Book Reviews

Snapshot April 2016

hellospringThis has been a bumper year for daffodils. Usually most of the ones I plant have little to show beyond leaves. But this year there are bright spots of yellow everywhere I look in the garden. It’s a sign winter is over for another year. Hooray…..

So what’s happening on the first of this month??

I wish I could say that my run of superb books (Barbara Pym’s  Quartet in Autumn  and My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout) was continuing but sadly I’m not enjoying my current book Devoted Ladies by M.J Farrell (otherwise known as Molly Keane). I’d heard so much about her but had never read any of her books but this one was in a charity shop sale and the plot seemed good so I went for it. This is her fifth novel and shocked readers when it was published because it deals frankly with a relationship between a lesbian couple. This one is set in fashionable, chic London rather than her usual world in Ireland.  It shocked readers at the time because it dealt with a stormy relationship between a lesbian couple. I just wish she had stuck with that relationship but instead far too much of the book is devoted to another – and really rather tedious – couple who live in a run down estate house in Ireland. I think its meant to be funny but I’m yet to find much to even make me smile.  I might even give it up. There are plenty of other books that should be more rewarding. For my next read I’m thinking of The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan or The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally.

Our library system has just made it easier to download audiobooks. They’ve had this service for about five years now but the mechanism for uploading the files to ITunes was very cumbersome and didnt always work.  The new one does the file transfer in seconds. Bad news is that the range is limited and practically everything that appeals seems checked out by other users…. I did manage to get a copy of Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer. It’s an odd psychological thriller with a central character who suffers Asperger’s Syndroym. Patrick Fort is beginning his anatomy studies at university in Cardiff.  He’s not interested in becoming a doctor or in helping people to live; he just wants to find the answer to why people die. His determination to get to the cause of death of the cadaver he and his fellow students are asked to dissect, takes him down a path which might or might not lead to murder. In parallel there is a narrative of a middle-aged man who had been in a coma after a car accident, and is trying to recover the use of his body. He witnesses what he believes is the murder of a fellow patient but can’t get anyone to listen to him because the accident has robbed him of his speech. It’s a slow paced novel and at times frustrating – I don’t need need to hear the hospital patient practicing his vocal exercises in almost every episode  – but oddly compelling…

So that’s the early part of the month taken care of. Technically I have now finished with the Triple Dog TBR challenge but its worked so well I might give it another month. It’s fun to discover what’s at the back of the cupboard….



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

15 thoughts on “Snapshot April 2016

  • Good luck with the library audio downloads. I always feel the best ones take YEARS to get to me on Kindle. I’m jealous of your spring. It’s currently snowing out and we’re expecting 3-5″ today!

  • glad you can now easily download audiobooks from your library, it comes in so handy

  • I may be parochial too but I recommend Narrow Road. I was worried about too much graphic description of the camps but it was different to what I expected. The one haunting image that has stuck with me was not what I was expecting and… Well, I’ll tell you once you’ve read it.

  • I’m sorry to hear Devoted Ladies by M.J Farrell broke your string of superb books – I hope whatever you read next is more enjoyable. And your comment on audiobooks from the library only reminds more how I need to get into them – get more books in while doing the mundane chores rounds the house!

    • Audio books help keep me sane when I’m driving to/from work. without them I’d end up arguing with the politicians on the news programs

      • I enjoy a short 10 min walk to work…but sadly that means little to no time for audiobooks 😀

        • A 10 min walk to work would be perfect for the Serial podcast but you may want to finish the series that night. I downloaded it before my laser eye surgery for my day resting my eyes in bed but I only had one episode left by then!

  • I did enjoy the Belinda Bauer although I read rather than listened to it – and huge congratulations on finishing the Double Dare challenge, it must have gone well for you to consider giving it another month!

    • i should have known you would be familiar with Bauer! this is only the second one I’ve read by her and she seems to have a very good understanding of mental conditions. yet she doesn’t have a background in that area I don’t think

  • I like Molly Keane but if I’ve read Devoted Ladies I don’t remember it.
    I like your choices for next book to read:)

    • a little bit of a parochial comment there Lisa. But we forgive you!


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