A few years ago, when I first began to blog, part of my reason to do so was to try find something to do that reminded me of who I was whilst surviving the early zombie years of parenting two little ones. Adjusting to parenting has lots of positives and one is how you begin to really hone in on your passions. You have no time to waste anymore- bad TV shows bite the dust. You cannot afford to listen to horrible conversations that suck your energy. Bad news reports can bugger off. You cannot wantonly give your sacred time to reading a dreadful book. Reading is my brain massage and books are the objects that make me most happy. More than chocolate. No lie. Just like an extremely restrictive diet taught me sausages were my favourite food, sleep deprivation showed me there is nothing you cannot handle once you are rested, parenting cemented the fact reading is my one true love when it comes to life’s pleasures.
I have been chipping away at a few novels over the four years gone by but this summer I managed a much better run at the books. I am getting them back. And I love it.
Here is my summer reading in review. I did very well. No duds and no throwaways. I firmly believe that life is too short to insist on reading a book that does nothing for you. Have a look at the following. Maybe you also need the therapy of a truly good book.
The one I talked about to everyone I met…
Keep them Safe by Melissa Hill
I was hooked by the storyline. Hill employs a chicklit genre but brings a new element. Quirky, predictable romance takes a backseat to the controversial and timely plot of two families and the potential consequences of decisions whether or not to vaccinate babies. I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened.
The one I took a chance on…
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
This was a Facebook book club choice (run by blogger An Historian About Town) and the book I took on holiday. I thoroughly enjoyed the settings in the novel as characters romps about modern London, dipping and diving between the supernatural and ethereal to the perfectly real. I found the storyline entertaining. It is fantastical in genre- Harry Potter is mentioned in many reviews. Magic is a key element of the story and the novel does not hold back on moments of horror or grotesque imagery (sensitive folk be aware of upsetting scenes). Having said that, it is not overused. A very enjoyable adventure to read and also to experience reading it.
The one with heart…
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Hooked. Loved it. Young love in a nineties setting, I was back in time with clunky, awkward jeans, mixed tapes and house phones. If you remember loving My So-called Life then you owe your younger self the honour of reading this wonderful book.
The one with the Bennett sisters…
What Kitty Did Next By Carrie Kablean
A recommendation from a fellow blogger There’s something about KM and I was double clicking confirm on an Amazon purchase. I quite enjoy a text that draws on famous characters as their plot focus- if they successfully meet the challenge. Kablean gives us the story of Kitty Bennett and continues on shortly after where the infamous Pride and Prejudice left off. A difficult task and a brave one- keeping the integrity of the characterisation and being believable. I enjoyed every page.
The fluffy one…
Mrs Queen Takes the Train By William Kuhn
A little bit of whimsy. I very much like Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader and the book has a similar theme. A royal showing her reality. It is fun to read.
The one that made me uncomfortable...
The Knot by Mark Watson
I gave Watson another go after quite liking Hotel Alpha. The book kept me reading but it took a twist I really wasn’t sure how I felt about. The twist is implied early on but you could think it wouldn’t happen as it is surely too shocking. Suddenly it is right there in the page in front of you. I think the subject matter would be easier digest if I liked any character as a person but I really did not.
The one that made me ugly cry…
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The character of Harold smacks of A Man Called Ove which I adored. I read it every spare minute I could grab, loving the journey, the sentiment and the pop-up characters so much. I recommend it to all but I can never read it again. My tear ducts are still getting over the assault of salt.
The one that made me laugh out loud…
The Guts by Roddy Doyle
Roddy Doyle has been one of my favourite authors for decades now. The style of writing was a revelation to teenage me. Dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. Comedy. Swearing. Lines that are unforgettable and funny. I found this book on sale in the local supermarket with one of those stickers that are so cheap nothing will scratch it off. The story of Jimmy Rabbitte from The Commitments continues twenty years on. It is terribly funny and just like classic Doyle, is underpinned by harsh reality but will not let you drown in the despair of the character’s world. Gifted.
The one with accolades…
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
It took me longer to read than the others. I did not carry it around the house with me yet I loved Nazneen’s character. This is a powerful story of emigration, assimilation into a different culture and the varying roles assigned to men and women in different parts of the world. A good read, it makes you look at a familiar place through new eyes.
I am already three in to my Autumn books. So far? They are really good.
Am so happy to be immersed in my reading world once more.