Recent Reads

With the new slow paced lifestyle we have thankfully embraced I have found myself powering through my reading list, to the point where I have now finished my year-long challenge to read 15 books.  My sister thinks I should reset it to be a more ‘challenging’ challenge.  I thought I could just spend the rest of the year reveling in the fact that I smashed that goal!  Anyway, these were the last three books that tipped me over the 100% mark and all were GREAT.

1. Burial Rites – Hannah Kent

“They will say ‘Agnes’ and see the spider, the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving. They might see the lamb circled by ravens, bleating for a lost mother. But they will not see me. I will not be there.”

A crime novel with a difference.  Set in Iceland in the 1800s and based (loosely) on real events, this is the first novel for Australian author, Hanna Kent.  It’s intriguing and has wonderful, strong female characters.  The writing is stunning, I felt physically freezing reading Kent’s description of the desolate landscape and bleak weather (then again that might have something to do with the move to Ballarat in the middle of winter).  Could be a good summer read, a cheap way to cool down on a hot day.

2. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides

“In the end we had the pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained, oddly shaped emptinesses mapped by what surrounded them, like countries we couldn’t name.” 

Eugenides is one of my all time favourite authors (check out Middlesex, my favourite of his so far) and this one did not disappoint.  What I love most about this author is his narration, it’s like being in someones head with all the complexities and confusion of thoughts trying to be organised into some sort of logic.  In this case his narrator is an unnamed man remembering his teenage years living opposite the five mysterious Lisbon girls, all of whom commit suicide over the space of a year or so.  He brings the inner workings of the teenage male mind to life with such ease.  I was often reminded of The Wonder Years, I show I loved in my own teenage years (and still today).  And despite the morbid storyline, this is not a dark, depressing novel.

3. The Street Sweeper – Elliot Perlman

“What else is life from the time you were born but a struggle to matter, at least to someone?” 

A stark reminder of the brutalities the human race has inflicted on each other.  A book not for the feint hearted, it is horrific in parts, but also immensely compelling and a very worthwhile read.  Perlman expertly weaves the stories of several main characters together while at the same time shining a light on the atrocities of the Holocaust and the civil rights movement in America.

And moving on from these into the +100% challenge territory I have an classic comedy, a sequel and then one from the pile my sister bought when I said I only wanted to read fantastic books.  I wonder, what would you recommend if a friend or sister said the same thing to you?  What’s on your ‘fantastic reads’ list?

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2 Responses to Recent Reads

  1. Pingback: Clunes – Booktown 2014 | The New Good Life

  2. Pingback: Wednesday Reads – Three Dollars by Elliot Perlman | The New Good Life

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