I’m in the middle of my big summer holiday break, and have a thesis to write… so I’ve been procrastinating with all the good books I can find. I thought I’d share my picks of the bunch with you – some will be familiar to friends reading this blog as I took their suggestions over what to buy!
I finished off the school term with some Camilla Lackberg novels. I owe the librarian at school for her suggestion (and yes, I’ll return the book pronto Maureen!), as I really enjoyed these. One awesome benefit of teaching, for me, has to be the school library. I can saunter in on Friday and come out with a pile of weekend reads – and they even loan DVDs, which has allowed me to catch up a little on the recent movies I’ve missed by being too cheap to shell out for the cinema experience. Ah, but back to Lackberg – I read all four of the Patrik Hedstrom books, The Stonecutter, The Preacher, The Hidden Child, and The Gallows Bird. Lackberg writes in her native Swedish, I read these in translation, and even found myself buying the final one in Kindle format when it wasn’t available from the local library. Can’t wait for The Drowning to be released now too! These are mystery stories, set in Fjallbacka, a small Swedish town. It was lovely to read more stories set in Sweden after my Dragon Tattoo-fest last year. I enjoyed the main characters, and was engaged by the various stories. A good, fast read.
I was totally captured by The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is Morgenstern’s debut novel, and what a way to start! I loved the imagination behind the story itself – and the realms of what is possible within the circus and magic, but the pace, structure and description really added to this. I was really fortunate it was as engaging as it was – this I took with me on a recent trip overnight where I had far too much caffine and couldn’t get to sleep until after 3am. The Night Circus kept me company.
I found the main characters Celia and Marco very sympathetic, and the cast of minor characters were also very engaging. There were a raft of them, and their relationships were tightly interwoven, as were their fates. This book isn’t just for circus lovers – it has tension, mystery, romance and magic within its pages. Definitely one to re-read for me!
I also really enjoyed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.
I’ve been jumping about genres a little bit – this is a little bit mystery, a bit drama. Set in Mississippi, it explores the tensions of small town life through two major characters – Larry, a white boy who grew into a man, shadowed by suspicion about a girl who went missing after his date with her, and Silas, a black boy who moves back to his old hometown as a policeman. The tensions that occur in the short period after another local lady goes missing are contextualised with flashbacks to the 1970s explaining the history of Larry and Silas’ friendship, and look at the way their re-acquaintance affects their present lives.
Larry and Silas aren’t the most sympathetic of main characters. But as you get to know more about the history of each through the flashbacks, you come to care more deeply for them. The novel is well crafted in this, and other regards, and I enjoyed it.
Some lighter reading was found in a bit of chick lit – Three Girls and Baby by Rachel Schuring fulfilled my criteria. It was cheap and fun. Just $2.99US in Kindle format, it did me nicely. This book looks at the life of Ginny, and what happens when she falls pregnant to her former boyfriend when she’s fresh out of college and fresh from their breakup. There are some fun times to be had for her and her two besties as they decide to stay flatting together despite the pregnancy and to raise the baby together. Realistic? Maybe not, but since when is chick lit meant to be realistic? It’s supposed to be escapist isn’t it! Anyway, there are Kindle editions available of two follow-up novels already – which given the first book was released in July 2011 defies belief really! The speed at which the world moves these days is kinda scary!
Anyway – that’s it from me for now. I’ve got more holiday time and more books on my Kindle waiting reading, not to mention a nice being Amazon.co.uk order waiting for me at home (I hope!) so I’ll be found with my nose buried in a book for quite some time to come.