Tell me I’m not the only person whose least favourite months are January and February. My BFF hates November, and I kinda get it, but at the same time, November at least has the anticipation-of-Christmas (and Thanksgiving, for the American contingent) going for it. January and February are basically one extra long, extra cold, and extra dreary month. Jabruary, if you will. Jabruary is the worst.

All of this is to say that it takes a lot of extra effort to keep me out of the doldrums during the first 59 days of the year. I do what I can, in terms of self-care, but it’s honestly a struggle. Reading is one of my go-to modes of escape, but I get particularly picky when I’m in a funk. This, by the way, explains why I haven’t bothered with any new shows; I tend to just re-watch old favourites and sulk about their untimely cancellation (cough * Hannibal * cough). Anyway, I did manage to find a couple of books I enjoyed so let’s talk about that.

For fans of The Crown, I recommend Snowdon by Anne De Courcy – a biography of Tony Armstrong-Jones, Princess Margaret’s first (ex? former? what’s the correct terminology here, someone plz halp!) husband. Armstrong-Jones was an interesting character but, although clearly charismatic and dedicated to various charitable causes, was also kind of an asshole to people in his personal life. This does not necessarily make for a bad biographical subject, in my opinion, unless the biographer is a little too in love with said subject; De Courcy mostly skirts that line, and is actually very sympathetic to Princess Margaret, who was also (though not exclusively) kind of an asshole. The marriage of the princess and the commoner yielded a ton of juicy press in its day, and makes for a fun read for gossip-loving, nosy people like me. With that said, I found the book a bit slow-going in parts; good chunks of it read like “lather, rinse, repeat”, particularly the descriptions of the Snowdons’ daily lives. But, as I said above, I was probably being unreasonably picky.

On a lighter, but not unrelated note, I also read The Royal We. The authors are the bloggers behind Go Fug Yourself, a site I used to read religiously before the weird formatting drove me to distraction. The premise of the book is a fictionalized version of Prince William & Princess Kate’s story. You know the broad strokes: spunky commoner meets handsome prince at university, they fall in love, he proposes, plot twist, plot twist, plot twist, the (happy) end. It was pretty good for the genre; I’d put it in the same category as the Crazy, Rich Asians series, though I prefer the latter (especially the first book).

Of course, as I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but think about the newest iteration of this story – Megan Markle and Prince Harry. She is an American divorcee, which would have (and did) cause a scandal not all that long ago. I think I’ve aged out of the “marrying a prince” fantasy, because I can’t help thinking that, in her shoes, I might have just stuck to the acting career. Being a modern day princess seems less like a fairytale and more like a not-all-that-fun job (any job that requires a lot of polite smiling is not much fun in my books). But that’s just me. And I did tell you I was grumpy.

That’s it – tell me what you’ve been reading lately.

Next time, I’ll tell you about some of my current favourite Internet places to visit.

7 Comments on What I Read: Winter Blues Edition

  1. I enjoyed The Royal We, too, and have been thinking about it lately, wondering if they’ll do a Harry/ Megan version. Have heard about Crazy, Rich Asians for a long time but never tried. Maybe I should. Snowden sounds like a fit for me, too. Currently reading YA: The Hate U Give. Very good though may not be the right thing if you need a little lightness right now. Finally tried Bunheads (tv) and really liking (if you like Gilmoree Girls it’s perfect). Did you recap/ review the latest seasons of The Crown and Victoria? Would love to hear your take.

  2. I’ve been reading too much light stuff lately (went down the rabbit hole reading everything by Jojo Moyes and Liane Moriarty) so I decided it’s time to start interspersing the fun stuff with some things from Time’s All Time 100 Novels and downloaded A Clockwork Orange. That will be quite a change! Also, I agree with you about Megan Markle. Being a royal seems like too much work and too many rules. I would’ve stuck with the acting career as well!

  3. I feel like I’m the only person who read Crazy Rich Asians & did not like it. And it seems like a book I’d really enjoy, but I made myself finish it. Anyway, I am currently reading The Woman in the Window by A.J.Finn & loving it! I finished Little Fires Everywhere last week–loved it too!

    Another recent read was The Best Kind of People–another good read. Popular private school teacher is arrested for sexual assault of students & the book is about the experiences of his family as they deal with his being arrested, going to trial, etc.

    • I found the constant headhopping and name-dropping of Crazy Rich Asians so insanely hard to manage, but the fantasy of that money and what you could do with it made it fun enough for me to stick with it.

      I have little fires everywhere on hold at the library, I’ve seen that recommendation in a few places, so I have fingers crossed it’ll be good.

      Adina, I just finished Truly Devious, which you might like – it’s a YA, but there’s two stories, the murder that happened 80 years ago and the now where someone is trying to solve it. Though, I’d wait until the next book is close to coming out, because it ends on a very frustrating cliffhanger…

  4. I loved Bunheads too–highly recommend! I just recently read Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mewed by Alan Bradley and the Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig–both books is series I enjoy–kind of light too! And like Lindsay, I’m going to try and read some more substantial literature this year!

  5. I haaaaAAAAAAte January and February. November is my 2nd or 3rd least favorite month but January is the worst. The worst!

    I also enjoyed The Royal We and would be in favor of a Freddie sequel. Right now I’m reading Will Schwalbe’s Books For Living, because it’s been a while since I’ve read a book about books. Next up is another Terry Pratchett Discworld book (#6) because that’s one of the few fantasy novel series that grabbed me.

    • One thing I didn’t like about the Royal We was the bonus chapter at the back with Freddie’s POV on some of the previous story. It added a real soap opera-ish layer to the plot that was just … a step too far for me, lol!

      I forgot to add in my post, but I enjoyed “Frederick and Fredericka” (loosely inspired by Charles and Diana) much more. In fact, I may go back and reread that now.

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