What I read on my Jury Service (because no, I didn't get a case and yes, I'm gutted)




So before Christmas I got a letter summoning me to do my civic duty and attend Liverpool Crown Court in January for Jury Service. I was excited and apprehensive, but I needn't have been either because I basically sat in the 'pool' of jurors, waiting to be picked, for seven working days, until today they were like, yeah, there are no more trials this week, your Jury Service is over. Yay. (That's sarcasm. Disappointed would be an understatement.) But hey, there are worse things you can do than sit with a book for hours on end and get paid for it (although I probably spent a fair bit of anything I made in Liverpool One on my lunch breaks... January sales are a dangerous thing) and at least I made inroads into my TBR list. Anyway, here's what I've been reading as sponsored by the British taxpayers - thanks guys ;)



Alias Grace



I was about half-way through Margaret Atwood's fictionalised take on the story of Grace Marks (a notorious convicted murderess in late 19th Century Canada) when I started my Jury duty. I'd already seen the Netflix series, which in fact sticks incredibly close to the book, so occasionally I got bored reading what I'd so recently watched. And it was a bit overlong. However, overall it's very good. Not quite as good as The Handmaid's Tale, but the perspectives of the characters feel so real, and like with Handmaid's Tale you really feel like you're in Grace's head. There's something powerfully feminist in the way Atwood deals with Grace's experiences, and I love how she writes men. She manages to make you like the Doctor while acknowledging that he's also kind of a pig.  Same with McDermott - he's so horrid but he doesn't feel like a caricature of a 'nasty man'. He feels real, and I love the way he and Grace bicker. The girls aren't saints either - again they're  flawed and human yet you feel for them.


Mortal Engines



I read Phillip Reeve's dystopian adventure novel as a teenager and I couldn't remember much of it, except that it was good (although I never read the sequels - why?) Anyway I went to see the new Star Wars recently and all of a sudden I found myself watching the trailer. I had no idea the film was so close to coming out! And it looks awesome. Reading it again I found it much darker than I remembered and sadder, but just as gripping. At work we shelve it as children's fiction - but I'd say it was more young adult. I don't quite know why, it's just dark, kind of like the later Hunger Games books. Very quick read though. I will read the sequels this time!


A Convenient Marriage



My mum has been trying to get me to read Georgette Heyer for as long as I can remember, and more recently, so have my sisters. So when I needed a book last week and Rosie flung  A Convenient Marriage at me, I thought I better take it. And I finished it in a day. Maybe they were right. It was like Jane Austen on drugs and there was a weird ramble-y bit near the end where the heroine's brother and his friends were running round imitating highwaymen (which was actually really funny, it just went on too long). Still it was very enjoyable and I loved Lord Rule.


The Princess Bride




I'm sorry Princess Bride fans, but I will never understand why everyone buzzes off it so much. I saw it for the first time this year and I thought it was...okay. The film actually sticks very close to the book and I did laugh at both. But I think it works better as a film. I think mainly because the author notes throughout drove me mad. And skip the prologue. SKIP THE PROLOGUE. I also found it vaguely sexist and racist (although again, that was mainly the prologue). But it wasn't awful - it was funny and I loved Inigo. I just can't love The Princess Bride. And I wish the princess herself was less useless.


Sylvester



Another Georgette Heyer - am I hooked already? I'm not sure. This one hasn't pulled me in as quick as Convenient Marriage did, but it's looking promising. Would recommend Georgette Heyer for anyone who's run out of Jane Austens to read, or who ever wished Jane Austen's books had more drunken japes and elopements. They're well written too. Ooh, and Richard Armitage reads the audio books...



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