Reading || April Reads & The Unread Shelf Project

Ok the book buying ban has, yet again, proven unsuccessful, so NEW PLAN: Read really fast to outpace the growth of my TBR…

IT TOTALLY WORKS! 16 books in April, the most I’ve ever read in a month 😀

I really noticed the difference this month for two reasons. Firstly, I read quickly when I’m enjoying what I’m reading (shocker) and I spent a lot of this month rereading old favourites such as The Guardians of Time Trilogy and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Secondly, reading more is a choice – you just have to make time for it. This may not work for everyone, but I participated in the #25InFive readathon, which forced me to spend more time choosing to read rather than just sitting in front of the TV.

Now. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This is one of my favourite books, so of course I had to see the film and reread the book in advance. It was even better than I remembered, such a lovely and relaxing read.

The film on the other hand…

the-guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-society-new-film-poster

COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.

I walked out. Yup. Couldn’t even bear to finish it. Admittedly, because I have a Cineworld Unlimited card, this was less of a big deal than if I’d actually paid for the ticket, but I still meant it!

I realise this may seem melodramatic, so let me explain. If you haven’t read the book and don’t want to hear anything about it, scroll down to the next section.

The casting was spot on. Well, I’m not wild about Lily James, but the rest was definitely spot on. Unsurprisingly, their acting was also spot on – there’s some amazing actors in there, like Penelope Wilton. Matthew Goode absolutely nailed Sidney Stark. Katherine Parkinson was the perfect Isola Pribby. I even nearly cried at a couple of points, they certainly conveyed the emotion of Nazi occupation. Hey, if you haven’t read the book, you may well think it was a great film – if I hadn’t read it I think I would have liked it!

But, I did read the book, and the things they changed were cardinal sins!

Of course when you make a book into a film, changes have to be made, I’m not that much of a purist. Secondary characters might need to go, the story will invariably need to be shortened and so certain elements might need to be changed. The important thing, in my opinion, is to be faithful to the spirit of the novel and of the main characters – and that is where they deviated unforgivably.

In the novel, Juliet receives her first letter from Dawsey that kicks off a correspondence with many members of the Society. So many letters are exchanged that beautiful friendships are formed, and by the time Juliet goes over to Guernsey, she is a much loved friend who is welcomed with open arms.

In the film, Juliet gets one or two letters from Dawsey, and decides to go to Guernsey immediately. She rocks up to a Society meeting and it’s not only awkward, some of the members are downright frosty. She’s totally tactless, self-absorbed and wrapped up in the article that she wants to write (that she doesn’t tell them about until she’s already intruded upon their meeting). She then proceeds to push herself into all of their lives to get the story on Elizabeth McKenna, including nosing around Dawsey’s relationship with Kit in a way that felt incredibly rude. It removed what made the novel so lovely – the warm and open hearts of the islanders, who freely welcome Juliet into their lives rather than being forced into it by her unwelcome arrival.

The second problem I had was Juliet’s relationship with Markham Reynolds. In the book, Markham is the stereotypical pushy American, trying to move their relationship on at a pace that Juliet isn’t happy with. When he proposes, she doesn’t answer, deep down she knows she doesn’t want to marry him because he will ultimately see her as nothing more than a trophy, but she finds it hard to definitively say it. She goes off to Guernsey, falls in love with the island and its inhabitants, and finally refuses Markham after he comes to Guernsey uninvited to try and force her to come home. Juliet is an independent woman, struggling against the convention that a woman must marry, and that a man with Markham’s dazzling charm is not a man one refuses. From my perspective, Juliet is blameless – Markham was hard to refuse, but she never accepted his proposal or told him to wait for her; while he refused to acknowledge why her trip to Guernsey was so important to her.

In the film, Markham proposes before Juliet gets on the boat to Guernsey…and she ACCEPTS! A ring goes on her finger, and she arrives an engaged woman. An engaged woman who quickly takes off the ring, keeps it in her purse, and fails to mention it to any of the islanders for the majority of the film. She has Markham using his military connections to find out more about Elizabeth McKenna, while promising him she’ll be home in a day or two and then just neglects to tell him she’s still on the island until she just hasn’t come home! Now. As I walked out, I don’t know how it was resolved. One of the last scenes I saw was Juliet showing Isola the ring, so the truth obviously does come out and the poster and the trailer would imply that she does in fact fall in love with Dawsey as she does in the book. However, for me, it fundamentally changed Juliet’s character. She was not perfect, but she certainly didn’t accept a proposal from a man and lead him on whilst falling in love with someone else.

As I said, the spirit of the novel was lost, and that is a CRIME.

The Unread Shelf Project

As you may have gathered, I did make a few purchases in April, but I’m happy to report I’m still headed in the right direction…

Pre-2018 TBR: 345

Pre-April TBR: 342

TBR Books Read: 11

TBR Books Given Away: 2

Books Added to TBR: 6

Current TBR: 335

Boom.

Other goals:

As we’re a third of the way through the year, it’s time to evaluate my goals.

90 Books in 2018: Ahead. In fact, I’m already over half way to this goal, so definitely time to up it to 100.

15% Long Books: Behind at 10.2%. 15% is proving to be a challenge, but I’m still willing to try and hit it.

25% Non-White Authors: Ahead at 28.6% – happy with that!

35% International Authors: Behind. Confession time. When I put these goals together, I looked at what I achieved in 2017 and then set them a bit higher. Turns out I can’t read a spreadsheet. I didn’t actually read 29.8% international authors last year (I THOUGHT it seemed high), I actually read 16.7%. No wonder I’m having such trouble. I think I’m going to be honest with myself and accept that I’m not going to more than double last year’s performance, so I’m going to bring that goal right down to 20%. As it happens, thanks to re-reading Australian author Marianne Curley’s Guardians of Time trilogy, I’m currently ahead on 22.4% 😀

April Books

My Favourites of the Month:

Beartown

Rating: 5 stars | Review: Goodreads | Purchase: Wordery

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Rating: 5 stars | Review: Martha Is | Purchase: Wordery | Read if you liked: The Good Immigrant

I liked:

Rating: 5/4 stars | Purchase: AmazonRead if you like: Paranormal YA / time travel / cheesy (but totally absorbing) romance

Rating: 5 stars | Review: Goodreads | Purchase: WorderyRead if you like: Wartime fiction

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Rating: 5 stars | Review: Goodreads | Purchase: Wordery | Read if you liked: Brit(ish)

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Rating: 4 stars | Purchase: Wordery | Read if you liked: The Good Immigrant

Rating: 4 stars | Purchase: Wordery | Read if you liked: Red Queen

Rating: 4 stars | Purchase: Wordery

I had mixed feelings about:

Rating: 3 stars | Purchase: Wordery

Clean

Rating: 3 stars | Review: Goodreads | Purchase: WorderyRead if you liked: Nina is Not OK

I didn’t like:

Rating: 2 stars | Review: GoodreadsPurchase: WorderyRead if you liked: My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry

The Penelopiad

Rating: 2 stars | Review: Goodreads | PurchaseWordery

Happiness

Rating: 2 stars | Review: GoodreadsPurchase: Wordery

The Pursuit of Ordinary

Rating: 1 star | Review: GoodreadsPurchase: Wordery

What’s on in May?

I’m currently reading an ARC of The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin. So far it feels a bit like Reasons to Stay Alive, but I’m not relating to it anywhere near as much. Then it’s time for a buddy read with my pal @allweatherreader of I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and at some point this month I am definitely reading The Shadow – the next book in the Guardians of Time series, I cannot wait to see where it goes next!

Over to you my friends, how was your April?

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