Happy New Year!

The BookDepository

Happy New Year! I hope that you’ve had a good start to 2013 and have had a nice few weeks with your friends and family.

Star Wars Lightsaber SFX torch

I’ve had a good Christmas and loved seeing my boys enjoy the excitement of it all. They got lots of toys, lego, books and games, but their favourite present appears to be a light saber torch that they enjoy “zapping” each other with.

I didn’t get any books for Christmas (everyone thinks I have too many already!) but I got a big fluffy dressing gown, a warm jumper, lots of chocolate and my husband bought me a Sonos Wireless Hi-Fi so that I can listen to my music (and audiobooks) in different rooms of the house.

I bought my husband a tow bar and a cycle rack so that we can now fit all four bikes onto the back of our car. We’re all looking forward to travelling further afield with our bikes.

We also got (and played) lots of board games over the holidays. I was going to tell you all about them, but ended up writing so much that I thought they deserved a post of their own. I’ll expand it and let you know all about my favourite board games next week.

I haven’t read much over the last few weeks, but I am now 300 pages into A Suitable Boy. I found it difficult to get into as there were so many different characters – it probably took about 150 pages for me to be fully engaged. But now I’m loving it all – even the political bits! I can see it becoming an all-time favourite. The only problem was the weight of the book, but I solved that by chopping it into manageable pieces – the greatest book vandalism I’ve ever been guilty of. I don’t regret it, there is no way my wrists could cope with the entire 1500 pages. Have you ever chopped a large book into pieces?

I also started Parallel Stories but abandoned it as there was no special spark to justify dedicating that much time to it. There was nothing wrong with the writing and I could see myself picking it up again at some point in the future – perhaps as a read-along?

I also abandoned Canada by Richard Ford as the characters were flat and I failed to empathise with any of them. I was expecting a deep literary tome and so was surprised by how light the tone of it all was.

On a more positive note I finished War with the Newts and A Trick I Learned from Dead Men; two wonderful books that I’ll tell you about soon.

Enjoy the rest of the week! I’ll be back soon with some book reviews.

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  1. Verity says:

    Happy New Year!

    I found, to my surprise, that a Kindle is THE BEST THING for large books, it’s the thing that most converted me to it!

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, Yes. I agree that the kindle is great for long books. Unfortunately the e-version of A Suitable Boy isn’t released until May 2013 :-(

  2. Bina says:

    Happy new year, Jackie!
    Goodness and people look at me all askance when I dare crack the spine! :D I read the hardcover version of the book and only read it at home, I just put it in my lap and turned the pages, no pain to my wrist at all.
    I really enjoyed it, too, and after a while it was easier to follow the characters though I have to admit I made a dramatis personae kind of list.
    Happy reading in 2013!

    1. Jackie says:

      Bina, I tend to read lying down (in the bath/in bed) so suffer the full force of a heavy book. I wish I liked reading in a chair – would be much easier sometimes :-)

      1. Bina says:

        Haha careful chunksters like this one might crush you! ;)

  3. Funnily enough, I consigned my copy of A Suitable Boy to the charity shop this morning. It may be a masterpiece, but I am prepared to borrow (or buy on Kindle) if I do decide to read it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, The ebook is released later this year. I agree that is probably a good way to go. I wouldn’t want to borrow a copy as it takes far too long to read. There seem to be loads of copies in the charity shop so you can always re-purchase when you’re ready to read it. I suspect lots of people will be reading it later this year when the sequel is publicised.

  4. Tricia says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t like Canada….I plan to give it a try some time in 2013!

    I am glad that you are enjoying A Suitable Boy – one of my favourites!

    1. Jackie says:

      Tricia, Canada does seem to divide opinion. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

  5. David says:

    Happy new year, Jackie. Good to hear you’re now thoroughly immersed in ‘A Suitable Boy’ – it really is wonderful. I read it in hardback which is partly why it took me so long to get through – no way was I lugging it around in my bag every day! It did used to be available as three paperback ‘volumes’ which was probably a very practical idea as well as a cunning ploy on the publisher’s behalf.

    So you didn’t rate ‘Canada’? Quite a few people seem to have had that reaction, though I still quite fancy it. I’ve not read anything by Ford though so I may start with some of his short stories which seem to be quite well-regarded.

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I suspect it will take me a long time to read A Suitable Boy, despite my small volumes. It is the sort of book that requires a lot of concentration so I don’t feel I can take it outside the house anyway.

      The only Ford I have tried is ‘The Sportswriter’ but I abandoned that too. It was a long time ago so I can’t really remember why I didn’t enjoy that book. Perhaps it was the sport? I’m not sure I’m going to try any of his other books. I suspect he and I just aren’t compatible. I hope you have better luck with him than I did.

      I look forward to comparing book notes with you in 2013.

  6. JoV says:

    You are so funny Jackie! I think in this digital age it makes sense to “chop up” the book! LOL :D

    It is interesting to see that we got engaged at different pages of the book. I look forward to your review Jackie. All the very best for A Suitable boy!

