WWW Wednesday: Wrens, Rabbits and Rebellion
It's been ages since I've done a WWW Wednesday post but here I am again. The link-up is hosted at Taking on a World of Words - to join in just answer the three W's (what you're currently reading, what you've been reading recently, what you'll read next) and stick your link in the comments over there. I've been reading some great stuff lately and basically want to gush about Watership Down.
What I'm currently reading:
by Candice Carty-Williams
"Maybe if al ah we had learned to talk about our troubles, we wouldn't carry so much on our shoulders, all the way to the grave." He turned to walk out, his stick hitting the floor with purpose. "Maybe we haffi learn from this new generation."
Am I currently still reading this? I don't know. I love the writing, but kind of wish I'd bought a paperback copy instead of listening to the audio-book because the sex scenes are painful. Not badly written, just... I can't. Also for all the text-y bits the narrator has to read out the character names before each person speaks which takes you out of the story a bit. I'm still not very far in, but basically Queenie is the story of a Black British girl who is going through some stuff. It's been compared to Bridget Jones (no) but reminds me more of Fleabag. I like Queenie a lot, but she is a mess, and it's hard to listen to. I'm not very far in, but so far I wish we had more of her family (especially her aunty and her nan) and less of her friends, because I haven't really warmed to any of them yet?
by Angie Thomas
"Keep pushing Mav," Rico says; "tough situations don't last. Tough people do."
I started this ages ago and got distracted by other things, so I might try and finish it before I start a new book. I loved The Hate U Give, and so when I heard there was going to be a prequel about Maverick - the dad, and one of my favourites - I thought I better buy it. It's set in the nineties, and he's a teenager raising Starr's older brother. I'm enjoying it, but I feel like it could get a bit samey? He's looking after a baby, how interesting is that going to be after a while? (Also, I feel like I read a book like this years ago, with a teenage single dad? It was set in England though -what was that? Going to drive me mad.) Anyway, I hope we get more Lisa and less baby as it goes on, I love their dynamic.
What I recently finished:
Requiem for a Wren
by Nevil Shute
"Even into this quiet place the war had reached like the tentacle of an octopus and had touched this girl and brought about her death. Like some infernal monster, still venomous in death, a war can go on killing people a long time after it's over."
I loved A Town Like Alice and enjoyed Pastoral (a lesser known book, and slow, but sweet) but I've been putting off this one as I could tell from the blurb it was going to be very sad. It begins with a man returning to his family home in Australia a few years after WW2, but his welcome is upset by his parents' parlour-maid, who committed suicide the day before. Like A Town Like Alice, the framing is of an older guy, relating the central story of a young woman and it's a weird device. But Shute's female characters are always wonderful. He definitely has a type, but as that type is no-nonsense, capable, brave, clever, hardy and good-fun, I don't mind! The story is desperately sad, no happy endings here, and the writing is old fashioned and there are lots of acronyms about ship engines and things. But the characters are vivid and the story tackles war-guilt, mental health and the war generation in what I thought seemed a real and poignant way.
by Richard Adams
"Animals don't behave like men," he said. "If they have to fight they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality."
How have I never read this before? I watched the TV series a couple of years ago and had seen bits of the old film as a kid (terrifying) but I finally got to the real thing. So good. I listened to the audio-book read by Peter Capaldi and would definitely recommend, I love how he did the voices! (And shout out to the random Scouse rabbit that had a couple of lines near the end - always have to be bent coppers though, don't we?)
The story follows a group of rabbits who leave their warren because Fiver - a psychic rabbit - has a vision that something bad is going to happen. The rest of the book is their adventures and their quest to find safety and make a new home. It sounds bizarre but it's exciting, fast-paced and full of great characters - some based on officers that the author knew during the war. I loved Bigwig and Hazel and Bluebell and Hyzenthlay- Fiver was annoying, but seriously, why don't they just take his advice as gospel? Learn from your mistakes!!! There were so many stand out scenes and I loved all the rabbit mythology. I wouldn't say it was a kid's book, some bits I found properly chilling, and all the stuff about the does was a bit awkward ("rabbits aren't romantic" they just think of the does in terms of breeding mothers) but I did like how the rabbits weren't entirely anthropomorphised. I love a group survival story, and I loved the depiction of Hazel as a leader. He wasn't always on it, he wasn't the best at anything but he utilised the skills of the others properly and led them well. Can you tell I was invested?
What I'm planning to read next:
by Tamora Pierce
"She would have kissed him - if she kissed stupid men."
I'm still working my way through Tamora Pierce's Tortall canon and enjoying them so much! Her heroines are gold standard for strong girls in fantasy, and they're all so different. Kel and Alanna are still my favourites, but I liked Daine a lot too. Wannabe spymaster Aly is the hero of the Trickster's duet, and while I like her (and it's cute how she's such a daddy's girl) she's just a bit of a know-it-all, isn't she? I do like her rapport with Kyprioth though, and the 'Crowmance' is hilarious. Nawat is adorable. And I like Dove and Sarai. If this all sounds like gobbledegook to you, basically the Trickster's duology follows Alanna the Lioness's daughter Alianne, who runs foul of slavers and ends up embroiled in a rebellion on the Copper Isles. Some of the themes sit a bit uncomfortably but book two is hopefully going to go full rebellion, so the whole 'good slave owners' thing will hopefully be left behind.
The Beka Cooper trilogy
by Tamora Pierce
"I knew well the orders to follow with our training dogs: Speak when you're spoken to. Keep out of the way. Obey all orders. Get killed on your own time."
I'm intrigued for these as they're set in an earlier period in the Tortall universe and Pierce changes up the format, using diary entries. The fans are divided on these books, but I've heard that Beka is shy so I feel like a diary is maybe the best way of getting her thoughts across? The books follow Beka Cooper (great-great something grandmother of George) who is a common-born girl training to be one of the Provosts Dogs - basically the city police. The books are supposed to be kind of police procedural mixed with the fantasy element, which sounds cool.
What have you been reading?