Thursday, 9 October 2014

Recently Read

My reading has slowed down quite a bit recently. I think I only finished one or two books in the whole month of September, and one of those was cutting it a bit fine on the 30th. I've been reading, but in a very promiscuous way (the towering pile of books I'm half way through is getting threateningly high). I wouldn't say I'm in a slump, more than I don't feel like finishing books at the moment as being half way through can be so very exciting. There's nothing better than not knowing what's coming, sometimes.

For the past week and a bit I've been fighting off a nasty cold/virus so I have spent quite a lot of time feeling sorry for myself wrapped in a blanket with tea and a book. When I've not been napping or re-discovering my love of watching films/TV, I've been reading. I've also been attempting to run which, as I now know, is not a good idea when you're actually pretty poorly.

Anyway, I've read some corkers recently, many of which were hyped books that have thankfully lived up to the hype.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Almost every review of this I have read has waxed lyrical about The Rosie Project's feel good effect. I agree with every single one. Although sometimes the narrative grated on me, I loved the characters and thought the ending was charming.

The Dinner by Herman Koch My sister read this before me and recommended it (not that I needed the extra nudge). I love an untrustworthy narrator, and it was done so well here.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich I found this to be a very sad read, but the narrators voice and the slow (yet perfectly pacey) revelations made it a compelling read.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett I'm still working my way through this excellent collection of essays. I fell in love with Patchett's non-fiction style when I read her essay 'The Bookshop Strikes Back' (which is included in this collection). She is witty, thoughtful, and warm.

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane I picked this up at my favourite second hand store on Charing Cross Road and read it straight away. It was haunting, beautifully written and surprisingly emotive. I would really recommend this one.

A Life of One's Own by Ilana Simons This is a strange book, a kind of self-help based on the life and philosophies of Virginia Woolf. The author addresses the fact that perhaps Woolf isn't the best person for a self-help book to be based on, but she manages to make it work. There is less of Woolf in there than I'd like, but it was still an interesting read.

Have you read any good books lately?



  1. Sorry you're not feeling too great at the moment, hope you feel better soon.
    I want to read so many of the books you mention, particularly The Rosie Project & the Ann Patchett one.
    Good luck finishing the books you are currently reading!

  2. Thanks, Sam. I think I'm finally managing to get rid of it now. I would highly recommend both! The Rosie Project is such a mood-booster and Patchett's essays actually made me want to try my hand at writing a little more.

  3. I read The Rosie Project a few months ago and enjoyed it, but it felt very much like it was written to become a movie which I think is now becoming a reality. I liked the characters, but I don't think I will be picking up the sequel.

  4. Oh, I read The Dinner recently as well. I really... well,
    enjoyed is probably the wrong word because it was so
    brutal, but it's a really good book.

    I need to read The Rosie
    Project too. I was lucky enough to find it in a charity shop for £1 and
    snapped it up pretty quickly! I don't think I've read a single review
    that didn't enjoy it.

  5. I'm going to read The Rosie Project for book club -- glad it live up to the hype (mostly!) for you :)

  6. I've recently bought The Round House (for Kindle) and hopefully it's good. I do like sad books. Ann Patchett's essays sound good as well - I just finished her State of Wonder a few days ago and it was enjoyable. She has this kind of subtle, soft way of writing, for me at least.

    Hope you feel better!

  7. I agree actually, it's all just too well arranged. I'll let my sister read the sequel first and then make my decision based on her thoughts, I think!

  8. oh yes, brutal is the perfect word for it! Well that's a bargain, it's a must read for only a £1.

  9. I hope you enjoy it! It probably makes a really good book club choice - I can think of a few points of discussion just of the top of my head.

  10. That's the perfect way to describe her writing, it carries over to her essays too. I feel like I've read one of her novels, but I'm sure that I actually have (maybe I've just read a lot of reviews!). I think State of Wonder is the one I'd check out, particularly if you enjoyed it. I'd be interested to see what you make of The Round House.

    Thank you, I'm much better now!

  11. I hope you're feeling loads better now! Definitely 'running bad, curling up good' when you're fighting off something nasty...

    As for the books... STILL haven't read The Rosie Project (but really should with the sequel out already), STILL haven't read The Dinner (even though people keep telling me how good it is), adding the Ann Patchett collection to my wishlist immediately (THANK YOU ELLIE)... *sighs* I'd better get cracking then. :D


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