No matter what’s happening in your life, or the world, you can always turn to a good book for comfort or inspiration. Here’s everything I’ve read over the last month…
Tangerine, by Christine Mangan
This gripping novel set on the hot and dusty streets of 1950s Tangiers is a great read. It’s good old-fashioned thriller and the film rights have already been snapped up by George Clooney. There’s two women, a case of mistaken identity and fabulous setting. An excellent holiday book that’s very undemanding and fast-paced – you’ll be whizzing through it to find out what happens! Just don’t expect to remember it forever – this is enjoyable throwaway fiction.
You Think It, I’ll Say it, by Curtis Sittenfeld
I loved every one of these American short stories. So well written and satisfying – each one is the perfect length to read before bed each night, or on your commute. Good short stories like these get you hooked from the first few lines and leave you feeling satisfied. These stories are mainly about women and they’re so perceptive. Some of the characters have stuck with me long after I finished the stories – what a talent Curtis has! If you enjoy these, try one of her novels – American Wife is a masterpiece.
The Accidental, by Ali Smith
The last Ali Smith book I read was weird, but kind of wonderful. This one was just a bit weird and I struggled with it. On the surface, it’s a portrait of a somewhat dysfunctional family renting a holiday cottage in Norfolk. A stranger turns up on their doorstep, getting under everyone’s skin in different ways and with varying consequences. It was good in parts, and there were some moments of sharp clarity that I appreciated – however, Ali Smith makes rather hard work of it all. It felt quite pretentious, which detracted from what could have been a great book. But maybe I’m just not clever enough?
The Life of Stuff, by Susannah Walker
An interesting family memoir tracing the life of Susannah’s mother through her possessions. She was a troubled soul, and a serious hoarder in later life. After her death, her daughter Susannah is left to sift through a lifetime of paper and mouldering possessions – occasionally stumbling across something that could help her to understand her mother’s complicated life. I enjoyed this book, but felt it was a little over-long and repetitive. I think this is the kind of subject I’d enjoy read a long article about, rather than a whole book.
The Summer of Impossible Things, by Rowan Coleman
I really, really loved this quirky time-travelling tale. Luna visits Brooklyn to discover more about her American mum, who has recently passed away. Before long her life gets turned upside down as she finds herself travelling back in time to the hot summer of 1977. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s well worth suspending your sense of disbelief for this warm and beautifully written novel. It kept me amused during a two-hour flight – sit back and enjoy! It was 99p for my kindle – what a bargain.
Rose Petal Summer, by Katie Fforde
This was really bad. Katie Fforde used to write witty and romantic reads with characters you really rooted for. It’s through a sense of loyalty that I keep reading her latest books, even though they are mostly terrible. All the usual Katie Fforde cliches are here: a barge, a Scottish estate, some teenagers and some random Americans – but there’s no depth or warmth. If you like great romantic fiction then try Rachael Lucas or Harriet Evans. Even her editors couldn’t be bothered to read this one – it’s full of typos and mistakes.