December – Brother

I chose two short books this month, in the hope that I would be able to find time to read them both. It worked! It may have been a teeny tiny meeting, but I did manage to read the books!

Brother – David Chariandy

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I don’t know why I found this book difficult to read, but I did, it was a chore. In spite of it being a short book, that should have been fairly easy to read, the book was almost too slow. The writing was good, descriptive and heartfelt but I didn’t want to read it, it didn’t grip me at all. The book tells the story of the immigrant experience of a Trinidadian family relocated to Canada. The mother works several jobs to feed and clothe her two sons Michael & Francis in an effort to keep them in school so that they don’t have to live the rest of their lives in such an impoverished area.

When we meet Michael, he is living with his grieving mother in a tower block in a district of Toronto with a high immigrant population. He sleeps in his childhood bunk bed, but the top bunk is empty and as we read the story we discover what happened to his absent brother Francis. Michael grows up in the shadow of his missing big brother, and we, as readers can see why. Francis was popular in the community and had a confidence about him that is enviable in a low-income society where violence is the norm. I didn’t love it, I didn’t really even like it that much, but I can see that it is well written and I still don’t really understand why I didn’t connect with it, so I scored it 3*, which is the same as the rest of the group. Maybe you need to give it a go?

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie

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I love Agatha Christie, I love Christmas, what could be more perfect that Agatha Christie at Christmas? Nothing, that’s what. This book, however, was unfortunately not perfect at all. I was hoping that it would be festive, with some lovely descriptions of a gorgeous, beautifully decorated tree and the delicious smells of festive food, of plum pudding or mulled wine. Sadly there was nothing particularly Christmassy about the story, it takes place in a family home at Christmas, and that’s it.

Yes, it’s a Christie Whodunnit, and one that I didn’t already know (which is in itself a Christmas miracle considering how obsessed I was with her book as a teenager), so it was a fairly enjoyable read. The joy of the story is that it didn’t take much brain-power to follow the plot, which is a lovely thing in the stressful run-up to Christmas Panto season, but it did leave me feeling a bit disappointed. I have read many Christie books and they were all better than this one, that doesn’t make it bad, but it was weak. If you like Christie give it a read, If you expect it to be Christmassy, don’t bother! I gave the book 3.5* and the other members of the group scored it between 3-4* so it’s a definite maybe for your list!

Happy Reading!

Mel x

May – In An Instant

The second month of lockdown and though I do have more time to read, I’m struggling to focus. Book Club via Zoom is a welcome distraction from the everyday monotony of life at the moment. It was a small meeting but filled with laughter.

In An Instant  – Suzanne Redfearn

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book at all, but having read the blurb, I had enough interest to whack it on the book club list and I’m glad I did. It is a really interesting idea, well written with some great characters. The story about the aftermath of a serious car crash, and how the group copes with the situation is told by 16 year old Finn who died in the crash (this is not a spoiler, it’s in the blurb) as she watches the drama unfold. The characters are so well written that I actually felt very strongly about many of them, some I loved, some I hated, but nobody was left unfinished, they each had a personality and motives for their behaviours. As a study in human nature, this was very interesting, particularly when I read the afterword and realised that the book was based on an experience that Redfearn had as a child.

Would you survive a crash off the side of a mountain road in freezing temperatures?Would you look after the others? Would you not even bother trying? Would you let your child go on holiday with another family? What would you do if you had taken someone else’s child on holiday and their life was now in danger? Would you go for help? Would you stay put, keep warm and wait to be found? These are just some of the questions that run through your head whilst reading this book, it really makes you think and honestly had me hooked. I picked up the book and read it within 24 hrs because I wanted to know what would happen next. Was it perfect? No, and one aspect really irritated me, but it was very very good and I would definitely recommend it. I gave this book 4.5* and the rest off the group scored it 4*- 4.5*, if you’re stuck for a summer read, give it a go, you’ll probably like it, you might even love it!

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

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Well this is a modern classic, it doesn’t make it to many ‘100 books you should read in your lifetime’ lists, but it is considered a classic and has been made into a film twice and a TV show. There was a lot of hype surrounding the Netflix show which I ignored, mostly because I’m not really a fan of horror films/TV so I had no real idea what to expect from the book. What I did expect however was to be scared or freaked out by the story, having read that it is often considered the best ghost story of the 20th century. I’m honestly not sure how it was ever labelled the best, I can only assume that there were very few ghost stories written in the 20th century. The story was not scary at all, it didn’t even have me on the edge of my seat the way a good thriller does, it all seemed a little vague and though the writing is very good, the story is not and I truly don’t understand the status that this book has.

