I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.
Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:
- 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
- 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
- 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
- 4 Good, I enjoyed this
- 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted
NB I’m also reading some books as research for my own, non-fiction publication which is due out next year. I’m omitting anything read for that, here. Also, sorry this one is coming in November… been a busy time!
Title(s): The Age of Miracles– by Karen Thompson Walker
Category: Fiction: Sci-Fi, Coming of Age
About: Julia and her family wake up to discover the rotation of the Earth has started to slow. Days and nights become longer and the world is thrown into disarray.Ethan witnesses his sister’s death as a child. As a teen, he is part of the Guard, who protect the world against evil forces and the Order of Chaos.
My Rating: 4, Good
Not really post-apocalyptic but almost. I really enjoyed this and in particular, the way the ‘event’ comes second to the excellent character narratives. The book has a definite haunting quality and I raced through it to find out whether the world would end…
Read this if you like: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky.
Title(s): We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver
Category: Fiction: Dark, Emotional, Thriller
About: Eva doesn’t want to be a mother and carries a sense of defeat with her at each stage of Kevin’s development as he appears to reject her. Our present is two years after Kevin murders seven of his fellow high-school students, a teacher, and a cafeteria worker and Eva looks back on events that led to this point.
My Rating: 5, Excellent
I’ve heard this book described as ‘overly articulate’. I can’t argue with that, but what I would say is that if you persevere through the first few chapters, you soon get used to the rhythm of the writing and start to settle into the narrative.
The narrative is written from the point of Eva, in the form of letters to her husband and ‘flashes back’ to before Kevin was born and leading up to the current day. I saw the film before I read the book, and it didn’t spoil the
I saw the film before I read the book, and it didn’t spoil it at all for me. It’s been several years since I watched the film, so I’d actually forgotten what happens at the end (I don’t mean Kevin killing his classmates, this is mentioned on the cover and isn’t a spoiler) and it actually hit me hard again when I read it.
It took a while for this book to gain popularity and I can understand why. It’s difficult, uncomfortable subject matter, but mostly because it puts the magnifying glass on our own lives.
Read this if you like: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Title(s): The Doll Maker by Richard Montanari
Category: Fiction: Crime
About: A woman finds a murdered girl on a newly painted bench, complete with an invitation to a tea dance in a week’s time.
My Rating: 3 Average, Meh
This is one of many stories about Detectives Byrne and Balzano and the first I’ve read. I enjoyed the pace and the idea was okay – we know who the murderers are from the start, which is a refreshing change and it’s all about the chase and the ‘will they won’t they’ catch up with them.
I thought the motivation behind the killings was weak. I’d have settled for them just being nutters to be honest, rather than having a semi-complicated and largely irrelevant back story.
Read this if you like: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson (review coming in October reads), anything in the ‘crime’ section at your local store.
Title(s): Entry Island by Peter May
Category: Fiction: Crime (and dreamy, past-life flashbacky stuff)
About: The police come to investigate a murder on the tiny, Entry Island.
My Rating: 1.5, Poor
I read maybe half of this before I couldn’t put myself through any more. I really didn’t like this at all, although it gets decent reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, so maybe it’s just me. I thought the characters were awful and not one was likable and the flashback to a previous life (and coming together of major characters) just seemed self-indulgent and made the pace drag.