I’ve almost reached my goal of reading 20 books since April. I slowed down a little during the summer – particularly when I was on holidays but I’ve picked up the pace lately with some of these.
PS, I get most of my books from Bookdepository.com where books are cheaper and delivery is free! – (but nothing beats a good browse in a bookshop on a Saturday morning)
If you’ve read my other post on what I’ve read, you’ll see I loved Conversations with Friends, Sally’s debut novel from 2017. I was hoping for the same nostalgia in Normal People and boy, I sure got it. This book is a huge improvement on an already very good debut. The writing flows like a stream of consciousness, the characters are real and recognisable, the situations familiar. Sally again brilliantly gives the mundane college life a hint of romanticism that makes me long for the life and love I had back in Trinity College. If that’s not enough to pull you in, it also made the Man Booker Longlist for 2018.
This is also Celeste Ng’s second novel set in a similar vain to her debut but also much improved from her first. Everything about this book, the observation of common life, the problems and issues (adoption, abortion, social hierarchies, etc) are beautifully tackled. The relationships are also very real and the story is particularly well nuanced and appropriate even for the current political situation (albeit being set in 1999).
If you want a book to cuddle up with and to give you that cosy American town feeling, this is for you.
This one surprised me. It was a ridiculous bestseller but it didn’t really interest me enough to take it off the shelf. I still felt a bit hurt over ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ being such a runaway hit but truly disappointing. My colleague at work insisted I should give Eleanor Oliphant a try, so I did and I finished it pretty quickly. It’s an easy read, first person narrative, quirky early 30s female navigating life with a hidden secret. It was nice to see Eleanor develop and adapt to modern life throughout (but the twist at the end is worth it all if you’re looking for a shock read).
I don’t need to reiterate my interest in this topic – my last post already discussed it – so to cut a long story short, this book (despite garnering a lot of hate from so-called ‘Columbiner’s – yes, those kind of people exist) was a good read; extremely thorough with good insights and hypotheses. You’ll need a little background to fully grasp what’s going on but if you read anything on this topic, it should be this.
I only finished The Dry today. It took me an age to get into – about a week or so – but the last 100 pages were worth the slog. It’s a classic whodunnit (except the whodunnit has already dunnit) set in the Australian outback where the searing dry heat almost leaps off the page. It’s a great debut – it does develop into a series – but I preferred to read it as a standalone. Don’t expect a whole lot of depth and some bits will leave you asking “huh?” but it’s well written and satisfying.
What didn’t impress me that much…
Elizabeth Strout is a talented writer but this one did nothing for me. Not a lot happens in this book – the entire plot is given away in the synopsis but I’m sure it would make a good analysis of human behaviour.
I only read this series because it’s written like a movie and it’s set in San Francisco. Plots are meh but the sense of nostalgia is worth it.