The characters in the book are fairly interesting and for the most part they are well developed. The synopsis: Dr Montague has an interest in the occult and as such has an interest in Hill house which is renowned as a haunted house. He rents Hill House for a summer, then invites several people (carefully chosen because of their past experience with paranormal events) to stay with him. Only two of those invited accept, they are Theadora and Eleanor and along with Dr Montague and Luke, who is the heir to the house, they will stay at the house for the summer. They are greeted by the housekeeper Mrs Dudley and her husband, who are happy to set the house up for the group, but will not stay there and have a very rigid way of working. I have my own theories about Mrs Dudley, that would explain the guests experiences in the house, but I will not share as they may spoil the plot. The book was OK, I didn’t hate it but I was disappointed, I wanted to be on the edge of my seat, I wanted unputdownable anxiety reading, what I got was a little story about a creepy house, meh… I gave the book 3* and the rest of the group agreed. It’s not a long or difficult read, but don’t expect earth shattering fiction.

Happy Reading!
Mel x

 

 

February – The Mars Room

Winter is nearly done and spring is on its merry little way. This week there are buds on the trees, crocus in the flower bed and I can go to work in the daylight, things are looking up!

The Mars Room – Rachel Kushner

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The Mars Room intrigued me, on reading the blurb and I expected great things, sadly great things are not delivered. The Mars Room is a story about some prisoners who are all guilty of their crimes, though for the most part sentenced to more time than appropriate. This is infused with stories about their past lives and the lives of their lovers and victims, the problem is that the author tried to be clever by bouncing back and forth between characters and also in time and somewhere in amongst all that I stopped trying to follow it, I just didn’t care enough to stick with it. I felt little for the characters, aside from Serenity Smith, who it was easy to care for given that she was so broken.

The fact that the justice system in California is not fit for purpose is no surprise and the treatment of prisoners, while sad did not shock, sadly, it felt very much like reading a political message, rather than a work of fiction. The ending was lacking, firstly, It was unbelievable and secondly, it was abrupt and didn’t satisfy the reader. Having invested time in the story and stuck with it while it bounced about like a 3-year-old in a trampoline park, I felt shortchanged by that ending, but to be honest, by this point I was not surprised. Actually, I was shortchanged by the whole book, it really didn’t deliver on any level and my final thought on the story is ‘So what?’ I gave this book 2* as did the rest of the group. Honestly, read something else instead!

The Lady in the Lake – Raymond Chandler

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In spite of loving detective novels, I had never read a Raymond Chandler novel until now. I am not sure why, but I do know that the Lady in the Lake will not be the last. I love the way Chandler writes, it draws you in and walks you through the story comfortable in the knowledge that Marlowe is in control and it will all work out in the end. So you don’t read, you watch. You watch as Philip Marlowe talks to suspects, cops and witnesses, you watch him sneak into houses and climb through windows and you watch as he gets himself into crazy stressful situations, but you never lose faith that he will find the answers and everything will be ok.

Derace Kingsley’s wife is missing and Philip Marlowe is hired to find her. When his search leads him to the discovery of a different dead woman; Muriel Chess, Marlowe has questions and people are going to answer them. Where is Crystal Kingsley? And who killed Muriel Chess? And what did Chris Lavery or Dr. Almore have to do with it? The only problem that I had with the book is that I knew how it was going to end as soon as the lady in the lake was found. Whether that is because I am a murder mystery fan (Hitchcock and Christie) or because it was too obvious I don’t know, but I am happy to read another of Chandler’s books and see! I gave this book 4* because I loved it. The rest of the group gave it 3.5 – 4* and we’re all going to read some more Chandler!

Happy Reading!
Mel x

January – The Exact Opposite of Okay

I didn’t choose these two books with a theme in mind, but there is a definite ‘Strong independent women’ link. The books are very different, but both have a storyline that explores a threat to the progression of women’s rights. 

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

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This book is pretty much the exact opposite of anything that I would normally choose to read. It is a Young Adult book, which in itself is not a problem, as I have read some pretty good YA books, but the book being about the sex life of a teenage girl and the ramification of her choices, would usually make me walk away. I have little to no interest in what teenagers get up to sexually, and am acutely aware of how the internet can be used as a weapon by bullies, so what was to be gained from reading this book? In all honesty, it turned out, for me, not much.

