Book Stuff

Finishing #PaperVsPixels

papervspixels-graphic-pixelsAs today is 1st May, the #PaperVsPixels challenge has come to an end. In my post at the beginning of the month I talked a bit about how my heavy, deadline-filled final uni workload was zapping my time and brain space for both reading and blogging, April was probably the most intensive study month I’ve had throughout the whole degree.

I did manage to read 6 and a bit books, I finished the rest of that bit today but obviously can’t count it fully. That total does actually mean April is, so far this year, the month in which I read the most books. Was this down to the fact I solely read eBooks? I’m not sure.

Taking part in the challenge definitely meant I was more focused on getting my book count up, knowing this end of month check in post needed to happen was a big motivating factor for me. The Easter weekend also had an impact on my reading – I managed to organise my time so I didn’t study at all on the Saturday or Sunday, and read a book on each day. I was mindful of the length of books I read – my total includes one novella and one middle grade book, I deliberately avoided books like The Luminaries and The Goldfinch!

Did I learn anything from the challenge? Well not in terms of my preferences for reading format. I’ve blogged before about my feelings about my eReader, both when I first got it and a year on. It’s been a few more years of reading both physical books and eBooks and I still read lots on both formats. I still think there are advantages and disadvantages to both, and I’m aware the my personal perspective is influenced by my reliance on my eReader to counteract the problems I have with heavier books as a result of my Hypermobility Syndrome.

One thing I definitely did learn is that I want what I can’t have. No sooner had the month started then books on my to be read bookcase started calling to me. Books I’ve had waiting for my attention for years suddenly became incredibly appealing, but I stayed strong – even when a couple of really exciting books came in the post I was very good and put them to one side. The challenge for me was definitely in being restricted to one format, I’m very glad to be going back to free choice!

Book Stuff

Starting #PaperVsPixels

I haven’t been reading very much recently. The current uni workload I have is zapping a lot of my time and energy – even when I’m not sat at my desk studying I’m thinking about it. This doesn’t make for particularly good reading conditions (or blogging conditions as you may have noticed from the lack of recent posts). When I saw Hot Key Books launch Laure Eve’s #PaperVsPixels challenge for April I thought I’d get involved in the hope of getting back into the reading flow a little more.

The challenge is simple. Inspired by Laure’s book Fearsome Dreamer, which features two technologically opposing cultures, you’re being asked to choose just one reading format for April. In Laure’s own words:

The challenge: read in only one format for the whole month of April. If you’re a digital type, read physical. If you’ve never tried audio – try nothing but audio. For one month. Record your experiences on #papervspixels and share them with us on tumblr, twitter, YouTube or your blog – and let me know how you’re doing @LaureEve too!

I love both physical and eBooks, I think both have very valid places in my reading life. I looked at my 2014 reads spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet and it is a thing of beauty) and worked out that I’d read far more physical books than eBooks, if it hadn’t been for a pair of long train journeys I’d have read even fewer. So for April I’m picking Pixels.

papervspixels-graphic-pixels

I have a good couple of hundred books waiting for me to read them, over half are eBooks. I’m really looking forward to spending some quality time with some of the books I’ve downloaded and proceeded to ignore. I have no idea how many books I’ll manage to read, the last three months have seen me only read 3 – 5 books, hopefully I’ll manage to increase this count a little.

Book Review · Reading Challenges

Book Review : Past Caring by Robert Goddard.

1910: Distinguished MP Edwin Strafford resigns at the pinnacle of his career, removing himself from the public eye. The woman he loves, and for whom he was willing to sacrifice everything, suddenly and coldly rejects him. All the reasons for his fall from grace are shrouded in darkness.

Seventy years later, historian Martin Radford is down on his luck when a mysterious benefactor offers him the opportunity of a lifetime: to uncover what exactly happened to Edwin Strafford. But this apparent good fortune swiftly turns into a nightmare. Radford’s investigations trigger a violent series of events, which throw him straight into the path of those who believed they had escaped punishment for crimes long past but never paid for…

This is the second book I’ve read for the Great Transworld Crime Caper. As soon as I read the synopsis of the book I thought it sounded like my sort of book, within a few pages I knew I’d made a good choice.

The plot is split between the present (though that’s in the 1980s, back when the book was written) and the past, as historian Martin Radford tries to investigate what happened to Edwin Strafford back in the 1910s. Edwin’s story is told through his memoir, both plots are gripping and once they started to overlap I found it increasingly hard to put the book down.

I didn’t find the characters in the book particularly easy to like, the majority of them are working to their own personal agenda and seem to have little trouble with doing whatever it takes to get to their goal. Many of the characters are however interesting, I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth, Edwin’s fiancée.

Edwin’s memoir covers his time as a politician and his experiences of the women’s suffrage movement. I found this to be very interesting reading, though as it’s a time of history I don’t know much about I couldn’t comment on it’s historical accuracy.

The book is very readable, and the jumps between the present set narration and the past account provided by the memoir were very smooth. I have previously read books that use diaries and memoirs for flashbacks that have failed in what they were trying to do – Goddard pulls it off very well. I’ll certainly be recommending this book in the future.

Past Caring is published in paperback by Corgi in the UK priced £7.99. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.