Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

I found this novel surprisingly light both in content and in its writing.  It follows Gina and Sean, both married, who embark on an affair which affects both their families.  It is difficult to get very interested in this book as the characters are not complex enough to be realistic. The plot is a tired, old plot and idea of rejuvenating it by telling it solely from Gina's viewpoint just doesn't work for me. This is of course better than your standard affair novel but does not live up to the writer's previous work.

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

A classic novel which I very much enjoyed. The book conjures up a glitzy era of parties and romance which is easy to get sucked into.  The characters are well drawn and intriguing which makes this book very compelling.  Coupled with the excellent writing it is easy to see why this is an unforgettable novel. 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

The third of a trilogy and you can tell - the excitement and novelty created in the first novel (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) has lost it's magic. This is still a fun read but the atmosphere of the first book is nowhere near recreated here. I also found the plot a little stilted and certainly left unresolved, which is disappointing. Unfortunately as this series progress it begins to detract from the exoticism of the first book so I do hope there are no plans to write any further novels. I don't think this is worth reading unless you have a compulsion to finish the trilogy.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

I loved this book. It's beautifully descriptive and the writing is lovely to read. The basic premise is a bit forced - an American woman travels to Burma to discover what happened to her father after he disappeared years earlier.  In my view this was an unnecessary framework for a better story - a love affair between two young Burmese who both suffer from different disabilities and learn to fill each other's deficiencies.  This aspect of the book was very compelling and enjoyable, and I think the modern day context could have been cut out. Overall, an easy but lovely book to read.

The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy

I really enjoyed this play, which is wonderfully thought provoking. It can be difficult to read plays, especially those you have never seen performed, but both the writing and the fact there are only 2 characters in this play make it easy to get drawn into the drama. The play is a conversation between a black man and a white man, which takes place exclusively in a New York apartment after the black man has saved the white man from committing suicide earlier in the day. There is no plot as such but the writing examines religion and the meaning of life, which does not come across as pretentious or artificial. Very easy and worthwhile read.

Skeletons by Jane Fallon

This is a silly book - way too 'chick lit' for me. The plot is unrealistic and the characters two dimensional so it is difficult to maintain any connection with this novel. There is no substance to this book and I wouldn't recommend it.

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

An easy read which was wonderful after A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing but perhaps a bit light otherwise. It follows a young single mother trying to do her best for her children and a high flying businessman accused of insider trading.  The writing and plot are gently uplifting and there's enough to (just about) sustain your interest.  I much preferred this to Me Before You as it is much more straightforward and unassuming. Would make a good beach read but nothing especially memorable.

A Girl Is a Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

I have no idea what this book is about. It is excellently written and highly intelligent but unless you are prepared to study every word it is incomprehensible and frustrating to read. Definitely worth studying if you have a spare week or so to dedicate to it, but not worth reading in the midst of everyday life.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Iceland in the 1820s and Agnes, along with two others, is convicted of murdering her employer and his friend. Whilst awaiting her death sentence, Agnes is housed with the local district officer's family and this novel follows both Agnes' harrowing wait to die and the officer's family's acceptance or otherwise of a convicted murderer into their household. The writing is excellent and although the plot is not especially gripping the novel keeps you very interested and this makes it a compelling read. The characters are very well drawn, particularly Agnes and the young priest who comes to administer to her. This is a relatively heavy book to read so not a beach read but definitely enjoyable and worth reading.

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

A novel about Max, a young, popular boy who was born intersex.  Max seemingly has a happy secure life but his secret condition threatens to reveal itself as he reaches puberty and experiences a violent assault. The writing in this novel is good and the story has enough to keep you interested but it's not an especially memorable book, and the storyline gets increasingly unbelievable.  I didn't find this book as powerful as many other reviewers seem to have done, perhaps because the characters of Max's parents seemed to me to be detached and hard to relate to. This is a good book but not excellent and I did not enjoy the subject matter.