I loved my May read, soon-to-be-released novel A Quiet Life. The discussion that took place about the book at the Sisterhood Camp book group was lively, fascinating, impassioned and thoughtful. Opinions about the book were varied, and although I agreed with the criticisms that were levelled by some of the participants, I still found plenty in the novel to keep me reading (and not just that the protagonist is called Laura and loves photography!) Once I got over my slight anxieties about reading aloud to a large group of women around a campfire, I relaxed into the evening and took great pleasure in hearing the thoughts, feelings and experiences of my fellow readers.
My June read, What is yours is not yours by Helen Oyeyemi, may well be the most beautiful book that I now own, with its exposed spine and creamy embossed cover. It also sounds like an utterly enchanting read. I came across it via the Pool, and just felt that I had to read it…
My April read, Moranifesto, was everything that I hoped it would be: smart, thought-provoking, and really very funny. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but when I do, I shall be foisting it upon friends with an enthusiastic ‘you must read this!’.
This month, I’m excited to be reading a yet-to-be-released debut novel called A Quiet Life by Natasha Walter. I know that books really shouldn’t be judged by their covers… but look! I couldn’t love it more! And the novel does sound like my cup of tea: This is the warm-blooded story of the Cold War. The story of a wife whose part will take her from London in the Blitz, to Washington at the height of McCarthyism, to the possible haven of the English countryside. Gradually she learns what is at stake for herself, her husband, and her daughter; gradually she realises the dark consequences of her youthful idealism. Harper Collins have sent me this book as a part of the book club that I’m leading at the upcoming Sisterhood Camp retreat. I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on, and if you like the look of it yourself, I believe that it’s now available for pre-order.
My March read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, clothes drawers in our house have never been tidier, and I have (almost) reached the bottom of the laundry mountain. Not only that, but I am slowly de-cluttering the rest of the house, one type of object at a time (next up, books… I think you can guess that I’ll be struggling to declutter those…) On the other hand, however, I found many sections of the book to be at best bizarre, and at worst patronisingly sexist. My friend Sabrina has written a review that chimes perfectly with my feelings on this, and has done so with far more eloquent wit than I could summon, so do head over to her blog and have a read of it.
This month, I’m looking forward to reading Caitlin Moran’s Moranifesto. I’ve been a huge fan of Caitlin Moran since way back in my teens, and have loved each of her books so far. In fact, I was selected to write a guest post for her website back in 2012, when How to Be a Woman was published. If you haven’t already seen them, Moran is releasing weekly vlogs to accompany this latest book, and they are well worth watching, by turns hilarious and heart-wrenching, as is her wont.
Last month, as a variation from the usual #theyearinbooks format, I invited fellow participants to read the same novel along with me: Joanna Cannon’s debut, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. Harper Collins were kind enough to give away copies to 15 readers, and I know that others of you have bought or borrowed copies too. I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, and have been very much looking forward to chatting to you about it.