Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Nella Last's War (edited by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming)

I kept having to remind myself that this diary was REAL LIFE. It is very interesting and humbling to read. There are a lot of domesticity with example menus and household economies - which makes me realise that if there was another war my husband and I would starve almost immediately as my idea of a creative meal is to add a sprinkle of grated cheese to a warmed up can of baked beans. There are some really poignant insights into relationships and every day life which are really powerful to read. As this is a diary, it doesn't read as smoothly as a novel but it is still fairly easy reading and definitely worth it as a fascinating part of history.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt

Despite reservations I really enjoyed this book. It is a western about Eli and Charlie Sisters who work as hired killers for the mysterious Commodore. I wouldn't usually read a western but it was recommended to me by a very kind, generous, intelligent colleague so I kept an open mind and I am glad I did. This is an exciting story, which is a lot less brutal than I was expecting, and the characters are suprisingly likeable. It is also quite funny in places (in a pretty dark way) so that lightens some of the more gruesome bits. Definitely an enjoyable read.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This is a lovely book and would be a fantastic beach read. It is about a white girl who runs away from her neglectful father to live with a black family who keep bees. It does not examine racism or social prejudice in as powerful a way as The Help but it is still very poignant. The characters are very likeable and the girl in particular is very realistic. I enjoyed the style of writing, which is very natural and easy to read. Definitely recommended for a high quality summer novel.

Buddha Da by Anne Donovan

A painter and decorator based in Glasgow finds Buddishm. The whole book is written phonetically in Scottish dialect which I found irritating and unnecessary because it makes it a harder read than the plot really deserves. It's like when you spend ages peeling and getting all the white stuff off an orange only to find it's slightly bitter. And it is only slightly bitter so you persevere but feel a bit short changed. The point being, that this book is quite good - the plot is fairly pacy and the characters are interesting (if staggeringly unrealistic) but the way it is written makes it a bad choice for a beach read which is really the category it belongs in. Disappointing.

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

A novel about an event which takes place in a residential street during a summer's afternoon and its impact on the lives of those who witness it. And yes it is about as interesting as that summary makes it sound - i.e. the "event" bit is fairly interesting but the "impact" bit is not.

Although the plot is not that exciting, I did enjoy this book as the writing is very good. It is not wonderfully gripping nor, despite what Waterstones say, did it change my life but I personally quite like the way that the plot is very gentle and built up to the (somewhat predictable) event very slowly.

I can see how this book would be irritating if you like a fast paced novel but there is something quite "comfortable" about it - very easy to read and none of the dramatic over-the-top tragedy you get in a lot of modern books. Worth a read.