I have read so many great books recently that I thought I would do a round up post of them all. The book club is sadly neglected as I have been swamped with other things and haven’t had time to do it but will resurrect it next year hopefully. In the meantime I wanted to share with you some books I have enjoyed in the past few months, not all of them fiction.
In fact the first one is one I have loved for a while and took out for another read recently. Well I say “read” I mean stare at the pictures as they are so beautiful. This book just makes me want to be a better person all round. It sounds idyllic and I want to crawl inside the book and live this life.
I am of course talking about Cherry Menlove‘s “The Handmade Home”. In a chapter entitled “Early Autumn Evenings Around the TV” Cherry tells you not only how to make paprika popcorn in cones, strawberry daiquiris and pizza but gives you a list of DVDs you should choose from and how to make big TV cushions.
We are going to be seeing Cherry speak at the Henley Literary Festival this evening and I cannot wait. I missed her at Britmums this year so it will be a thrill to be in the same room and I am hoping some of her creativity will rub off on me. Either that or I can just shove her in my oversized hand bag.
Next up three novels that all had me gripped and all in different ways:
The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer, a new author. This book left me a bit stunned after I had finished it. Well worth a read, particularly if you read quite quickly and have a spare rainy afternoon to curl up on the sofa. You won’t be able to put it down
I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.
Life after Life is the latest by Kate Atkinson who in my eyes can do no wrong. This is a 470+ page turner and set in 1910. You need to concentrate in the opening chapters as it tells two stories in parallel but after that it is an effortless read and pulls you in.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath.
During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances?
Think Groundhog Day, think Sliding Doors, think. Actually don’t think. Just put it on your Christmas list.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is another debut novel. This one set in In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. She is sent to an isolated farm for her last months to live with a family who are horrified to be living with a murderer. But is she a murderer?
Agnes’s story begins to emerge and with it the family’s terrible realization that all is not as they had assumed. Based on actual events, Burial Rites is an astonishing and moving novel about the truths we claim to know and the ways in which we interpret what we’re told.
And then last up on the list of great books I have read this summer is an autobiographical book by Viv Groskop. Now we couldn’t miss Viv at Britmums as she had THE most amazing sparkly hot pants on to present the BiBs. So I got a couple of hugs from her when collecting both my award and that of Team Honk’s with Annie and Penny. Viv is hilarious. Female comedians often leave me cold. Or should I say, did until I both heard Viv and then read her book
Viv’s book I laughed, I cried. How one woman took on stand up and (almost) ruined her life is a diary of her decision to do 100 gigs in 100 days. Not just the logistics of how you do when you have a husband and small children but also just how you get a comedy club booker to book you when you don’t really have a track record. How terrifying it must be to stand in front of an audience. Will there even be an audience?
Along the way she is heckled, flattered, hated, hit on and told that she is ‘reasonably funny – but you don’t really have any material, do you, love?’ So is this the start of an exciting new life? Or a delusional experiment doomed to failure?
Reading this book, I did too laughed and cried. It is brilliant. And Viv’s husband sounds like an incredible man!
All these books are out now from retailers everywhere (preferably an independent on your high street rather than one of those online ones that don’t pay taxes)