Thursday, 3 April 2014

the year in books 2014 - April

It has been such a busy month. March I mean of course. I got off to a flying start with my March book "Finding Peggy" by Meg Henderson but I have to admit that I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. If you want to make up your own mind, stop reading now. The story is autobiographical. Meg, the author retells her childhood living in the poorest parts of Glasgow in the post war era. It is a really interesting insight into working class life in Glasgow at that time. 
The book's name, "Finding Peggy", suggest that there is a mystery surrounding Peggy. Peggy was Meg's maternal aunt who tragically died in childbirth under sad circumstances, essentially as a result of medical malpractice. However, I didn't feel that the story was about Peggy and the returning to Peggy's tragic death throughout the second half of the book felt somewhat staged. I think the books is really Meg's story. Whilst the majority of the book feels authentic, some characters do not, they were too black and white, if that makes any sense. I didn't find the actual writing enjoyable either. I am of course not one to judge, being a non native English speaker but the language was bit "adolescent". I am not sure if that makes sense? All in all, a bit of a disappointment because I was really looking forward to this book.

Oh well, so far so good.

Other books I have read this month are:
  • "Oranges are not the only fruit" by Jeannette Winterson. This novel was on the weird side. I enjoyed parts of it but there were sections that I didn't understand why they were there. I was maybe not paying enough attention. It was quite an easy read on the whole and if you are interested in the childhood and young adulthood of a girl dominated by her overzealous Christian mother, then, this is a book for you.
  • "Emotionally weird" by Kate Atkinson. I am a great lover of Kate Atkinson but I didn't enjoy this novel much. The main character is an English student in Dundee in the Seventies. Yes, drug, sex and rock & roll and plenty of weird coincidences, too.
  • "The vanishing act of Esme Lennox" by Maggie O'Farrell. I am in two minds about this one, it was recommended by other bloggers. I enjoyed the story very much but I didn't much like Iris, Esme's grand daughter and narrator and her relationship with her step brother. It is a shame when you don't like an important character in a book. However, the books is well written and carefully crafted, dipping in and out of the past, and into the mind of the characters.
  • "Where'd you go Bernadette" by Maria Semple. This was a fun read. Well, I actually listened to the audio book, which was well narrated. Bernadette, a neurotic one time famous architect, grew on me as a person. 
  • "Wonder" by R.J. Palacio. This was our book group read of the month. Wonder is a children's book (Annie, 10, is absolutely loving it). The main character, August, suffers from a rare genetic disorder that manifests in severe facial disfigurement. The story is about August starting school (after being home schooled for years), finding his place and making friends. It is told by August and various important characters in Augusts life. Read it, it is absolutely worth it.
Would you believe me if I said that I read all this in the first two weeks of March? I haven't read since.... I must have run out of steam.

picture from Amazon

My April read is "When we were orphans" by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have already started and I am enjoying it so far. More of this another time.

To another month of reading! Have a great day. Cx


  1. I read Wonder last year and that book has stayed with me in a way that's hard to explain. I loved every single word of it.

  2. I've been meaning to read Wonder myself. I love Kate Atkinson too, but I appreciate the heads-up about that book. You've read a lot this month! Good for you, Christina.

  3. Wow you've read a lot! I remember watching Oranges are not the only fruit on the TV many years ago & I read "Why be happy when you cold be normal" also by Jeanette Winterson and also autobiographical - I did enjoy that one, if enjoy is the right word!
    And I loved the vanishing act of Esme Lennox - I've added When We Were Orphans to my Amazon wishlist, I look forward to hearing what you think, I like the sound of it.

  4. Hey Christina,

    I really enjoyed 'Where You Go Bernedette?' too. March was not a good reading month for me. But it was a good month for slumping in front of the tv drinking gin ;)
    Leanne xx

  5. Wow, that's a serious amount of reading! I wish I could find more time for books. I have so many in the "to read" pile.

  6. I loved 'Where'd you go Bernadette' - a great read! I've just posted my recent reads too - feel free to come over and find some more inspiration! Cheers, Lucy

  7. 'Wonder' sounds great - I'll definitely be adding it to my 'to read' list. I've read 'Why be happy when you could be normal' by Jeanette Winterson and it was disappointing. I had read that 'Oranges...' was better but I'm not in a rush to read it. x

  8. Hello! I read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit as a student and it resonated as it's set in Accrington (not far from where I grew up). I enjoyed The Vanishing of Esme Lennox too and liked it a lot, but agree that the main character isn't particularly appealing.
    They had Where'd you go Bernadette (abridged) on Radio 4 last year and I'm tempted to give it a go...
    Sarah x

  9. Glad you liked Bernadette - my favourite book of the year so far.

  10. You also did really well with your reading month. I really like Kate Atkinson too but also didn't enjoy Emotionally Weird. Hope you enjoy the Kazuo Ishiguro...I've loved the couple of books I've read but not read the one you are.

  11. My goodness, you have read so much in March. I loved 'Never Let You Go' by Ishiguro and have a collection of his short stories lined up to read in the not to distant future.

  12. Gosh you get through a lot of books - I seem to have slowed down this month. Good to hear your opinions/reviews.

  13. Wonder sound like a really interesting choice, will look out for it.


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