PopJustice Book Club

I have major trauma over Mrs Dalloway. It was the first book we were assigned to read on my English degree 27,000 years ago and almost everyone struggled with the lack of chapters.
I've only read Orlando by Woolf and adored it (and the film). I have no idea why I've not investigated her any further.
 
Currently reading I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and i like it, i think. I feel like i would have related to it a lot more in my formative years however.
 
Halfway through Charlotte Vassell's The Other Half, which is pretty much Murder on Made in Chelsea. It's, at points, beautifully written, but damn does she repeat phrases ad nauseum. The term 'Grand pooh-bahh' has appeared about a dozen times.

OK this was no good come the end. It pretty much just stopped with a "another department is taking over the case" to avoid wrapping up other plots, and the evil, manipulative antagonist went entirely unpunished. Why even bother?
 
Alice Winn’s In Memoriam took my breath away. Harrowing and beautiful in equal measure. What a way to break out onto the literary scene!

Am currently reading Dolly Alderton’s Good Material. I love Dolly’s writing and this novel is no exception, but Andy (the lead character) is very annoying. I know that’s kind of the point, but still. A good reminder of why I generally don’t socialise with straight men, ha! I’d much rather get Jen’s perspective.
 
Alice Winn’s In Memoriam took my breath away. Harrowing and beautiful in equal measure. What a way to break out onto the literary scene!

Am currently reading Dolly Alderton’s Good Material. I love Dolly’s writing and this novel is no exception, but Andy (the lead character) is very annoying. I know that’s kind of the point, but still. A good reminder of why I generally don’t socialise with straight men, ha! I’d much rather get Jen’s perspective.
I don’t know why but I’ve always been irrationally uninterested in Dolly Alderton’s work, but I am considering listening to the audio book for Good Material. The preview is really well narrated (which may help make him seem less annoying ddd) and the book also features Vanessa Kirby(!!).

I did like In Memoriam and gave it 4 stars, but on reflection I don’t know that the writing was that great. She laid bare the horrors of the First World War which gave it a lot of emotional impact, but it definitely read like a first novel. I also found the amount (and acceptability) of gay people a bit unrealistic. But looking forward to seeing what she does next!
 
I stayed up late and finished my first book of the year, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

I do not currently have the words to express how great this book is, but I feel solid in saying Boris might be my favourite literary character ever! I was anxious about the page count (it’s 800 pages long) but it actually never felt too long, and the last 200 pages feel like the perfect culmination of all the threads that came before. Well worth the investment.
 
he/him/basic cishomo
I stayed up late and finished my first book of the year, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

I do not currently have the words to express how great this book is, but I feel solid in saying Boris might be my favourite literary character ever! I was anxious about the page count (it’s 800 pages long) but it actually never felt too long, and the last 200 pages feel like the perfect culmination of all the threads that came before. Well worth the investment.
This is one of those books I wish I could wipe from my memory and do again. So glad you liked it. This place helps me find the good ones.
 

Sam

he/they
I wanna read more this year. I think I read 2 or 3 books in 2023 nn

Started off the year with Play As It Lays by Joan Didion. Short and sweet but a difficult read at times, and quite devastating by the end.

I’ve got Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation to read on holiday this week, I’ve heard it’s all vibes no plot but is also quite funny so I’m looking forward to it.
 
she/her
Yeah I want to read more this year too, last year I didn’t even manage a book per month. The only time I’ve achieved that in recent years was during the pandemic.

If anyone has any good tips on how to get through lots of books and how to prioritise reading I’d love to hear them, I get so distracted by my phone, streaming shows etc.
 
Yeah I want to read more this year too, last year I didn’t even manage a book per month. The only time I’ve achieved that in recent years was during the pandemic.

If anyone has any good tips on how to get through lots of books and how to prioritise reading I’d love to hear them, I get so distracted by my phone, streaming shows etc.
I read a book and do an audiobook as well. Great for the train. D
 
Yeah I want to read more this year too, last year I didn’t even manage a book per month. The only time I’ve achieved that in recent years was during the pandemic.

If anyone has any good tips on how to get through lots of books and how to prioritise reading I’d love to hear them, I get so distracted by my phone, streaming shows etc.
My reading has gone kind of nuts this year… I read over 80 books, which is more than I’ve ever read in a single year before. Although I think most of that is attributable to reading along with a few book prizes and running a YouTube channel (the pressure of that is real). I actually think I want to read a bit less this year, and focus on finding stuff I love more than number of books read.

But my tips would be:

- Read before bed.
- Leave your phone in another room if you can when reading, and don’t keep it right by your bedside.
- Take a book and just go sit in a coffee shop! I get some of my best reading done in coffee shops. The background noise is nice and there are fewer screens around to distract you.
- Have multiple books on the go so that you’ve always got something to turn to: my brain can kinda keep track of one fiction, one non-fiction and one audiobook at the same time (but that’s the absolute limit for me - will be different for everyone).
- Audiobooks in general - they are a great way to read more and you get 15 hours per month included with Spotify Premium now. It definitely takes practice to get into building up comprehension though, and I’d recommend building up the speed a little bit over time. I have found 1x loses my attention because it’s so much slower than physical reading; I listen at between 1.2x and 1.5x depending on the narrator.
- I don’t really give up on books, but I know a lot of people are big believers in DNFing if you’re not enjoying it. If a book is making you not want to come back to it, just move on.
- Most importantly: read shit you enjoy. Don’t feel like you have to read whatever is popular or what other people say is good. Life’s too short.

Don’t feel pressure that you have to read lots though. Despite what people like to make you think, reading is not an inherently virtuous past-time and there’s no prize for reading more. Do it because you enjoy it and find the sweet spot for you: if that’s one book per week, great, and if it’s one book per month, also great.
 

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