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, I wish I’d been able to read along with you, but I hope we can still compare notes. I’ll read your read-along posts as I get to them and see if your thoughts match mine at each stage. :-)

  7. Chinoiseries says:

    A very happy new year to you, Jackie :) I’ll be looking forward to your board game blog post as I’ve been wanting to get into them for ages. There’s something cosy and comforting about board games and such a lovely way to spend time with friends and family.
    Lol, I’m not sure how JoV and the other readalongers (Bina? Vishy?) coped with the weight of A Suitable Boy, but kudos to you for going the practical way! Not sure whether I’ll have the guts to chop my heavy 1Q84 to more manageable pieces though xD

    1. Jackie says:

      Chinoiseries, I’m not sure I could chop up a brand new book either. That is probably the main reason I haven’t actually bought a copy yet. Perhaps I’ll be tempted if I spot a dog-eared copy in a charity shop!

    2. JoV says:

      Jackie, I’ll be happy to compare notes and also hear what you think of some interesting characters in the book which are still deeply etched in my mind. Besides Lata I have a soft spot for Maan, useless as he is now.

      Chinoiseries, I was fortunate to read the 3-book volume of the book, I gave away the first copy of big tome I bought to a co-worker as soon as I stumbled upon the 3-book volume in a charity shop. :)

  8. Sarah says:

    Happy New Year Jackie! My 9 year old still quite likes his light sabre every now and then, but just you wait until they graduate to Nerf guns – oh my, then it is proper war! We got a Sonos last year in about October. I love the fact you can play all the iplayer programmes through it – makes life so much simpler! Looking forward to hearing about the board games. Current favourites in our house are Rummikub, Kids Articulate and Connect 4.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sarah, Some of their friends have Nerf guns – I’m trying to resist! I wish boys didn’t fight so much. :-(

      I’m also loving the fact I can listen to the radio and all iplayer programmes on the Sonos – it is such a clever piece of kit. I think we’ll end up with sonos speakers in most rooms (fingers crossed!)

      Connect 4 is my 5-year-old’s favourite game. It will always be a classic :-) I hope you find some good ideas on my post next week.

  9. Happy New Year! I was rather inspired when for the Middlemarch readalong last year several people broke up their full copies into the original Victorian serialisation-sized chunks. It seemed rather sensible as a literary rebellion. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Alex, It is great to hear I’m not alone and people are chopping up Middlemarch too!

  10. Kathleen says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful holiday with your family! I’ve never chopped up a large book but I think it is a very practical solution to the problem one has while holding a chunky book!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, Glad to hear that the book blogger community isn’t disowning me after I admitted chopping up a book! Hope you had a great holiday too!

  11. stujallen says:

    happy new year I loved suitable boy read it in a large old softback version myself but yes was huge to carry round I just read it at home when I read it ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, Happy New Year! I’m pleased to hear that you loved A Suitable Boy too. I can’t wait to see how the story develops/ends!

  12. Happy New Year Jackie! I am looking forward to your post about board games, I love them. I would like to play them more often than we do actually. Must get on to that! I don’t think I’ve ever chopped a book up but I can see exactly why you’ve done it in this case. Hope it’s a great reading year.

    1. Jackie says:

      Lindsay, I love playing board games. I wish more people enjoyed them. At least my boys are now getting to an age where they can join in. I hope you like my post next week.

  13. Anonymous says:

    When I first saw the thinner version of A Suitable Boy, I foolishly wondered –abridged copy? LOL

    Glad you had a nice Christmas with your family Jackie and hope 2013 is a good year for all of you. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m sure an abridged copy would still be too big for me to carry!

  14. Happy New Year, Jackie!

    I’m impressed that you chopped up your copy of A Suitable Boy – after all it’s only paper. I think it’s a good idea. have chopped up one book – the Rough Guide to Italy when we went one year, so I could take just the parts we we visiting.

    1. Jackie says:

      Margaret, I can see how I’d be tempted to chop up a book when luggage allowance comes into it. Good call!

  15. Happy New Year Jackie! No books but lots of comfy/yummy things to enhance your reading time – lucky you.

    A very pragmatic solution to a problem I share with heavy books. If I ever get up the courage to read A Suitable Boy it will have to be in ebook format. Same reason why I initially put off reading Shantaram. I eventually got that on my Kindle though, so I am out of excuses in that respect.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, Shantaram is much lighter than Suitable Boy, but I haven’t finished it yet either. I must get to it in 2013. Perhaps we can compare notes on it later in the year? :-)

  16. I read A Suitable Boy last year and it was my favourite read of the whole year, Seth is just so good. I think you can buy it in a three volume edition, I read the big paperback and mainly read it in bed propped on my knees to save my wrists!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sam, You can buy a 3 volume version, but it is far cheaper to pick up a copy from a charity shop and then create your own 3 volumes ;-) I love hearing so many people describe it as their book of the year. :-)

  17. Happy new year!

    Isn’t A Suitable Boy a good one for an ereader? ;-)

    1. Jackie says:

      Judith, Unfortunately the kindle version isn’t released until later in the year :-(

  18. Ellie says:

    Haha I just don’t buy paper copies of books that large! I’m not a fan of overlogn books anyway but think I would buy them on Kindle. I agree with you that it’s just too large to handle easily!

    Happy new year!

    1. Jackie says:

      Ellie, I love long books – this idea might actually persuade me to read a few more of them.:-)

  19. Jenners says:

    I was wondering what that device was — now I know! A light saber zapper! What boy wouldn’t want one!

    And I could see you being justified into chopping a giant book into pieces like that. Actually, I think that is what ereaders are for — heavy long books! I read all my chunksters on my Kindle for that exact reason.

    And I love board games. Can’t wait to hear about what you’ve been playing.

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