I can’t believe it’s July already. I also can’t believe how much time has gone by since my last blog post so I thought I’d better check in and let everyone know I’m still here! Honestly, I have so many great books either on the go or imminently pending, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day right now to get all my reading done, let alone writing. For a start, it’s Wimbledon – and as a bit of a tennis lover, even my beloved books are going to have to take a bit of a back seat for the next fortnight. Work is mental (no change there then!) but there’s never a dull moment and the days pass in a whirlwind of activity until someone gently reminds me I should be going home. And since I’ve turned into a bit of a slug recently I’ve resolved to get back to doing at least a little bit of yoga every day. Which doesn’t always happen. BUT I’m determined to share some of my July reads with you soon. I’m just about to start “Wives and Daughters” as part of my challenge to get back into the classics, and I’ve just started what promises to be an amazing book, “These Dividing Walls” by Fran Cooper. Should I admit that I’m STILL going with “4 3 2 1”? It’s a bit embarrassing since I distinctly remember posting about that very book in my April reading round-up and am still barely a quarter of the way through, but I have no bookish secrets from you all, my lovely followers! I’m sure we’ve all been there though, with those books that for some unfathomable reason you enjoy at the point of reading yet don’t feel any burning desire to come back to once you’ve put them down. Paul Auster’s latest is one of those, but I’m sufficiently invested to keep going with it, albeit at a slower pace than normal. I’m also excited to be taking part in the Quercus Summer Reads competition and as part of that I’ll be reading and blogging about “The Little Theatre by the Sea” by Rosanna Ley, so look out for that review coming your way soon.
I’ll do my best to get something online before too long – in the meantime enjoy the sunshine!
I got a bit optimistic the other day and decided that since the sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky then it must be warm enough to sit and read outside. Not quite unfortunately; more a case of April doing that sneaky thing it does where it lures you into believing it’s summer a few weeks prematurely. Whether I end up indoors or out though, there are some interesting books on the reading pile this month. I realised (again) how much I love my job a week or so ago when I got given a proof copy of “Into the Water”, which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you is the next novel by “The Girl on the Train” author Paula Hawkins. By rights it shouldn’t be featuring in a blog post about April TBRs as I’ve actually finished it already – but I couldn’t not mention it as it will surely be one of the biggest novels of this year. I’ll save my thoughts for the review, which I’ll probably post nearer to publication time, but if you manage to get anywhere near a copy then grab it and don’t let go. I’m super-excited about “In the Name of the Family” by Sarah Dunant, the next in her series of novels about the Borgias (I say series but I have no idea whether there will at some point be a third!) as I thought the first, Blood and Beauty, was pretty much everything you could want from a work of historical fiction. I’ve also just started “4 3 2 1”, the Paul Auster doorstop, and I have to confess, although I very much enjoyed the opening chapters I haven’t as yet got much further. This isn’t a reflection on the book I don’t think, more the fact that it’s quite a hefty thing that I suspect is going to require a reasonable amount of concentration and I haven’t really been in the headspace for something like that for a while. Last up, because I always like to have some non-fiction on the go as well, is an intriguing book I came across completely by chance in a local bookshop. “Selfish, Shallow and Self-absorbed: Sixteen writers on the decision not to have kids” is a collection of essays on, well, exactly what the title says. I’ve always found it interesting that conversations around childlessness are still something of a taboo, even in our increasingly open society. Well, that’s not quite true: potentially hurtful comments directed towards a woman without children about her lack of mother-status don’t seem to be taboo at all, but for a woman to respond and discuss the reasons for it is still, in my experience, looked upon with surprise, lack of comprehension and often, sadly, unfair judgement. I was interested to see that this book existed at all, and am very much looking forward to reading a variety of opinions on the issue.
As ever there will be more reviews up on Girl, Reading soon, but in the meantime enjoy the sunshine and enjoy whatever you’re reading!
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be treated to new novels by two giants of American literature: Michael Chabon, whose book “Moonglow” is released in a matter of days, and Paul Auster, whose new work “4 3 2 1” is scheduled for early 2017. I have a somewhat turbulent relationship with these two writers; both have penned novels that I would unhesitatingly include in my all-time favourite book list and both have, on occasion, produced novels that have left me quite disappointed. I first read Chabon’s “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” when I started working as a bookseller back in the early noughties; it’s one of those novels that almost everyone in the book trade loves, and it was pressed upon me by my new colleagues as if reading it was some kind of bookselling rite of passage. Fortunately I loved it, thus saving myself from becoming a social pariah within the workplace, and although my job has moved on I genuinely love it still. I also really enjoyed his other novels (even if “Kavalier and Clay” remained my firm favourite) up until his most recent offering, “Telegraph Avenue”. It’s a terrible feeling when an author you adore produces a book you don’t, and I was heartbroken to find I couldn’t even finish “Telegraph Avenue”, completely unengaged as I was with the characters or the setting. Still, a new Michael Chabon book is a source of anticipation for me and only slightly tinged with trepidation, as that one book has been the only miss among a succession of hits, and I do love the sound of “Moonglow”.
Paul Auster is a slightly different kettle of fish. I read a large number of his novels some years back, starting with his earliest works, and found in them some of the most remarkable writing I’ve ever come across. I’d pick out “Leviathan” and “Moon Palace” as favourites if I had to, but it seemed this man could produce one work of genius after another. Then at a certain point I felt the magic start to dim. Was it simply because I had read so many? I’m not sure, but I couldn’t shake the sensation that the flair and wonder was missing from his most recent novels. So I took a break, and to be honest I haven’t revisited any of his books for a very long time. Maybe it was as a result of this hiatus that I found I was incredibly excited when I saw “4 3 2 1” mentioned on Twitter a few days ago. Let’s face it, my least favourite Auster novels are still a class act compared with many others I’ve read, and I can’t wait to see if this time round I feel the magic again.
Hopefully I’ll be getting my hands on both books as soon as I can, and you can be sure I’ll share my thoughts with you. See you back on Girl, Reading soon!