I haven’t written a ‘currently reading’ post for a few months. But what I have been doing in that time is reading. A lot. Voraciously, in fact.
When I started to make a list of everything that I’ve read since my last post (about the utterly terrifying Marie Kondo book) I was slightly shocked at the volume. Around 20 books in a couple of months.
There isn’t, of course, time to give you my full, frank review on every single one of these, so instead a brief sentence on each one. A Twitter review, if you will.
And to make things really straightforward, I’ve listed them in the order I most enjoyed them:
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
How did I miss the hype the first time round? Peters out at the end, but brilliant, compelling, sharp, intriguing and fantastically-written. If you somehow also failed to read it when it came out, then do so now…
Twenty thousand streets under the sky by Patrick Hamilton
Epitomises the London of a foggy, cold day. Fabulous, bleak, fascinating, unrelentingly “real.”
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt
A story about two contract killers in California during the Gold rush. If that doesn’t sound like something you’d ever read, ditto. Read it anyway. I adored the rather literal narrator’s voice and the prosaic catalogue of bizarre events that ensued.
The complete works of Marian Keyes (re-read)
One week I became obsessed with re-reading everything written by Marian Keyes. It’s chick lit for those who (like me) don’t usually like chick lit. Trashy, yes, but also extremely funny and very much un-put-downable.
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
She’s a fantastic writer, there’s no doubt, but that couldn’t quite make me ignore the fact I never love a modern re-working of a classic. If you’ve never read Sittenfeld before, then seek out American wife instead, which remains one of my all-time favourite reads.
The stranger’s child by Alan Hollinghurst
I found The line of beauty one of the most over-hyped books I had ever read, but really very much enjoyed this book, Hollinghurst’s fifth novel. Set in five different decades, I vastly preferred the earlier (1913 and 1920s) sections to the modern day ones. But overall, definitely worth a read…
The man of my dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld
Sparks of brilliance, but a slightly unfulfilling plot. See above…
Under the Tuscan sun by Frances Mayes
Practically porn for a property-fiend and Italophile like me. Will almost certainly make you sell your children in order to finance the purchase of a falling down house in Italy.
The versions of us by Laura Barnett
Has been compared to One Day, which seems fair to me. An enjoyable read, but not something I would remember in five years time. A good holiday book.
Oxygen by Patrick Miller
Perfectly readable holiday literature. Almost instantly forgettable.
The Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels
Page turners, undoubtedly, but I didn’t find them the great literary feat everyone else seemed to. I preferred the descriptions of Naples to the musings on friendship and relationships.
Number 11 by Jonathan Coe
Good god, I thought this was tedious. A “satire” on modern culture (which actually felt especially topical after the referendum), but though I agree with the politics, I found the writing and humour rather schoolboyish. And (*spoiler alert, look away now*) at the very end a giant spider eats all of the bad capitalist conservatives. I kid you not.