Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey

This is a very short novel about an Irish family, written from the point of view of one of the children, whom everybody calls Tatty. The narrative is very clever because it does sound like a child's voice. The family are disfunctional and it is very sad to be viewing the family's relationships through the eyes of a child. I quite enjoyed this although I am not sure why as it is quite depressing and a little bit scarey to think that is how children view the adult world. I don't think this is the book of the year and to be honest it would probably be most interesting for a child psycolgist. Not really a beach read and if you have children you will probably find these even more depressing than I did.

Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig

Shortlisted for the Orange prize.

I really enjoyed this book and read it very quickly. It is really well written and the plot is very gripping. There are a number of different characters introduced fairly quickly at the beginning, which is a bit confusing, but I loved the way they were all linked together. The central character is Polly, a divorced human rights lawyer raising her 2 children in north London. In places the story is quite dark as it does follow the lives of several immagrants whom Polly tries to help. But the way the narrative works means the darker bits are not too gruesome and are interspersed with some much more lighthearted moments.

I would recommend this book - I think it would be a good holiday read. Don't be put off by the rubbish cover.

Troubles by J.G. Farrell

This book was originally published in 1970 and recently won the "lost" booker prize, which is a prize set up to honour novels which did not qualify for entry into the prize when published.

The novel is set in Ireland just after the first world war. An English army major goes to visit is fiance, whom he has only meet once on a three day leave earlier in the war. His fiance is Irish and her family run a dilpidated hotel on the Irish coast. The narrative is very gentle and charts the majors return to real life following the war with an undercurrent of the Irish troubles. Personally I thought this was a bit boring. I enjoyed the characters who were easy to relate to and there are some lovely parts of this book. However, it is very slow paced and does not focus enough on any of the main themes so it is a bit lacking in direction. I did like this book but I didn't love it and I wouldn't particularly recommend it.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

This is a good fun read about a circus. It is currently being made into a film starring Robert Pattinson (the vampire from Twilight) and Reese Witherspoon. I really enjoyed this book although it isn't particularly challenging and the plot isn't hugely exciting. It is just quite fun reading about life on a circus, which is fairly tough. The main character is a likeable vet who, following a bereavement, joins a travelling circus. He learns about circus life and in the process gets entangled in a love triangle. It is not a particularly girly book and is a tiny bit gruesome in places but overall this would be a good beach read.

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

Another on the Orange prize shortlist.

This book is set in the second world war and follows a young girl evacuated to a large country house in Yorkshire, which is set up as a war time boarding school. The novel focuses on her relationship with her teachers at the boarding school and how that affects her relationship with her parents. Meanwhile, the owners of the country house have their own relationship difficulties which the young girl gets inadvertantly involved in.

I enjoyed this book and it is a fairly easy read. I didn't think it was particularly memorable but it is quite a good holiday read.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber

A novel about a black family trying to make a living in the badlands of South Dakota. The book is well written and you really feel connected to the family's fortunes. The husband in the family is not a very likeable character or very easy to understand, which makes the wife's devotion a bit difficult to sympathise with.

The detail of the hardship of the badlands is very interesting. The way communities work together, regardless of race, is touching particularly as the novel is set in the 1920s during the Chicago race riots.

I enjoyed this book although it wasn't fantastic.