Reading roundup 24/11/21

Well, my reading experience last week was rather, what shall I say, muddled! I started a couple of books, read a few chapters, then decided that they were not worth continuing. In the end, it took a while before I settled on two books, which I will write about in today’s post.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

My first book of the week was Normal People by Sally Rooney. This is the blurb:

”Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team and an excellent student, and he is never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is quite well off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.

Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends, while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in the language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately jump up to share with your friends.”

It was interesting to read the responses from both friends and strangers on Goodreads. The book has had very mixed reviews. Here is mine:

Normal PeopleNormal People by Sally Rooney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, what can I say about this book? I have read through a lot of the responses on here and they are quite polarised. In the end, I fall onto the negative side. I persevered with the book, although at several points I nearly stopped reading it. But I felt that I simply had to reach the end. Perhaps something amazing was about to happen, I thought. But, nothing amazing ever happened, the storyline just kept trundling along. The characters were rather tedious and unlikeable too.

All in all, I wish I hadn’t bothered.

View all my reviews

After this I simply had to turn to something that would be more reliable!

Sword of Kings
by Bernard Cornwell

I was planning to save this book for another week or two, but I had to read something that I could really enjoy: Bernard Cornwell’s Sword of Kings, #12 in The Last Kingdom series. First we have the blurb:

An oath of loyalty.
Two warring kings.
A destiny he didn’t choose…

England is in turmoil as Vikings and Saxons battle for territory. Rumours build about the fatal sickness of the King, and the country awaits an heir.

A violent clash at sea forces the warrior lord Uhtred to lead his men from his Northumbrian fortress to London and plunge into the eye of the storm. For two kings claim the empty throne, and a new kingdom cannot be born without bloodshed.

Uhtred’s sword will leave one king dead and the other victorious. But sometimes it is hard to know the will of the gods…”

And this is my review on Goodreads:

Sword of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #12)Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another absorbing and fast-paced read in this fabulous series! The writing is so good that I lose myself in the story and hardly manage to come up for air or food until I have finished.

I enjoyed the book, despite noticing a few flaws. The storyline was not as good as usual, especially in the first half, with Uhtred and his companions travelling back and forth all over land, sea and river to no positive purpose. It also amazes me how Uhtred manages to fight so well against much younger men, despite being in his sixties and carrying injuries. Surely he would have slowed down considerably by now? (Of course, I am secretly pleased that he hasn’t!) He still makes the same impetuous mistakes that he made as a young man.

But, all in all this is such a great series and I am sad that there is only one more book!

View all my reviews

After this, I am really not sure what I am going to read next. I think I will leave the final Last Kingdom book for a while, so I will probably have a browse on the Library’s ebook site.

So, until next week’s Reading Roundup post: Happy Reading to you all!

Love and best wishes,



About The Librain

Retired School Librarian
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