This is a bit late this week – Monday was a public holiday in the UK and I’d had a lot of socialising over the weekend, celebrating a friend’s 30th on Saturday and then having a round of Dungeon World on Sunday (highly recommended!) As such, yesterday I was utterly knackered, and I spent most of the day snoozing peacefully and not writing this post like I was supposed to! I haven’t done as much reading this week as I would’ve liked but here’s what I have been reading below
An Anthropologist on Mars – Oliver Sacks
This was a really interesting look into a variety of neurological conditions that cause people to interpret the world differently from the majority of people. I’d read another of Sacks’ books (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) which was in a similar vein. This one was not quite as good as that – I found it a bit more dry in tone than the other one and as such found my attention wavering. I’ll keep reading his stuff as these subjects are of particular interest to me, but if you’re only going to read one, read The Man… instead.
Verdict: recommended with caution.
Normal People – Sally Rooney
I have literally no idea how I felt about this. It was an easy read and fairly compelling, especially in the opening chapters. I also found it somewhat hollow. For a book that’s been lauded as dealing with the dynamics between working class and wealthy people in Ireland, its treatment of the class politics was fairly shallow and in particular Marianne never seems to really engage with the class situation at all. I found her deeply relatable in the first section of the book but for the rest of it I honestly felt she was pretty insipid and I was much more interested in Connell and his relationship to his mental health, class, and education.
More Marple this week! I’m getting into the back end of the series now and they’re not quite as enjoyable as some of the early ones. A Caribbean Mystery in particular has some utterly ridiculous racism, which I suppose was not unexpected, which is a pity because the plot was quite enjoyable. At Bertram’s Hotel is a bit convoluted, with way more moving parts than a typical Miss Marple, but I enjoyed it all the same and I liked the setting of the hotel, with the sense of falseness that direct Miss Marple’s thoughts to the mystery’s solution.