Book Count (since 1 January 2012)

Book Count (since 1 January 2014): 30

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bed by David Whitehouse

A novel about an obese man who takes to his bed and the impact this has on all his family. An enjoyable and thought provoking book with excellent writing. The plot is a little slow but in my view the writing makes up for this. I can see how others may find this book a bit frustrating as the characters are a little indistinct and it is a bit of an unusual story. I liked the slightly quirky-ness of this novel so I think it is worth a read. Probably a 'Marmite' novel.

Tell No One by Harlan Coben

An exciting, holiday thriller with lots of punching in the solar plexus and descriptions of glocks. Hugely unrealistic but good fun. It is about a couple who are attacked one evening at a remote lakeside cabin - 8 years later, what really happened starts to unravel.... This book teaches us that one's relationship is as nothing unless you have a set of code words for use in an e mail sent after your death to warn your partner about a violent gangster conspiracy. My husband and I have now agreed on a code sentence - I won't tell you what it is but it includes the word "obvious".

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

I didn't enjoy this book. It follows three sisters whose father is a Shakespearean academic in Ohio. The writing is very jarring and doesn't flow well. The three sisters are unrealistically drawn - a kooky one, a bimbo one and a staid one - so it is very difficult to get excited about any of their stories. The Shakespeare quotes are shoehorned in, in an attempt to give this book some weight but it fails miserably. I found this boring and more than slightly irritating.

Far to Go by Alison Pick

Set in World War Two, this novel follows a Jewish family and their Aryan nanny. It is excellently written and the characters are realistic and likeable. The book is unusually balanced in it's portrayal of Nazi members. The plot is very good, although fairly gentle, but it is the narrative writing that really lifts this novel. One of my favourites on the long list so far.

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

I didn't really enjoy this - a fairly average beach read. It's about a brother and sister who live in a large house in Highgate and their various, varied housemates. It is darker than your usual chick lit but it is still very thin and so not especially memorable. There is nothing offensive about this novel but nothing particular to recommend it.

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

A great holiday read. This is a novel about a family who grow up in London and relocate to the countryside. The plot is pacy, exciting and well written. There is something a bit false about the characters and the plot is a bit too 'perfect' to be realistic but it's still worth packing in your suitcase. Probably not enough here for anything more than a light read though.

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan

A French novel about a young girl who writes a school paper about homelessness and becomes friends with a teenage runaway in the process. Thought provoking and with a good, if predictable, plot this is a good read. I did find some if the writing a little stilted at times but the characters, especially the narrator, are well drawn and realistic. Worth a read.

We Are All Made of Glue by Marina Lewycka

A fun, uplifting novel. It is hard to describe what this novel is about. In brief, the main character is a middle aged woman whose relationship falls apart as she befriends an eccentric elderly neighbour. But it is a much better, deeper book than this description makes it sound. I found this funny in lots of places but also enjoyed the realism and the main character is very likeable. I expect this is a novel which will appeal more to women (sexist, I know) and I would recommend it as a slightly more substantial holiday read.

Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

This is a novel about domestic violence so it makes for very difficult reading. The writing is good, the characters well defined and it tackles the subject matter very sensitively but it is still hard going and so difficult to review. It is definitely a good read but be mentally prepared and maybe watch a nice film with Julia Roberts in afterwards (not Pelican Brief - her later work).

Friday, 9 September 2011

Derby Day by D J Taylor

This novel is good, but too long and it does get a bit boring.  It is set in Victorian London and follows a number of characters, all of whom have an interest in a horse due to run in the Derby.  One of the characters, Mrs Rebecca Happerton, is disappointingly unrealistic - I suspect the author has never met a woman - but the male characters are much more believable.  The writing is good and easy to read although the plot is a bit too light for a 400 page novel.

Snowdrops by AD Miller

I really enjoyed this book - it is a thriller with an exciting plot and some good, well drawn characters - especially the main character, who is also very likeable.  The story is not as dark or gory as a lot of thrillers and although it is slightly predictable it still keeps your interest.  There's an underlying philosophical question about morality if that floats your boat (easy to ignore if not).  I liked the writing which is humorous at times, and I thought the dialogue was particularly good as it was very realistic.  The descriptions of Moscow are excellent and I enjoyed the atmosphere this novel created.  A short novel and definitely worth a read.