The Power

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Read 22/12/2017-28/12/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Naomi Alderman’s Women’s Prize for Fiction-winning novel The Power has been talked about so much, that I felt like I knew it before I started to read it. The book wasn’t the speculative dystopian novel that I was expecting it to be, though. Instead, I found a political crime thriller that is exciting and tension-filled, making for a pacey and entertaining read. Continue reading

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Lincoln in the Bardo

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Read 12/12/2017-22/12/2017

Rating: 3 stars

I went into this novel blind. I’ve heard of George Saunders. He features in Nick Offerman’s book Gumption. He’s someone I’ve been meaning to read but never got round to. Lincoln in the Bardo won the 2017 Booker Prize. It was on the shelf in the library last time I went in to change my books, and someone had recently told me I should read it.

The same someone told me that Lincoln in the Bardo is a strange book, boring for long stretches then, just as you’re about to give up on it, something interesting happens that hooks you back in. They also told me that it was kind of like Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, but not.

It’s certainly a strange book. Continue reading

Winter: a chat with Weezelle

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Read 07/12/2017-12/12/2017

Rating: 4 stars

When I read and commented on Weezelle’s review of Autumn, and mentioned that I had both Autumn and Winter next in line for reading, Weezelle suggested that we wrote a joint review of the second book in the sequence. So here we are.

We live on opposite sides of the globe (don’t you love the internet? Please, America, don’t end Net Neutrality), and had to negotiate an 11 hour time difference, as well as Weezelle moving house. Through the magic of Twitter DMs and cut & paste, we had a wonderful, wide ranging discussion. Continue reading

Autumn

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Read 02/12/2017-06/12/2017

Rating: 5 stars

I’m a recent convert to the writing of Ali Smith. The first of hers I picked up from the library was How to be Both, her 2016 Women’s Prize for Fiction winner. I followed that up with There But For The. There are others in the library that I will also borrow. I bought Autumn with my birthday money. I liked the sound of a quartet of books about contemporary Britain rooted in the seasons. I liked the sound of the first in the quartet being about the EU Referendum and everything that surrounds that central cataclysm in recent British life. I liked that Smith chose to start in my favourite season.

The book is beautiful. One of the main characters, Daniel, is in a care home, drifting in and out of consciousness, dreaming about his death. He’s a centenarian. The other main character is Elisabeth. She is more than sixty years younger than Daniel, but they have been lifelong friends since she was eight years old. Continue reading

Bitch Doctrine: essays for dissenting adults

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Read 23/11/2017-02/12/2017

Rating: 4 stars

I often used to read Laurie Penny’s articles in New Statesman and the Guardian, partly because I felt that I should because here was a young woman writing about the experience of being female and queer in a patriarchal world with no holds barred, and also partly because her self-absorbed, earnest approach to journalism wound me up in a way I enjoy. (I have a tendency to project the irritation I feel about things that seem beyond my control onto unconnected subjects.) Continue reading