Literary Life: Summer in Review

In the absence of any desire to write any reviews, here is an (extremely sub par) haiku.

I can’t write my blog
but it could be worse
My reading block has gone, yay

Bring on the glorious, glorious cold. I don’t own a disgusting amount of jumpers for fun.

Currently Reading:

Devotion by Patti Smith
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Unfinished:

None!

I’ve Read:

  1. One of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus
  2. The Haunted Hotel – Wilkie Collins
  3. Someone Else’s Skin – Sarah Hilary
  4. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
  5. Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb
  6. The Roanoke Girls – Amy Engel
  7. The Limehouse Golem – Peter Ackroyd
  8. The Wonder – Emma Donoghue
  9. Elmet – Fiona Mozley
  10. History of Wolves – Emily Fridlund
  11. New People – Danzy Senna
  12. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  13. Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders

Nothing will ever be as good as Elmet, life has peaked.

So, read anything good recently?

It’s like that (and that’s the way it is)

I’ve written before about how my taste in books have changed since I began reading obsessively. My enjoyment of the lighter side of fiction began to wane as I discovered deeper, weightier literature. Snob that I am.

Yet, in the last year, I’ve seen my tastes change again. I began reading less due to starting a more stressful job, and even though I’ve since left that job and have been almost a month at my new company, that desire to consume every book I see still hasn’t returned. Which means when I do read, I crave distraction.

 kristen stewart twilight robert pattinson new moon GIF

Murder! Mystery! ….. Dragons?! Yup, if it occupies my mind with puzzle solving or a land unlike my own, I’m sold. Teens suspected of murder? I’m there. Nordic detectives? Hot damn. Sparkling vampires? …… I will never sink so low (gif aside).

Ahem.

Engrossing novels of this manner I have read recently:

 halloween book reading humour read GIF

But I’m also picky – if the story is great but their comparing eyelashes to tree branches (I’ve never read it, but I am certain it’s a thing) count me out. So I need your help (Elena and Jenny, I’m looking at you both). Give me my next adventure.

 


Recommend me your favourite Crime or Fantasy novels!

My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

I put off reading My Name is Lucy Barton for months, I read the synopsis and just thought, “ugh” (you’ve read this before, I know, I judge a book by its synopsis). However, I recently won £50 worth of books and it seemed like the perfect time to indulge in a something different and challenge my pessimism.

Unsurprisingly (?) my prejudice was proven wrong, I loved the book, I even ordered Olive Kitteridge from Waterstones – I enjoyed it that much.

My Name is Lucy Barton“Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.” GoodReads.

Lucy Barton wakes one day in the hospital to find her mother sitting at the end of the bed, who she hasn’t seen since before her marriage. Lucy escaped a life of abject poverty (and unspoken abuse), a past she is unable to acknowledge outside her own writing. No matter how far she runs away from her past, through education or her affluent marriage, her past informs her present. As her mother’s five-day visitation progresses and in their own way they reminisce, Lucy’s inability to address her problems comes to the fore.

My Name is Lucy Barton is a beautiful, heartbreaking, but also a very real story of one woman accepting herself. I felt as though Lucy was chatting to me, she was a friend I wanted to console and advise.

I am struggling to describe why I liked this novel so much, it’s almost beyond words. I loved it as I loved First Love by Gwendoline Riley – they are both sparse stories, telling you more in the gaps in the protagonist narration than they do in the narration itself. It’s the same reason I love watching Gavin and Stacey, I feel as though I am experiencing a reflection of life, realism at its greatest.

This is a book worth reading and at less than 200 pages easily devoured within a day or afternoon.


Have you read anything by Elizabeth Strout?
What did you think?