Thursday, 27 December 2018

July Reviews

A Strangeness in my Mind
Orhan Pamuk
Faber & Faber Paperback Jul 2016
Recommendation from Daddy

As you can tell from the rating, I am in two minds about this one. There are definitely pros and cons to it, let me go through a few of them now.
Pro: As with all Orhan Pamuk's books, it is a love letter to Istanbul. The characters wind their way through the streets of the old town and descriptions of the city really bring the reader into the setting.
Con: It can get a little draining hearing about the different districts that spring up and endless descriptions of the space.
Pro: Character development is lovely, this book spans over a decade, which means that there is ample time to get to know all the characters from several angles.
Con: It's set over a decade! I would say it's too long, but the premise is that it is s true documentation of someones life-time so to cut out a chunk of years doesn't really work.
Pro: The story is great, exciting in parts, as well as interesting and intriguing. I definitely enjoyed many things about this book. But I think it needs to be read at a time when you can really commit the time to reading the story in a few sittings (holiday in Istanbul perhaps?). I found it difficult to get into the story every time I picked it up on the tube and I did read it very slowly. Not one I'd read again, but a narrative that will stay with me.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

June Reviews

The Red Clocks
Leni Zumas
The Borough Press Mar 2018 Kindle

I think it was a shame that I read this book directly after The Cows because I ended up having a double dose of female voice. It is telling that I don't remember the story at all here. Everyone applauded the book because it had the feeling of the next Handmaid's tale about it just as the TV series was coming out. Meanwhile real world issues in Ireland and America surrounding women's rights around abortion. 
However, I didn't think much of the voice it jumped around to show off different writing styles and had that feeling of the author seeking to win prizes for their clever literary techniques. I wasn't a fan.

The Lemon Grove 
Helen Walsh 
Tinder Press June 2014 paperback
Birthday Gift

This was recommended to me by Stylist magazine in their book battle section. BUT the review did not point out that this is in fact quite smutty. *shocked face* The story follows a family holiday and the young daughter has brought home a fit boyfriend who treats her quite badly, mainly by going after the mother. It's a terrible story, it's full of quite awkward scenes. You can imagine the kind : "I shattered against him". 
The review I read made it seem like a travel writing book, a love letter to southern France, so you can imagine my surprise when I started reading it. Everything suddenly made sense for why the friend who gave it to me was blushing. 
Not one to read again or even one I'd gift, probably one to leave on a tube. I did read it on holiday in Miami where I was happy to read something easy like this so it does work as a holiday beach read.

Until September Petronella 
Jean Rhys
Penguin Modern 2018 Paperback 
Impulse purchase

These are short stories by some of the best writers of the modern age. I really enjoyed the three short stories in this one and have always liked Jean Rhys. But the trouble I had was that because it was such short bites I struggled to not just devour the whole thing in one sitting and differentiate each story. I am perhaps not used to reading short stories like this. 

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Reading the Seasons

The seasons may not command our daily lives like they used to, but I still feel their influence in the books that I choose. I consciously pick up a Gothic novel or thriller for Halloween and I realise that there are a few other genres that I go for that seem to have a correlation with what the weather is doing. I was at an author Q&A last weekend and one of them mentioned how they always read Wind in the Willows for Spring, Darling Buds of May for Summer and A Christmas Carol for Winter.

I know that a ton of people have a particular book at Christmas time. What's yours?

I've put down my suggestions for the seasons. These are all books I would read again and enjoy over and over again. I've tried to put them in the part of the year that would suit the story best.

Eat, Pray, Love
The Power

Wind in the Willows
Blackberry Wine

The Historian
American Psycho

Christmas Carol
Little Women
A Gentleman in Moscow