Thoughtful Thursday – Seasonal Reading Patterns

Generally, I’m very much a mood reader but I will also be mindful of ARC publication dates at the same time. I try to read two, quite different books, at the same time but I always go by what I feel like reading otherwise it could end up feeling like a chore. Although, traditionally, summer is the time for ‘beach reads’, I’ve found that I’ve never quite done that myself. Instead, I find that October, or Autumn in general, is the time of year that I do more seasonal reading. 

Autumn is my favourite season, I love that it is getting colder, that there’s more rain and that the days are getting shorter. To me, there’s nothing better than a cool, rainy day and being wrapped up in a giant fluffy blanket with a book and a hot drink. At the beginning of Autumn, in October, I will lean more towards the Gothic reads, or those which are darker or more haunting than my typical reads. Whilst, as I mentioned in my Top Five Friday post this month, I don’t like Halloween I still find myself drawn to more spooky novels, but not necessarily traditional horror novels, as the days grow darker and colder. 

There’s just something about getting cosy with a novel that has the ability to unsettle you, or allows you insight into the darker side of the human mind and imagination, that I adore. Maybe it’s because you can’t escape the Halloween atmosphere in October regardless of whether you like it or not. Maybe it’s because there’s a sense of security of being inside and wrapped up in a huge blanket that makes you feel safe in exploring something darker. Or, maybe, it’s just because so many great dark or spooky reads come out around this time of year. 

As we move through Autumn and onto the cusp of Winter, I find myself reaching for more fantasy novels, YA or otherwise. Unlike Halloween, I love Christmas (although, I may not love Christmas music being on 24/7). It just feels like a more magical time of year with all of the lights and it’s for this reason that I love reading fantasy novels during this season. I loved fantasy growing up and wanting to be in a world with dragons and unicorns, and potentially have one as a pet (because who wouldn’t want dragons at their beck and call?). This love of fantasy changed as I got older, which will need to be the subject or a whole other post entirely, but that love of being in a different world has stayed. 

Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t read dark reads or fantasy novels at other times of the year. Nor does it mean I only exclusively read these genres at this time of year but I find myself more in the mood for these kinds of reads as this time of year. Whereas in the Spring and Summer, I don’t feel inclined to read a particular genre…

What does Autumn get you in the mood to read? Do you think you’re a seasonal reader? Let me know in the comments! 

Book Haul – July 2020

My July 2020 book haul!

Every month since April, I decided to treat myself to a selection of books as I’m getting through my TBR pile relatively quickly this year! So, I don’t feel quite as guilty adding to my bookshelf. After reading Circe by Madeline Miller, you will see there is a bit of a theme amongst some of the books…

I can’t wait to get stuck into these! Keep an eye out on my reviews in the coming weeks. Have you read any of these novels? Let me know what you thought of them!

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Publisher: Apollo
Publication Date: 13/03/2020 (reissue)
Length: 552 pages
Genre: Historical fiction | Asian Literature

CW: suicide

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant — and that her lover is married — she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

GoodReads

Review

This year, as you will soon see from the coming reviews that I post, I have been on a kick of reading Japanese and Korean fiction. So, naturally, this book seemed like a perfect one to get stuck into and get stuck into it I did!

Although the novel spans four generation and covers several decades, many of which being some of the most important in the 20th Century, the novel flew by. The pacing was excellent, each change in setting or year was clearly identified at the beginning of the chapter so you were always aware of how much time had passed. The transition from year to year and character to character flowed so naturally. When the protagonists shifted from Sunja, to her sons, to her grandson, I was barely aware of it because it was done seamlessly. It felt right to have the shifts happen when they did as you have built a relationship with the characters from their lives as told by the previous protagonists.

This was also achieved through how Lee depicted each of the characters. You could tell that not only is she a talented writer but she really understands the people that she was portraying. There were several times where the characters just felt like real people and I became so invested in their lives because of this. Sunja is so admirable, I certainly wouldn’t have been as strong as her. I would have immediately caved and lived as Hansu’s kept woman. I was also fascinated by her sons Noa and Mozasu, seeing how they can be raised in the same situations but turn out so different (or so it seems at first).

Whilst this is a work of fiction, it isn’t difficult to believe that there were many Korean families that experienced hardships like this in Japan. Who most likely still face some similar hardships now. Min Jin Lee does a superb job of weaving history into the novel without it dominating the novel or the characters. You are aware of the wars going on, however they are not the sole focus and you see the events through how the family develops and reacts.

I could talk about this book for hours, as it’s one of my favourite novels that I read this year and potentially in general. However, I will restrain myself before this post becomes too long, and simply urge you to pick this book up for yourself!

Rating: 5 out of 5.