Almost 5* – Our favourite books so far

Hey! Did you know that Turn the page book club is 2 years old? I feel like we should have a party with Jelly and Ice cream and party games, but I can’t be bothered to make Jelly and my freezer is shite, so I have decided to celebrate by sharing a list of our favourite books. Here are the book that scored a collective 4.5* out of 5.

Holes – Louis Sachar

I gorgeous wee book, intended for kids, but written so beautifully that adults are charmed by it too! I gave this my first 5* rating.

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Elizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

Fast forward to August 2015, and this was our 2nd book for the month, it was and unexpectedly beautiful wee book, and all who read it loved it.

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Room – Emma Donoghue

A tough read, with a lot of heartbreaking moments, we fell in love with this book as we fell in love with 5 year old Jack, and wanted nothing more than for him to experience the world outside his room.

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Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel

The book with the beautiful cover, this post apocalyptic story was a big hit with the group. It isn’t what I’d call gritty, but it does make you ponder the future.

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A man called Ove

Wonderful with a capital W, my second 5* book came in December 2015 in the shape of Ove. I loved that cantankerous old git, and cared very much about his life and the fact that he was ready to end it. It was funny, it was sad, it was pretty damn near perfect!

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The boy in the striped pyjamas – John Boyne

It will come as no surprise that we rated this highly, it’s always rated highly, and there is a reason for that, it is so utterly heartbreaking real that you cannot fail to be moved.

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The language of flowers – Vanessa Diffenbaugh

It wasn’t heartbreaking, but had a lot of heart. It also had a lot of flowers, and we found ourselves hoplessly intrigued by the meanings of these flowers. It is not perfect, but I think that the best word for this book is spellbinding.

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Stoner – John Edward Williams

It’s the book where ‘nothing happens’, well nothing significant anyway. Stoner simply lives his life, and we watch him do it. In theory this book sounds dull, but it really pulls you in. This is a remarkable book because it is is beautifully written that it doesn’t matter that there is no plot, we loved it anyway.

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The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project is a joy, it’s funny, it’s full of heart, and it kind of succeeds in explaining to some extent what Asperger’s Syndrome is like from the perspective of someone with it. Think Sheldon from TBBT and you’re part of the way there, it’s just lush.

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The Universe vs Alex woods – Gavin Extence

You’re 17 years old and you have just been stopped coming back into the country with a dead man in your passenger seat and a glove box full of dope, that’s how the book starts, enjoy!

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The Kite runner – Khaled Hosseini

A gorgeous, beautifully descriptive book. The Kite Runner paints a thousand pictures, some are beautiful, exotic and romatic, others are dark and violent, but all evoke emotions. This is a roller coaster ride, and you will be glad that you got on it.

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In cold blood – Truman Capote

This book is really chilling, it’s the story of real life story of Perry & Bobby, who killed a family in Kansas in 1956. The book is written as though it is a work of fiction, but it is not, it is a true life crime and the story was written after Capote spent many hours interviewing the two boys.

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The vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie O’Farrell

One of my favourite books EVER! I read this years ago and loved it, then it went on the book club list and I worried that on reading it again I would feel differently, I didn’t. For me this is an easy 5*, I adore the characters and the plot is fantastic, the rest of the group loved it too luckily.

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I let you go – Clare MacKintosh

A thriller that thrilled at long last! We were all absolutely thrown by the plot twist and just thought that it was so well written that we all gave it really high scores. There was one part of the plot which I didn’t love so I gave it 4* but it was a definite hit.

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After 2 years and 50+ books we have fourteen 4.5* rated books, I’d say that was fairly successful. Of course we have read some utter crap, but I have only given up on 2 books and to be fair Karen even finished Lolita, so we are a hardcore group of bibliophiles. So, as long as people keep writing them, we’ll keep reading them, and who knows maybe one day we’ll find that illusive 5* book.

Happy Reading!
Mel x

September -Room

This book was a challenge, mostly because I had tried to read it before, and had to give up. The style of writing was too much to cope with when I was not focussed, but in July Steph said “We should all read Room”, so in September, we did!

Room – Emma Donoghue

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On my second attempt, it took me about 30 pages to get used to the style, because it is written first person by a 5 year old boy named Jack. Jack and his Ma live in ‘Room’, and the reason for this is heartbreaking. Ma was kidnapped 7 years earlier and Jack was born in Room, this is a tough story, and it is no wonder that many people feel they cannot read it. I do not want to spoil the book, so I will just say this, while it is bad, it’s not as bad as your imagination.

All of the main characters in the book are well written, and I felt the desperation of Ma’s situation and Jack’s innocent acceptance of his world, so clearly. I thought the book was clever, and the mother’s love for her child, in spite of the circumstances of his conception and birth was just beautiful. There were things about this book that I did not like, I frequently got irritated by it, and at our book club meeting I ranted about so many little things, that the group were expecting a poor rating from me. I did not give the book a poor rating, I liked it, I liked it so much that I had a rant about all of the bits that had annoyed me, it was so near perfect, that I was angry that it wasn’t.

This story, based on the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl’s incarceration, at the hands of her father, is emotionally exhausting, you feel anger, empathy, fear, hatred, love, relief and many more emotions in between. I will leave it there and recommend it as a very good read, however I will say that the film just came out and I saw it this week, it left out the bits that irritated me, so on this occasion I think possibly the film is better than the book, and certainly equal to. As a group we rated Room with an average of 4.5* and this was also my rating.

Paradise News – David Lodge

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I did not love this book, I did not even really like this book, but it did not offend me enough to give up on it. It was, for want of a better word… Meh! Few read this book (I think maybe only 3 of us), but none were particularly impressed, there are many storylines crossing over in the book, and many characters. I quite liked Bernard and loved his dying aunt Ursula, who was beautifully described, and a colourful character, but apart from these two, all of the other characters were ok, but I really didn’t care about them, or their holiday enough to enjoy this book. The only thing that I got from the book was that I never want to go to Hawaii, as it is plastic and touristy, and not at all the paradise I imagined. When I said this at the meeting, one of the members of the group (think it was Steph) wrote a note on her book that simply read “Go to the Maldives, NOT Hawaii” :-D. On average we gave the book a 3* rating, it’s the sort of book you pick up off the small bookshelf in a hotel in Turkey, when you have forgotten to bring enough books, and it does the job, but that’s about it.

Have fun reading!!