Did I hate it? No! I thought it was pretty well written (though I think the author would have been wise to set it in the UK, as it didn’t feel like America), and I can see why it is very well regarded as both a cautionary tale and a feminist book for millennials. Firstly it’s easy to see how Izzy, young, free and independent would think nothing of sleeping with two guys, it is after all her business and hers alone. It is also easy to see how, in this day and age, when everyone has a camera in their pocket, a voyeur at a party might film these sexual encounters. Wrong? Totally. Likely? Unfortunately Yes! Teenagers these days have so much more to worry about than we ever did in the 1980s.

Is it okay to sleep with multiple men if you are a single woman? Is it okay to slut-shame women who do? Is it okay to film people being intimate and share this online? Is it okay that people share nudes with their partner and then after a split, these are shared online?  Is it okay that women are judged more harshly for having sex or being naked than men are? Is it okay that your text messages can be used as a weapon against you? Is it okay that once something is put online it can never really be removed? All of these questions and more are covered by this book, the answer is, of course, NO it’s not okay. But it happens, and if this book makes our kids think a little more and try a little harder to be decent human beings then it is a winner! I gave the book 3* because I think if I was target audience, it would really get to me. The rest of the group gave it 2 – 3*.

Stepford Wives – Ira Levin

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So, this book was on a list of books that I thought I should get round to reading at some point, I had no expectations really, just hoped that it would be well written. I did have some knowledge of the story, in that for most of my life people have referred to women that they considered to be perfect homemakers as ‘Stepford Wives’. I had assumed this meant women who were pretending or forced to behave in this way, having been brainwashed, drugged or beaten into submission. The story, however, is even more sinister. I will not spoil it in case you have never read the book, but I was hooked.

for such a short book this had a huge impact. I watched as Joanna’s perfect new life in the town of Stepford unravelled. I felt panic as I realised that the town was hiding a sinister secret and I willed Joanna and her friend to discover what was going on and to get out of there. I loved this book, I read it in one sitting, It is a perfect rainy afternoon read. Even better, stick it in your bag when you are going on a train or plane, it isn’t heavy and is definitely worth a couple of hours of your time. I gave it a score of 5* and the rest of the group 4 – 5*, a little gem of a book which will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Happy Reading!
Mel x

November – Ordinary Grace

November, the first cold month of the year and the perfect time to snuggle up with a hot chocolate and a good book…or two.

Ordinary Grace – William Kent Krueger

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I bought Ordinary Grace in New York about three years ago and it has sat on my shelf since. I needed a reason to read it, so I added it to the book club list and in October I finally turned the first page, then the second, third, and so on until it was finished. This is a beautifully written book, that sucks you into Frank Drum’s world in 1961 and then spits you out forty years later.

The book opens with the death of a young boy who is accidentally killed while playing near the railroad tracks. This is the first in a series of tragedies that unfold in New Bremen as the summer progresses. As the church minister, Nathan, Frank’s father is involved when anything happens in the town and being curious Frank and his brother see and hear more than is healthy for a couple of young boys. The book is reflective and beautiful, even though it is tragic, this can be seen in quotes such as this one “The dead are never far from us. They’re in our hearts and on our minds and in the end all that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air.”

This is a story of relationships, all of them incredibly well written and real. Nathan’s friend Gus and his relationship with the family is central to the story and gives Frank and Jake the support of a third parental figure throughout their formative years. Gus is as close to the family as it is possible for an outsider to be. When the boys discover the intricacies of life and death, at such a young age and so close to home it rocks their world but Gus is there to help them through. I gave Ordinary Grace 4.5* and the rest of the group gave it 4*. A perfect summer read if you fancy something a bit different.

Lost Boy – Christina Henry

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Aaaargh, so disappointed. Having read (beware the claws that catch) Alice and loved it enough to buy it for several people that year for Christmas, I expected great things from Lost Boy. Alas, this book left a lot to be desired. The biggest issue was the lack of description. Whether the author assumed that we already knew Neverland enough to picture it for ourselves or just neglected to paint a picture of this world I’m not sure, but for me, it was a huge problem. I do not know Peter Pan’s world and the lack of description left me unable to picture it at all. Yes, there is a map in the front of the book, but it is a crudely drawn 2D map, which does nothing to paint an adequate picture of this 3D world.

