Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Best Books of 2015

For me, 2015 proved to be a record year for reading. In 2015 I managed to break the 100-book mark. Of those, forty four books made it to my 'excellent' list. I will endeavour to review them all for you but for starters, here's the list. I hope you enjoy going through them.

Off the Map by Fergus Fleming
Waiting for Doggo by Mark B Mills
Little Princes by Conor Gennan
Into the Dark Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
The Spark: a mother's story of nurturing a genius by Kristine Barnett
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart
Oyster by Jane Turner Hospital
Goat Mountain by David Vann
A Mile Down by David Vann
A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell
The Secret Life of Luke Livingstone by Charity Norman
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
House of Stone by Christina Lamb
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Madness in Civilization by Andrew Scull
Traitor by Stephen Daisley
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Chappy by Patricia Grace
Stalin's Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan
The Mountain Can Wait by Sarah Leipciger
That Old Ace in the Hole by Anne Proulx
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
After Such Kindness by Gaynor Arnold
The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent
Mountain Rescue by Phillip Merchior
The Invisible Mountain by Carolina de Roberti
Signs for Lost Children by Sarah Moss
Euphoria by Lily King
Sweet Caress by William Boyd
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
This is Where I Am by Karen Campbell
The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik Backman
Headstrong:52 Women who changed Science by Rachel Swaby
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Euphoria | Lily King

I just finished this slim volume and I am sad that it's over. It is a wonderful story, really well told. Each character is compelling and we care about them. I am still thinking about them although the novel is read.

This is the story of three anthropologists working in New Guinea, in the 1930's. Told through the eyes of Andrew Bankson, it also includes notes form Nell and husband Fen who are working with tribes up river from him.

Slowly the three are mired in a three-way relationship which is passionately intellectual, theoretical and amorous. There is huge tension as they share working methods, thrashing out theories on the tribal behaviours they observe and their own behaviour as two men in love with the same woman.

Nell immerses herself among the women and children of the tribe and learns that way. She had been published, a fact Fen is jealous of and is constantly trying to prove himself to her and Bankson. He is a surly, moody and possibly violent individual, using fairly unorthodox methods in his investigations.

Bankson is beset with guilt and sorrow over the deaths of his two brothers and father, and dominated by a disapproving mother back in England. He is despondent about life and his work but his passion is ignited as he works with Fen and Nell.

The story builds to a climax, and although the outcome is unexpected, it fits perfectly with the rest of the story.

Well worth reading.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Reader on the 6.27 | Jean -Paul Didierlaurent

This book is part fable, part fairytale and is totally charming. It is possible to read it in one sitting but it is so gorgeous , one should resist the temptation and make it last!

The main protagonist is Guylain Vignolles who is  thoroughly immersed in the routines of his life. He lives alone, with his goldfish as his only companion. He goes to work on the 6.27 train, sits in the same place and reads aloud random pages he rescues from his work. He is employed to operate a book-pulping machine, a huge monster Guylain hates but is tied to in a very ironic way. He hates his boss and workmate and the whole ethos of what his work entails. The only bright spot in his bleak existence is the presence, larger than life, of the security guard at the entrance of the plant. He is enamoured with recitation and everything he says is in poetic form. 

The commuters on the 6.27 train come to love and expect the readings and Guylain has a following of sorts. One day he finds a USB left on the train and once he opens it he discovers it contains the diary of someone called Julie.  He slowly falls in love, and begins a search to find her and return her USB to her. 

A truly delightful read. Don't read it all at once though!