Welcome back to What Are You Reading Wednesday!
The idea of these is for book lovers and bloggers to share, discuss, and recommend the books they’re currently reading.
All you do is answer five questions about your current read then head over to one of the hosts (Marissa at Marissa Writes, Kendall at The Geeky Yogi and Rhianna at Tsundoku Girl Reads) to link up your post. Have fun and don’t forget to check out everyone’s posts as well!
Since last time
I finally finished Prince’s Gambit, with a slight diversion to read one of the Captive Prince short stories as well and haven’t made any progress at all on Half Wild, though again, I ventured sideways into the short stories from the same world.
And then there’s the NA romance series I started reading last week. Six books – whether you’d call them novellas or just short novels I guess is a matter of preference. Either way, I read all 6 in the space of 3 days. So my reading stats are looking pretty good, but my TBR is definitely judging me.
(It’s the Housemates series by Jay Northcote, if you’re interested – m/m romance, pretty steamy and so addictive!)
What I’m currently reading
Kings Rising is the third Captive Prince book, and Half Wild is still going from last week. I’m working my way through a poetry collection call Poem for the Day Two – though I’m not actually reading one a day as it’s a library book and I’m pretty sure they won’t let me keep it that long!
The Island Beneath the Sea is my current audiobook – all 18 hours of it. That was a mistake – I misread it for 8 hours, which is more in the region of my usual choices. I’ve listened to almost 5 hours so far, but that’s still less than 30% of the way through.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Born a slave on the island of Saint-Domingue, Zarité — known as Tété — is the daughter of an African mother she never knew and one of the white sailors who brought her into bondage. Though her childhood is one of brutality and fear, Tété finds solace in the traditional rhythms of African drums and in the voodoo loas she discovers through her fellow slaves.
When twenty-year-old Toulouse Valmorain arrives on the island in 1770, it’s with powdered wigs in his baggage and dreams of financial success in his mind. But running his father’s plantation, Saint-Lazare, is neither glamorous nor easy. It will be eight years before he brings home a bride — but marriage, too, proves more difficult than he imagined. And Valmorain remains dependent on the services of his teenaged slave.
Spanning four decades, Island Beneath the Sea is the moving story of the intertwined lives of Tété and Valmorain, and of one woman’s determination to find love amid loss, to offer humanity though her own has been battered, and to forge her own identity in the cruellest of circumstances.
1. What made you pick up this book – cover or content?
Content, though I have to admit I didn’t know much about it. I’m trying to read more books from diverse backgrounds and settings, and this author kept coming up on recommended lists so I wanted to give one of her books a try.
2. Who is your favourite character so far, and why?
None of them have really grabbed me. Tété is fierce and determined and clever, but the chapters from her viewpoint are scattered and fleeting, and sometimes confusing because of the way time passes during the ‘narrator’ chapters in between. Toulouse Valmorain isn’t exactly likeable but he’s interesting to read about, the mass of contradictions that makes up his personality coming slowly unravelled. I do like one of the minor characters, Tante Rose, a disabled voudou woman who seems a lot smarter than most of the characters and has worked her way into a position of some respect and influence. I’m convinced she has more going on that we’re yet to discover.
3. Will you finish this one?
If this was a hard copy, I might not. The pace is dragging, I’m not sure what the point of the story is and a large part of the book has an omniscient narrator that puts too much distance between me and the characters. But I rarely DNF audiobooks, I just get through them much more slowly.
4. Finish this sentence: This book reminds me of…
Gone With the Wind, not in the sweeping romantic sense, but because it deals with momentous historical events through their impact on a few particular characters. Also The Wide Sargasso Sea, which is the only other book I’ve read in a similar setting, and captured the same contrast of the decadence and harshness of the tropical colonies.
5. What type of read is this one?
Slow, dense, beautifully written with a lot attention lavished on details, but hard to engage with so far.
What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these or are you considering it? Let me know in the comments!