I suppose I should admit that I don’t really know the Peter Pan story. I mean, I know some of it, doesn’t everyone? but I was never a fan and hadn’t ever even bothered to watch the film, so really Neverland was a mystery to me. So, Henry tells the story of the lost boys, with one of the group as the lead character, and this is an interesting take on who they are and how they got there but it didn’t draw me in at all. Peter Pan is painted as a cruel manipulator and their world is one of violence, not the forever young fantasy that we have come to expect. If you want to read a wonderfully dark twisted take on a fairy tale read Christina Henry’s Alice, you won’t regret it. I gave Lost Boy 3* because the story was ok and I did want to finish it. The rest of the group gave it 4*.

Happy Reading

Mel x

October – Vox

Urgh it’s getting cold again, the only joy is that curling up in a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book is one of my favourite things to do, now where did I put my blanket?

Vox – Christina Dalcher

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Vox is yet another dystopian future book, which tells of a future in which an extreme right-wing government are responsible for the regression of human rights in America. Women and girls are fitted with wristband counters which limit the number of words they can speak per day to 100, after which they receive electric shocks. The concept is interesting; what happens to people if the ability to communicate is taken away? Unfortunately, the book was incredibly slow in getting started, so much so that I honestly thought I would give up on it. At page 50 I decided to give it another 50 pages so that I could join in the chat at book club. At page 100 I still didn’t love it, but there was enough going on to keep me reading, so it did pick up.

The story focussed far too much on Jean and her relationships and Dalcher left several characters, who had a lot of potential undeveloped. I wanted to know more about the mailman, his wife and the neighbours, however, the author sadly seemed to think it unimportant. The story is decent, though not particularly well written, and the main part of the book kept me interested enough to keep reading. Then it ended, I mean it just ended, and for me, (and the other book club members) the ending was deeply unsatisfying. I found it hard to rate this book because it wasn’t good, but I did get hooked for a while, so I rated it 2.5* and the others agreed. It’s an ok book that could’ve been much better.

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

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Wow! What a fantastic, well written, beautiful, heart-breaking book. Conor lives alone with his mother, and his mother is ill, very ill. Conor is only thirteen and he has been caring for his mum for over a year. He is mature in so many ways, but he is still just a child who is trying hard to be strong, to look after himself, to support his mum and to cope with the fear of the very real possibility of losing his mum. Conor is plagued by regular nightmares that he tries to push away, in these a creature tries to drag his mother over the edge of a cliff, and Conor is unable to hold onto her and save her.  His guilt over these calls the monster, which takes the form of a huge old yew tree. The monster says that it will tell Conor three stories during their next meetings, after which Conor must tell him a fourth tale in return.

The story is filled with emotion, difficult relationships and tough decisions, it is magical, yet real and human all at once. This young adult book is hard to read but utterly divine and it’s not difficult to see why it has been made into a film and a play. Ness wrote the story based on an idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd (whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself). I gave the book 4.5* and so did Carly, who was the only other one at the meeting who read it.
Happy Reading!
Mel x

September – Circe

The summer is over and it’s back to the grind, but there’s still book club! I love mythology, I studied Classics at school and read the Iliad so this month’s book should have been right up my street…

Circe – Madeline Miller

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Circe is a goddess of magic, enchantress or sorceress in Greek mythology. She is a daughter of the god Helios and the Oceanid nymph Perse, and this is her story. Circe is not accepted as a goddess by the Gods, she is not as beautiful as the others, and she has a human voice, for which she is ridiculed and belittled. As her story develops we discover that Circe has the power of magic, it is then that her story gets interesting. In the Odyssey Circe is little more than a plot device to hinder Odysseus, one in a string of challenges the hero must overcome to return to the shores of Ithaca. This gave Miller the ability to invent a life for Circe with little restriction, which she did fairly successfully.

Miller’s Circe is a strong female character, who forges her own path and does not always follow the rules that the Gods lay down, as such she is interesting and has quite a story to tell. Personally, I was disappointed that Miller tried to tie Circe’s story into those of many other well-known characters from Greek mythology including Odysseus, Daedalus, Hermes, among others. It seemed all too convenient that she had met so many other gods at exactly the times when huge events in their lives were happening. The book was easy to read and I did not put it down, but it didn’t change my life, the ending is deeply unsatisfying and I have already forgotten most of it. With this in mind, I gave it 3* with the group giving it between 3*- 4*. It was a good summer read.

