This meme was set up by Lipsyy Lost and Found.
Happy New Year everyone! I missed posting last week, so I have quite a few books to include on the list today. I have made the conscious decision not to write reviews for all these as I’m starting a new job this week and have too many other things to worry about! And I want to start the new year with a clean slate, and no massive backlog of reviews. However, I will give each book a summary below…
Here we go – this is what I am reading now, then and next!
I have just started The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain. I am intrigued by the sound of this, and really looking forward to getting properly into it! Here is the blurb:
Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.
I tried to read as many books as I could over the Christmas break, and I did manage quite a few in the end. I started with a memoir, The Outrun, which follows author Amy Liptrott as she returns home from London to the Orkney Islands as she battles with alcoholism. The book was interesting and I enjoyed the contrasts between London and the Orkneys, but I did struggle with the complete lack of dialogue, and the fact that everyone else in Amy’s life was firmly in the background. It did feel too one-sided at times, and I really wanted to know more about those around Amy, particularly her parents, who were obviously such significant people in her life, but played such a minor role in the book.
I then read The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This was very easy to read and enjoyable thriller, set mainly on a small luxury cruise ship – although it was very far-fetched and hard to believe, particularly towards the end!
Next up was In My House by Alex Hourston, narrated by Maggie, an older lady who unwittingly rescues a young eastern European girl from people traffickers. The two then strike up an unlikely friendship, and as they do so we find out much more about Maggie and her troubled past. Maggie was really mysterious and it was clear we had a lot to learn about her and her family. But the book nevertheless ended up being a bit dull and hard going – and some of the dialogue was written in the most absurd and pointless way, with lots of full stops. Where there. Shouldn’t be. Full stops. This was really. Annoying. And totally. Unnecessary.
I also read Reunion by Hannah Pittard, which sounded really good but failed to deliver for me. The novel was narrated by Kate, who returns home with her older siblings when her father dies – despite the fact she is completely indifferent to him. We find out that he remarried four times after her mother died, and had lots more children, leading to a complete breakdown in her relationship with him. The story seemed so promising, but very little actually happened – the whole novel was set over just three days – and it became a bit too repetitive with lots of ruminations about Kate’s marriage and money problems. I had expected a lot more from this novel so again was sadly disappointed.
Finally, over the past few days I read The Swimming Pool by Louise Candlish. In the main I thought this was a really good read, and the tension builds up well as our narrator Natalie becomes embroiled in the glamorous life of former actress Lara. I could totally understand why Natalie was so attracted to Lara and her lifestyle. But I did find the book perhaps a bit overlong, and the ending left me with a lot of questions! But it was definitely the best of my festive reads.
I went to my local library over the Christmas break and was delighted to find quite a few books that were on my wishlist, including The Ballroom by Anna Hope and Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. So these have now been added to the TBR pile for the year – which I am really determined not to add to until I’ve made a dent in it!