I’ve been keeping a record of all the books I’ve finished since I was fifteen, so it seems to make sense to move this list to my blog!
September was a very booky month for a number of reasons, there were a number of weekend lie-ins, but a lot was also read on honeymoon, as we very much enjoyed relaxing in the gorgeous Cornish sunshine and recovering from the wedding. It’s a bit of a relationship win for me that Will is just as much of a bookworm as I am, as we can spend many happy hours in complete silence absorbed in our respective books. The Humans by Matt Haig. I’d heard such good things about this book and I have to say I was disappointed. The concept of an alien coming to earth and taking over an existing human life, and the culture clash that occurs as he discovers humanity’s contradictions and irrationality, never quite convinced me. However, I think this might be a personal taste issue so wouldn’t say it’s a bad book, just not my cup of tea.
About a Boy by Nick Hornby. I’m incredibly fond of the film version of this book, it’s a film I will always watch to the end if I happen to catch it half way through on telly. But I’d never read the book so was pleased when I found a secondhand copy. The odd-couple friendship between Will, who doesn’t need to work and is quite happy on his shallow bachelor island, and Marcus, a slightly misfit teenager struggling to adapt to life in London, is the heart of the story, and somehow stays believable and touching throughout. And I much preferred the lower key ending in the book to the film version.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. About the secrets and lies that envelop a wealthy and outwardly beautiful family, this is an excellent YA book and very suspenseful thriller. Brilliant for a quick read and very hard to put down.
The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I’ve read one other Jojo Moyes novel (Me Before You) and I like how she combines some of the more depressing realities of life in the UK at the moment with believable love stories. I read this in a couple of days and it totally absorbed me in a way that made me shout (out loud) at a character at one point. A smile inducing book!
Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom.This is the second book in the series about crime solving lawyer Matthew Shardlake in Tudor England. I’m not usually a great reader of crime novels but I really like this series as the politics of the Tudor court combined with the religious upheavals of the Reformation make for a great background to a more traditional mystery story.
Under the Paw by Tom Cox. A whole book about cats may seem excessive, but it’s not when it’s as funny as this book. I hooted with laughter whilst reading on a number of occasions, which is the highest accolade I can give (hooting is the top level you can reach on the funny book scale I’ve just invented).
The Rector’s Wife by Joanna Trollope. I’ve never read a Joanna Trollope novel before, although I have heard the rather derogatory term of ‘aga-sagas’ that has been attached to her novels. This book is definitely set in a middle class world, but I can’t help thinking that so are many works by male novelists and they don’t have this sort of phrase hurled at them. I didn’t absolutely love this book, but the character of Anna definitely doesn’t belong in a melodrama I think I would have associated with Trollope before, and her story absorbed me enough to want to know what happens. Anna is the rector’s wife of the title, trapped in poverty as it is deemed unacceptable for a rural clergy wife to work, the novel is about how unhappy she is made by society’s expectations of her, and how she can start to break free of these expectations. It is worth picking up if you get the chance.
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. I have been meaning to read this for years, and am very glad I got round to it. Ronson explores what makes a psychopath and how you can diagnose the condition. Psychopathy is different from a lot of psychiatric conditions as it is supposedly untreatable, you either are or aren’t a psychopath. Studies have suggested that a higher average of CEOs, politicians, and people in power generally are psychopaths than is found in the general population, so it makes for disturbing reading. The danger of labelling people with this kind of diagnosis is also explored, although that did not stop me deciding that at least a few of my friends ex-boyfriends are probably psychopaths. Ronson’s writing is wonderfully light for a serious subject and I read the book in 24 hours as it totally fascinated me.