The life of a Banana – P P Wong

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‘The Life of a Banana’ is a young adult novel which follows Xing Li in her struggle to try and fit into two very different cultures. Xing Li is what many Chinese people call a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). Having been raised in England with western values by a mother who wanted very much for her children to fit in, Xing Li finds it difficult to acclimatise when her mother dies and she moves into her grandmother’s house. She also has to find her own voice among white racist learners in the prestigious school she is sent to. Jay, a Chinese Jamaican boy, becomes her friend and they support each other through daily abuse at the hands of their racist peers.

The book made me aware of the issues facing children torn between two cultures. I was absolutely aware that Chinese people suffer racist abuse in the UK, but never considered that they were also being derided by members of the Chinese community for not being Chinese enough. Xing Li’s grandmother is proud of her culture and doesn’t understand why her daughter and her children would want to be western. Equally, the children do not understand why their grandmother would move to the UK and not want to adapt. The book is incredibly hard-hitting and also very important in helping young people understand how difficult life can be for kids that don’t fit in. I gave the book 4.5* and have shared it with my teenagers, the others rated it 3.5* – 4.5*. Give it a read, it isn’t going to take too long and is well worth the time commitment.

Happy reading

Mel x

August – The Western Wind

I love August! I actually have time to sit and read, sure I have to balance that with all of the other things that have spent all year planning to do in the summer, but I still have far more time than usual. So August is a three-book month for the book club and the joy of that is that the group can choose to read 1, 2 or all 3 without any pressure.

Samantha Harvey – The Western Wind

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Set in the English village of Oakham in 1491, this is narrated by local priest John Reve, who learns everything there is to know about his neighbours through his time in the confession box, which is an early version of the confession box as it is today. The most notable this about this book is that it reads backwards: Starts on the day that the body is found in the river and then connects the storylines from the days prior. This unusual writing style did not work well in my opinion, which is a shame because it is certainly different. So the story focusses on the fact that there is a body in the river and we eventually discover how it came to be there.

The biggest issue for me was that I didn’t really care about the dead man, or who killed him. The middle of the book was slow-moving, and in trying to link the story backwards Harvey went over some things repeatedly which was a slog. Another issue was the language, this is mostly modern, but sometimes it’s olde-worlde and this inconsistency along with the backward story just makes it overly complex. Harvey has clearly completed a lot of historical and religious research, and that at least was interesting, unfortunately, the murder mystery, not so much. The group gave this book 2* and I totally agree.

Hilary Mantel – Fludd

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The book is set in the 1950’s in a village and based around the goings on at the local church. This, if nothing else made it difficult at times for me to remember which book was which this month, but it also enabled comparisons to be drawn between the two at the meeting. The book started resonably weel, it was kind of funny and quirky enough for me to be interested in what would happen next.

I’m not sure what to think if I’m honest. I didn’t love it, I’m not even sure that I liked it, but it wasn’t awful, I just feel like it didn’t do anything for me at all. The story seemed to go round in a huge circle, and there was little worth reading in the middle. Fludd, the mysterious character who turns up to shake up the village was supposed to add intrigue, is he a priest? Angel? Devil? To be honest I really didn’t care. I gave the book 1.5* because if I had to choose which book I preferred The Western Wind would win by a whisker. The others at the meeting liked it more than I did and gave the book 3*, but I suspect even they have forgotten it by now.

Julian Barnes – The Only Story

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Ok so as soon as I got far enough into this book to understand the relationship that the story was dealing with, my back was up. I was immediately uncomfortable with this romance and found it difficult to think of it as anything other than inappropriate.  The story did little to convince me otherwise, particularly when Susan drinks and Paul’s youth is stolen. Susan is a similar age to me and Paul (her lover) 19 years old, I could not think of him as anything other than a child, and for a woman almost 30 years his senior to seduce him made me feel quite ill.

In telling the story of their relationship the author asks the reader “Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.” No Julian, the real question is ‘Why didn’t I stop reading this book when I wanted to and spend my time reading something more worthwhile?’ The answer is Book Club, it makes me stick with some god awful books, and this is one of them. I gave the book 2* because it is at least well written.  Weirdly, the rest of the group seemed to like it and gave it 3-3.5*, so you know what? You need to decide for yourself. 😉

Happy Reading
Mel x

July – The Psychology of Time Travel

Ooooh, it must be Sci-Fi month. This was not intentional at all, but it seems that we travelled into the realms of science fiction in July and for me, it was a refreshing change.

