Something a bit different, this week: the books that are on my reading list. I’ll be ploughing through these over the course of the summer, whenever I get to snatch a sunny moment in the deckchair or a couple of hours before bed.
I’ve just finished The Girls, which was excellent – very soft focus and dreamlike but with sharp-as-you-like observations and character portrayals. It follows the story of Evie, a teenager who becomes caught up in a cult in the late sixties in California, but it’s far from the “coming of age” novel you might assume it would be. Find it here if you fancy a hazy, sun-soaked, murder-tinged read.
Here’s what else is on my list…
Rough Music by Patrick Gale – £1.49 for the Kindle edition here. I thought that A Place Called Winter was just astonishingly good (that’s here) and so I’m about to start working my way through Gale’s other novels. Starting with Rough Music because it’s only £1.49 at the moment! I’m starting this tonight. Not a clue what the story’s about but I can’t wait to find out…
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell, £12.91 for the hardback here. Maggie O’Farrell is a relatively new discovery for me and I love her. She weaves a great tale and she seems to have a real knack for unpicking relationships and seeing what makes people fit together. Or not, which is more often the case. I’ve started this one already – it begins with a man declaring his wife (lovingly) as crazy whilst she fires a shotgun into the air with a baby strapped to her front. I get the feeling it’s going to be a rocky ride!
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, £3.85 for the paperback here. This novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize last year and has come highly recommended from a few different sources, now. Do you know when you have a book that niggles at you until you read it – that’s what’s happening here. It’s on my bedside table, and every time I turn a page of a different book I can see it staring at me with disapproval. It’s (apparently) very long and complex and harrowing, which I think is why I’ve been putting it off…
Purity by Jonathan Franzen, paperback £3.85 here. Can I put it out there, tentatively, that I don’t quite get Jonathan Franzen? I admire him, certainly, but I don’t really get any serious enjoyment out of his novels. I don’t rush to pick them up at the end of a long day. Am I alone in this? I love in-depth character analysis and descriptions of complex emotional situations, but sometimes I find them boring unless there’s a good plot to keep things moving along. Perhaps that’ll be controversial. Answers on a postcard. I started Purity but didn’t get past the first few chapters – though I did find it more compelling than the other Franzen novels I’ve read.
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, £5.99 for the paperback version here. I can’t wait to read this. Another book shortlisted for the Man Booker last year, it’s a debut novel that’s received enormous critical acclaim. It sounds like the sort of fantastical adventure that long summer days require; four brothers in Nigeria who go to a forbidden river and find their lives changed when a dangerous madman predicts something terrible… I don’t to know too much about it as I hate spoiling the surprise, so if you want to know more feel free to read the blurb here.
Enough writing, I’m off to start my reading. I have lots to get through – this is just for July and August!
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