Ah, Christmas! I love you and I miss you already. I should probably feel a teensy bit guilty about the fact that I drifted off round about the 18th, abandoning a couple of events that I was taking part in, but I had such a lovely time that I don't. I hope you all had a super time and are enjoying the lull before the excitement of 2014 hits us.
The End of the Year Read-a-thon
I don't feel as though the actual reading part of this particular read-a-thon was very successful. I did read three and a half books and a not-too-insignificant 1,107 pages but I'm pretty sure that I would have read that with or without the read-a-thon going on so it isn't exactly glowing with the sparkle of achievement. I will sound a bit like a grump now but one of the things I think I learned while taking part was that the two weeks in the run up to Christmas is not the time to try to squeeze much more extra reading time in amongst the wrapping, merry-making and eating. Part of me also thinks that a fortnight is too long to add anything more than regular reading to a hectic schedule but that's neither here nor there.
I managed to read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (more on that below...), Cracked by Eliza Crewe and The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo. A solid fortnight's reading, definitely.
A Tale of Two Cities Read-along
I feel an entirely undue sense of achievement for actually having read a Dickens novel in 2013. It wasn't exactly an easy read: Book 1 was rambling tedium; Book 2 was obscurity followed by barbarism; Book 3 was fabulous.
Book 3 was what I wanted the whole book to be like and it is appallingly remiss of me that I'm probably only going to write a couple of paragraphs about A Tale of Two Cities before I wander off to watch another slightly bad film while eating Quality Street.
Sydney Carton was the obvious victory of Book 3 and the final few chapters were amazing. I unwisely read them on a train to a meeting but managed a few dignified tears that didn't destroy my make-up but did probably make me look a little bonkers. One day I'll learn not to read the endings of books in public but probably not one day soon.
I'll review this properly one day soon but I am finding it extraordinarily difficult to rate it. I took a couple of breaks and didn't exactly storm through but the last third was amazing. The final book was an easy 4/5 stars and the first would score a 2, probably. I'd read more Dickens in the future almost definitely but only when I'm feeling patient and when I'm not participating in an event that's tracking my page count...not a resounding success I'll grant you (or a particularly eloquent account of the whole experience) but I am glad I read it.