The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

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A book about time travel and psychology, I’m in! Throw in a murder mystery and a romance out of time and I am hooked. Yes, this book grabbed my attention right away and held it until I finished the story two days later.  Was it perfect? no, but it was fun and it had so many twists and turns that I wanted to unravel that I really enjoyed reading it. The good: It’s a female-led novel with some really strong characters, a romance out of time and a murder that seems impossible. The main characters are well developed and for the most part very likeable and lovely relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter. The bad: There are too many characters and no time to develop some of them fully. The story is complicated and though I read the book quickly and it was hard to follow at times, if I had read it over a month or two I suspect I would be totally lost.

At the book club meeting, one of the girls suggested that it was too short and could easily have been much longer, maybe even a trilogy. This would have given the author scope to develop some of the other characters and maybe the plot could’ve been less rushed and therefore less complicated. It is a great holiday read but beware, our copy did not fare well in the sun, the glue became brittle and pages started to fall out, so if possible keep it in the shade. I really liked this book and would definitely recommend it, scoring it 4* and the other members of the group gave it 3.5*.

The Word for World is Forest – Ursula K Le Guin

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A fascinating wee book which takes the reader far into the future to a time when humans have destroyed the earth and are now taking over the planet Athshe. The humans have enslaved the placid native Athsheans and are destroying vast areas of the forest cutting down the trees to send wood back to Earth (Terra). The alarm bells started immediately for me; have they learnt nothing from destroying the Earth? Can you just colonise a new planet and make the natives work for you? How do they know that these Athsheans are non-aggressive? I mean it seemed like a recipe for disaster before I had even read the first 10 pages.

I will give nothing else away, but I will say that although it didn’t change my life, I really enjoyed reading this book. The way Le Guin writes is beautiful even when the subject matter is ugly and the joy of this book is that you can read it in a day, so if you are dragged into the story, as I was, you don’t have to put it down. I did find it a little predictable at times and would’ve liked more in the way of character development but I guess that’s difficult in a novella. I gave this book 3* and the only other member of the group who read it gave it 4*, so it’s a definite yes from us.

Happy Reading!

Mel x

May – Kill Your Friends

I’m not sure that any other two books can be more different than these. For the first time in the history of the book club, I didn’t finish either of the two books, I will try to explain why, but this blog will probably be a little short.

John Niven – Kill Your Friends

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I can’t explain quite how disappointed I was with this, although I did not choose the book for the group, I truly wanted to love it. The story takes place in 1997 and is set in the music industry, this intrigued me as I worked for a record company in 1997. I went to Midem, which is the setting for chapter 1 and to the Brit Awards (in 1995) etc so I was really keen to read this book.
Yes, it is grim and unpleasant to read, but that was not the problem here, I have read some pretty dark and violent books, so I am fairly difficult to shock. Sadly, having read the first two chapters I could not be bothered to carry on. I get that the book is labelled satire, but it’s just not that clever in my opinion. I found it dull, repetitive and overall pretty badly written. The only way to describe this book is that it is utter tripe. It is the first time ever that I wanted to put a book in the recycle bin rather than pass it on to some other poor unsuspecting reader. I give this book 0* and others who read it, or like me gave up after a few chapters gave it the same. Steer clear if you value your time is our advice, there are many many great books out there that you could be reading instead.

Jane Austen – Persuasion 

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Persuasion was a relief after the rubbish that is ‘Kill your Friends’ if nothing else Jane Austen writes well. I went into this book convinced that I would love it, after all, I loved pride and prejudice on the TV, and that wasn’t just for Colin Firth, I really got caught up in the story and I love a period drama. I had never read Austen before and was expecting to fall in love with this book, but no, I did not fall in love, in fact, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I read the first three chapters and it was so utterly dull that I just couldn’t face reading even another page. I can’t fully explain why I was so bored by the story, maybe it was the absence of danger in the romance, as found in books by Du Maurier and Bronte. Maybe it was just that I didn’t really like any of the characters, nor did I care about their financial situations. I gave the book 1* because at least Austen showed some talent in her writing, however, two other members of the group read this and loved it, giving it 5* each so I guess it’s just not my thing *shrugs* C’est la vie!

Happy Reading!
Mel x