I am linking up with Laura over at Circle of Pines. On her beautiful blog Laura hosts The Year of Books 2014 where bloggers share their reads. I have found some great reading suggestions there and I am sure there is a book waiting for you, too.
August was definitely a bumper month for fiction. I read and read and read and when I didn't read, I was listening to audiobooks.
I started the month by reading "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de Rosnay. It was a touching read and there were moments when I felt like crying. Sarah's story is skilfully weaved into a modern day narrative in which the narrator Julia is investigating the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup of Jewish families during the German occupation of Paris. What I did not like is the Julia's personal story, which is both predictable and saccharine. It did give weight to Sarah's story, which was really what makes the book a good read.
At the beginning of the month I had to return the children's library books and came home with books for myself. I don't often read library books (I don't like the smell). Two of the books had to be returned within two weeks. As you can imagine, my nights were long!
I am probably the last one in this country to read "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt and I don't need to tell anyone what the book is about. I enjoyed it for its writing and a story well told. Having said that, I the novel is longer than it needs to be, sometimes I couldn't help thinking "yes, ok, I get it now, get to the point and move on".
Next up was "The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden" by Jonas Jonasson. This story starts in the 1960s in a township in apartheid South Africa and follows the life of Nombeko, a child genius with no future. In parallel we read about the lives of Holger 2, who does not officially exist and his twin brother, Holger 1. Both live in Sweden. Predictably, the two lines of narration eventually merge into one. The book is quite frankly hilarious, completely unbelievable and the characters are loveable, even the annoying ones. I think what makes it work is the almost childlike logic and interesting aspects of modern history and politics.
In parallel to reading these two books I also listened to both "The Cuckoos Calling" and "The Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith. I enjoyed both very much for the relative simplicity of the plot and the lack of forensic evidence even though Cormoran Strike does fit my "modern day detective identikit" to the dot. I also liked the fact that neither of the books featured at deranged serial killer. It seems to me that most crime fiction these days centres around forensics and serial killers which is a shame because there is so much more that can make a well crafted crime novel.
I also read James Oswald's "Natural Causes". It is the first book in a series that centres around inspector McLean. He has (of course) a painful past. He is (of course) troubled by an incompetent and unlikeable senior officer. McLean is inevitably overstepping his boundaries and is personally linked to the crimes. There is plenty of gore, too many murders and too much forensic expertise in this book mostly in the form of a superhuman forensic pathologist who appears to be living in the mortuary and perform post mortem examinations around the clock. Despite the formulaic plot, I enjoyed this read, probably because my brain is saturated with otherwise lofty thoughts of academic identity and in need of a bit of downtime. It is a shame though that crime authors are not more daring and don't deviate much from the tried and tested rules of a bestseller crime novel. Maybe I should write my own.
For September, I am choosing the book at the top the pile. It is "As Green As Grass" by Emma Smith and is set during the second world war. I am also finishing "Elizabeth is missing" by Emma Healey. More about these books next month! Happy reading. Cx
P.S. A great big thank you and a great big virtual hug go to Leanne at Today's Stuff who has sent me a surprise gift yesterday. I am ever so touched by Leanne's kindness and feel a little tearful, too.