Friday, 22 August 2014

Summer Reading Highlights

Hello folks,

Oddly I always find I read more in the Summer than in the winter, yet in my head, reading always takes place under a cosy blanket by lamplight!

So today I thought I would share some short reviews of the books I have read and enjoyed this summer. I have started a few and not finished them and I won't mention these as I want to share the best with you and hopefully inspire you to buy or rent these books.

I know this is a bit off-kilter from our usual topics, but I've been feeling a bit off-kilter myself so it seems apt to me. I think I've got a bit of a bug and am feeling not-100%. I'm not asking for sympathy, I'm just explaining that I'm not quite me at the moment.

Anyhow, enough tangents, let's talk about books. I love books, really love them and read a lot. I have audio books in the car too and rent these from my local library (at £1 for 3 weeks, which is very good value for money - much better than Audible or something similar).

First up is this one, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It's a very enjoyable read about a 39 year old man who must be somewhere on the Aspergers spectrum and decides he'd like to settle down. It's funny and entertaining and I'd recommend this to both boys and girls.

This book, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, is a former choice of Oprah's book club. I have to admit I haven't looked at her book club choices before but I will now as I adored this book. It was one of those books where I had to have a break afterwards, as I was sad it had ended. (On Pinterest that's called a book hangover). Cheryl decides that as she is having a rough time, she would hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone and this is the story of that hike. I don't want to give much away - just read it! Please. And, if you have read this and enjoyed it I think you would also enjoy Bill Brysons A Walk in the Woods, which is a much more lighthearted tale of a hike.

Next is The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had read Eat Pray Love and Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert before and really enjoyed both of them. they were personal stories and I expected this to be the same. It's not at all. It's set in the 1700 and 1800's and is a tale of travel of frustrated lives and learning. It was a good read and I would recommend it but it wasn't in the same league as Eat Pray Love for me. I found the recommendation for this book on a blog I read (Slim Paley)

Now an older one, Iain Pears' The Titian Committee. I love these books which feature intrepid art detective Jonathan Argyll and the lovely Italian Flavia. They are simply an enjoyable read, featuring forged or stolen pictures, travel throughout Europe, murders and police. I read three on holiday - The Titian Committee as above and also, The Raphael Affair and The Immaculate Deception. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them as a fairly quick and fairly easy read.
I found these books by accident after listening to the audio book of Iain Pears 'An Instance of the Fingerpost', which is an amazing and serious historical tale of doctors and science and just a wonderful story. Then I stumbled across one of these books while in a charity shop and I'm quite loyal to authors, so I thought I'd try it. Once I love an author, I tend to read most if not all of their work (I'm meaning you; Agatha Christie, Jasper Fforde, Bill Bryson).  

Oh this is a good one, Before I go to Sleep by S J Watson. A good friend of mine, Jess, recommended this one and she was right. It's a real page turner and on holiday I stayed up until after 3pm finishing this. I just couldn't put it down. Try it.
This is the book I read first on holiday, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The one I couldn't wait to read, so I started it on the plane. It lived up to the hype in my head. I don't think anyone doesn't know that Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling really and these are adult books and murder mysteries. They are quite dark. I tried to read The Casual Vacancy and could not get into it, but I really enjoyed The Cuckoo Calling (the first one by Robert Galbraith) and this was great too. She is a talented lady is JK and if you like detective stories I'm sure you will enjoy this.

Then this is the book I read on the plane home, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It's an easy read, which I needed as we landed at 1am (which was 3am in Egyptian time) so I felt like I was awake most of the night and it was a long day. The premise for this story is a bit odd, Alice hits her head at the gym and forgets the last 10 years, so in her mind she is 29, happily married and pregnant with her first child rather than a 39 year old mother of three. But the book really made me think about my own life and how we shouldn't forget how we felt about people before time takes over. I would say try this book and see if it makes you feel the same?

And finally, Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I'm listening to Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel in the car after listening to this one before I went on holiday. I know, I'm hearing them the wrong way around but it doesn't seem to matter so much. The stories are about Thomas Cromwell and Henry V111 and we all know what happens anyway. Hilary Mantell is a very skilled writer and she evokes an atmosphere really well. These aren't an easy read in my opinion, but I'm liking them and feel like I am learning new words and I'm interested in how she writes them. I keep looking out for charity shop copies of these books as the punctuation and tenses fascinate me and I'd like to see them rather than just hear them.
So, over to you, do you have any great book recommendations?
Oh and don't forget to enjoy the bank holiday weekend. It's the Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne this weekend so do try and get over and soak up the atmosphere. More details here.
Thanks for reading,

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