Lockdown LEGO Book Reviews

One thing that’s become apparent to me on social media is that lockdown has affected us all differently, especially our sleeping and reading habits.  I’ve been home for more than half a year now and I’ve only just started enjoying reading books again. In the first few months, all I wanted to do was watch Netflix and read graphic novels. I must have read hundreds of them (my poor credit card will vouch for that.) I think it was the nagging anxiety caused by the spreading virus – I didn’t want my attention drawn away for too long.

I have finally found my reading groove again, which I’m sure my new friends on Instagram were partly responsible for.

So here is a roundup of some of my lockdown reads so far.

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LEGO book review: The Wicked Deep

I’ve always wanted to write a book about the ocean. Not the blue sky and sunshine kind, but a gloomy one that evokes that timeless, haunted feel only the sea can conjure – of countless wrecks and lost souls, of buried secrets and quiet, solemn knowledge.

So naturally, when I find a book that ticks all these boxes, I’m one very happy reader.

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Karen Russell’s Orange World in LEGO

In 2007, a friend told me I should read St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, a short story anthology by American writer Karen Russell. It was the type of book that took you to Neverland, she said. So I bought a copy, and was passed the baton as Russell’s next evangelist, telling as many people as I could about the magical, dreamlike stories hidden inside that much-loved paperback. (Another friend went on to emigrate with my copy.)

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LEGO book review: The Deathless Girls

I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was in grade ten. It was a difficult novel to read, one of those books where you start reading a paragraph and end up daydreaming about something else for ten minutes. It took me a long time to finish. But it was a point of pride. I was on a mission to read all the great works of classic literature I could get my hands on (which were also incidentally free to take out from the library.) To me, Dracula was the classic that defined gothic literature. 

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LEGO book review: Becoming Dinah

This year, Hachette Children’s Group launched Bellatrix – a series of feminist retellings of classic literature for young adults. If you’re anything like me, your first reaction would be ‘Where can I get them?’

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LEGO book review: The Choice Between Us

Edyth Bulbring’s The Choice Between Us (Tafelberg, 2019) is a clever little book.  (You may remember it as one of my top YA picks for winter.)

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LEGO book review: The Wickerlight

I’ve been dying to read Mary Watson’s The Wickerlight ever since I saw the cover reveal on Twitter. The novel follows on from The Wren Hunt, which I reviewed last year. If it was anything as dreamy and atmospheric as the first book, I knew I had to read it. 

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The Outcast Hours in LEGO

This is not a review of The Outcast Hours. Well, not really.

I have a story in the collection, which makes it hard as a blogger and reviewer, because I really, really, really want to tell you all about these stories, but then I would be reviewing something I’m involved in, which would be weird.

So instead, I made LEGO stories of my favourite pieces from the anthology. No conflict of interest whatsoever.

This Book Will Find You by Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen and Sam Beckbessinger

This Book Will Find You

Ambulance Service by Sami Shah

Ambulance Service

Blind Eye by Frances Hardinge

Blind Eye

Bag Man by Lavie Tidhar

Bag Man

Gatsby by Maha Khan Phillips

Gatsby

Swipe Left by Daniel Polansky

Swipe Left

Not Just Ivy by Celeste Baker

Not Just Ivy

Above the Light by Jesse Bullington

Above the Light

Welcome to the Haunted House by Yukimi Ogawa

Welcome to the Haunted House

See? I didn’t give anything away.  Now you’re safe to go discover these stories for yourself.

I will say one thing though.

I love short stories. I love how things can go from bad to worse to the very extreme that an author’s imagination can go. And these little snapshots of what goes on during the ungodly hours do exactly that – they up the ante to the next level, going that much further than you thought was possible.

You think Matt in Daniel Polansky’s story Swipe Left is having a bad date. You have no idea how much worse it’s going to get.

Find it on Goodreads.