Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Book Book Book

Since my last book review I have managed to do a lot of reading. It has been blissful. So I wanted to share!

Just before our holiday I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I loved this book. Loved it. It was beautifully written, as a series of letters between friends. I wouldn't usually go for a book in letter form but I couldn't resist this title. It is witty and humourous with the most wonderfully eccentric characters, yet is set in a post-WW2 England/Guernsey. The pain of the characters trying to rebuild their lives after the war gives the book a serious undercurrent that stops it falling into the "fluffy" category.

On holiday I took three books. The first, The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson is light hearted. A group of four strangers are summoned to the Villa Dante by the will of Beatrice Malaspina. None of them have ever heard of her before. The mysterious Beatrice forces them all to reveal and come to terms with their own dark pasts before they come into their inheritance. I thought the characters in this were well developed and engaging. I'd asked for it for my birthday because I'd previously enjoyed Edmondson's The Frozen Lake and I wasn't disappointed, I'm sure I'll read this again.

The next book was Mary Lawson's The Other Side of the Bridge, a book with a lot less joy in it than the last two. It focuses on two brothers - Arthur (quiet and dutiful) and Jake (reckless and manipulative). It is written in split times - one storyline as the boys grow up before Jake leaves, the other fifteen years later when he returns. This is a story about growing up, being torn between the expectations and hopes of others and your own wishes. I liked this book although I did miss the cheerfulness in my other reads. It is thought provoking and although none of the characters are very likeable, they are interesting and realistically portrayed.

The last book of my holiday was The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I found this harrowing to begin with. I hadn't read it before for this reason, although I'd heard good things about it. Once I got into it I was glad I'd started - it is set in Afghanistan, a culture I know next to nothing about. It also had characters with depth. The story was moved by their strengths and weaknesses - you could see how their decisions were made and why, and the consequences of those decisions.

I'd recommend all these books. They're very different in style and content but all equally worth your time.

I also raided T's grandma's bookshelves while we were in Anglesey (with her encouragement!) and added The Road Home (Rose Tremain), The Photograph (Penelope Lively), The Zahir (Paulo Coelho) and The Interpretation of Murder (Jed Rubenfeld) to my stack. I've taken The Tsarina's Daughter and some other books on holiday. So even more words to come. Looking forward to it!

I loved your comments last time - what else have you been reading? Any other recommendations for me?


  1. My Gramsy has been bugging me to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She says it's her favorite books she's read in YEARS, and we read a lot. :) I have a secret, I never finished The Kite Runner. I know it was supposed to be amazing, people lives have been changed-- I just could not get into it.

  2. I have been wanting to read, "Swimming Naked with Jellyfish!" I have heard a lot of great things about it.

  3. The Kite Runner is one of those books I mean to pick up but it seems hard to get into. I should try it though. That first book sounds good too! Thanks for your reviews, I always appreciate them!


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