a different style in a lot of ways to other books of Christie’s that I’ve read.  I keep being surprised by how different and how intelligent her books are.  I obviously didn’t solve the mystery ahead of Poirot but the journey was every bit as fun as I’d hoped.
I started Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey on the journey home and it’s definitely…interesting.  It’s apparently a “modern fantasy set in two epochs: the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day“.  It’s rather dark and it’s lauded by Stephen King as something rather brilliant so I still have high hopes, even if the first third has been a little slow.  I’ve had it for years and may already have the second in the trilogy so it’d be great if it could be a series worth going on with.
What have I missed?!  Hope you’ve all had a wonderful few weeks full of books and other treats!  Tell me that I’m not the only one mourning the loss of sunshine, even while I adore winter reads and pumpkin-based deliciousness!