This is a small selection of books I have read the latter half of the year that I have loved, but not yet reviewed.
Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn
I just don’t have the words to explain why I love this book – it’s up there with Parade’s End and The Reader in brilliance. It tackles such a difficult subject, which I won’t spoil or attempt to discuss, and so much happens without much actually happening. Aubyn is a master of characters, they are so real they carry a beautifully eventless plot. I’ve mentioned many a time the importance I put on realistic characters, and Aubyn delivers. Never Mind covers a day in the life of the Melrose family and friends; as the day unfolds you drift into the psyche of each of them, and with the exception of Patrick there is no one who you particularly like – but plenty of characters to loath.
Maggie & Me: A Memoir by Damian Barr
I met Barr while volunteering at the Brighton Festival, but didn’t get around to reading his book till a few months after. It is a moving memoir of a homosexua child in a very unfriendly – but occasionally loving – environment. I was shocked by events in Barr’s childhood, but amazing by where he has gone since – cried my way through a fair amount too.
I Am Not Myself These Days: A Memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
I have never read a memoir like this before and I am so glad I took the advice from a fellow blogger (whom I now forget, apologies) and added it to my Amazon basket. Josh is an advertiser by day and drag queen, Aqua, by night; the book covers Josh’s time with Jack, his crack addicted callboy boyfriend. It’s a turbulent relationship – passionate and fractured – occurring in Josh’s early life in NYC.
Magda by Meike Ziervogel
When it came to studying WW2 at school, the allied story was dull to me, I didn’t enjoy studying it as it was given to me wrapped with propaganda in a haze of tedium. It wasn’t until post university that I came back to this part of history, and with the help of The Reader I became fascinated by the stories of regular German citizens during and following WW2. Magda is the fictional story of Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph Goebbels, and the end of the war. Multiple characters are covered, each in different methods of storytelling, from diary entries to interview transcriptions. It’s harrowing, even with the element of humanisation.
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
I bought this book after reading Emily’s review, she made it sound incredibly appealing and so I bumped it up my to-read list and dived in. Moon Tiger is the history of the world, the world of Claudia Hampton. It’s wonderfully disjointed and skips point of view with delightful speed. Although I initially found beginning it difficult, I soon got lost in its pages. Claudia is a historian; she has an intellectually symbiotic relationship with her brother Gordon, an intense sexual relationship with the volatile Jasper and an underwhelming relationship with her daughter Lisa – who never quite meets her intellectual expectations.