Another dozen books I would recommend

Thursday, March 07, 2019

I've always considered myself an avid reader. As a child I would go through books like wildfire, from one to another, always with one on the go. I loved reading.
I have to say that maybe it was during GCSE's and A-levels and certainly college that reading lapsed into a scarce activity. Studying and juggling everything else just drained so much of my time that books became more of that 'spare time in holidays' treat as opposed to daily feed.
The last few years have seen me make an active effort to make time for reading and I feel so much the better for it. When choosing books I try to pick from a selection of themes I enjoy; the great outdoors and flowers, historical thrillers, crime, other thrillers, funny books and generally ones which are award winning or popular. I can't find anything remotely rewarding about chick-lit or lightweight romantic guff. Lets get gritty or give up now.
Here's my second installment of recommendations. I'll try to provide my rationale for each one to give you an idea but I am not the type of person to write a lengthy review of any read. Some of these date back a while ago, because I haven't been good at keeping a record of books (I've vowed to track better with Goodreads this year) and frankly I forgot about some excellent reads which need a proper shout out.

  1. H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald - this was an autobiographical book which felt more like a story and I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It made me think. And makes me look for Goshawks in woodland.
  2. Snow Falling On Cedars by David Gutterson - Heavy, gritty and grisly. I loved the depth of the story and characters. It was cold, cold and made for a proper wintry read. The level of racism within the story made for uncomfortable reading at times but was central to the story. 
  3. The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan - A charming read which reminded me of the Trouble With Goats and Sheep (which was good but not amazing) and A Year of Marvelous Ways. It was sweet.
  4. Sepulchre by Kate Mosse -I love her writing and characters. I read The Winter Ghosts (very quick read) and Labyrinthe but Sepulchre was my favourite. Historical meets the past not letting go. 
  5. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by  Neil Gaiman - This wasn't initially a book I felt comfortable with as it's not fantastical* as in involves dragons but it's more trippy dream like so my little mind struggled with this. However, I keep thinking about this book and how interesting (and scary at times) it was which is clearly a good sign and maybe I'll be a little braver in reading more by this author.
  6. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - a classic. I was struck by how annoyed I became about the datedness of the characters' relationships with each other but I loved galloping from page to page, desperate to find out what was happening.
  7. The Primrose Path by Rebecca Griffiths  - A page turner. Sadly not flower-ful as the title may suggest but a read I recommended to Mum and she loved it which made me love it a bit more.
  8. The Jackson Lamb series by Mick Herron maybe not one book technically but you must read them in order. I've read the first two and they are curious books as the characters which demand your support and backing are all such flawed humans. Yet I'm driven to keep reading. Spying literature at it's best.
  9. The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins - Another book I couldn't bear to put down. I raced through this, gripped! Film wasn't as good but they never ever are.
  10. The Life of Pi by Yan Martel - I can't believe I didn't include this one before. I'd put it on my top 5 ever, it was brilliant. Heart wrenching, scary yet written in a wonderful way. You must read this one.
  11. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara - I dithered in whether to include this as it's an enormous book full of turmoil and heart-wrenching sadness. Of course it's a masterpiece, but it's definitely not for everyone. If you like your characters deep and detailed this is one for you.
  12. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - Another book I became absorbed in. I enjoyed the unorthodox storyline, it kept me reading to reach the conclusion.
  13. Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna - Initially I wasn't going to include this as a good chunk of the storyline was sad but this book was huge and I did find myself immersed in the book. One of those which has lots of food in it and makes me crave Indian cuisine.
*Yes, I feel like fantasy as a genre should be clearly defined as 'this is a book with talking dragons' (obvious fantasy) and 'this is a book set in the real world where things just get twisted and creepy like a nightmare where things morph into other possible realities but it makes you a bit scared this could actually happen' (trippy fantasy)

I've been buying more books again (oops) and have bought some classics as I feel like I do really want to be able to say I've read some of those written in times gone by.

Have you read any of these? And yes I know a dozen is 12.

Take care,
Sophie

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2 comments

  1. I have read 1,6,9 & 12 on your list. And in total agreement with your summaries. We watched Girl on a Train on Netflix recently. The book is so British, and I felt it didn't work as well in a US setting. I must have a go at Sepulchre sometime. Thanks for this post, Sophie

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  2. I loved The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan! Such a beautiful story! Also read Life of Pi and Rebecca!

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