Sunday, 23 August 2015

Summer '15 Gut Reactions

Golly that went fast. There is only one book left in my pile and that has been left because I realised that I hadn’t read the first one in the series, and I’m a total stickler for reading in order. So Lindsey Kelk’s I heart Vegas will have to wait.  The pile can be seen here.

There were of course some additionals, as I get distracted easily, as we all know.
Firstly, I managed to read some of the e-books that have been lounging in my phone. I guess I must have been parked waiting for the kids a lot recently. They were:

One Hundred Proposals – Holly Martin (This was the book that came from the short story that was the worthy winner of the original Sunlounger competition. As well as being totally lovely, Holly is a fab Women’s Lit writer. Well recommended.)
One Hundred Christmas Proposals – Holly Martin
Tied up in love – Amelia Thorne
The Art of upgrading a Book Boyfriend – Anna Bloom.  (Not really sure what was going on in this, it felt like I needed to be in the magazine publishing industry to properly appreciate what was afoot, but the dialogue and chemistry between the M/Cs were good.)
Grey- E L James.  Yeah yeah, judge away. I am not apologising. I have a thing for reverse-POV books, that's all.
A Hidden Secret - Linda Castillo. Yes, I needed a little Amish crime fix. You know how it is…

Also I went back to school. Not actually – that would be the stuff of nightmares – but DD1 is in her GCSE years and being subjected to English texts which are far from the Black Ops/Spies/Explosions/ Paranormal books she would choose herself. So I’ve been reading her school books so that I can discuss them with her instead of just catching them when she lobs them across the room.
An Inspector Calls – J. B Priestly
To Kill a Mocking Bird – Harper Lee
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Naturally, I was supposed to show solidarity in finding all of them heinously dull. In fact, it turns out that I have become a parent about it. Oh dear.

And a random paperback that my mum sent my way;
A Reliable Wife – Robert Goorick. DH saw the cover and asked me, with a look of hope in his eye, if I was reading a self help book. I pointed out to him that he clearly hadn’t looked at far as the subtitle “When passion turns to poison.”  I enjoyed it though. Interesting period crime story set in 1907 Wisconsin, but the moodiness was over-egged sometimes.

Book(s) of the Season; I think I am going to tie this one. Mhari MacFarlane is currently my favourite Women’s writer, and while both of her books that I read this summer where inspiringly-but-also-a-bit-depressingly Excellent, You Had me at Hello pips it.
Alongside it I am putting Louis Sacher’s The Cardturner. As he acknowledges in his foreword, everyone on his team must have been shaking their heads when he said that he wanted to write a YA book about learning to play Bridge. No doubt he must have had them tied into a deal whereby they had to take this book, because in theory it has “Really!?” written all over it. (To be honest I have no idea how it did sales wise. I picked it up because this copy was an Unchecked proof, and I have a thing about those too. I have a small collection building.)
And yet. It entertained me the whole way through. I’m even slightly interested in playing Bridge now, which is not something I am planning to verbalise out loud anytime soon. The plot was fun and worked splendidly. Sacher simply knows what he is doing with a plot. I also like the fact that the narrator says he thought Moby Dick sucked, (always goning to win ppoints with me) and so flags what might be boring Bridge explanations with a whale illustration, so that the uninterested can skip those parts and move on with the basic plot. Genius.

To Kill a Mocking Bird. I‘ve always shied away from this. After school, I wouldn’t naturally pick up a book that had any association with reading lists. I was only reading this to help out. Only I got consumed in it. Its charm grabbed me and has me thinking about how so many books are destroyed for readers when they become a proscribed text, read in small interrupted bits in classrooms. This was a gem. That said, I am not looking to read the new prequel. I’m happy for this to remain in its nugget-of-gold state in my head.

 I had a wild card in there if you recall, The Rosie Project. I really enjoyed this one. It was definitely Women’s Lit, in so far as it was a quest to find love, only this one was written from the POV of a male academic with undiagnosed Aspergers. It worked brilliantly, without ridiculing whilst still being funny and tender.

Jenny Colgan's books, as always, simply made me very happy. she is the writing equivilant of comfort food. Specifically chocolate cake.

And the other stuff;
One story I had been waiting desperately for, and while the main body of the book was lovely; a fabulous study of sibling rivalry and about teen thoughts and their inability to vocalise them, I was gutted in the last page and a half. I wrote about it here. Essentially, if you come to love some characters, you don’t want them short changed by the ending.
One story I had heard a lot about and was looking forward to, but in the end it simply wasn’t all that.
One story, whilst having squillions of pounds behind it now, could still have done with a good editor. Even in reverse-POV.

The Autumn pile is looking very small at the moment. I have some work to do...

(sorry, again, I do not know why my font sizing has a will of its own.)

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