One of the nicest things about this time of year is curling up by the fire with a good book to read ( if someone can prise the phone out of my hand that is!!). Here’s a look at some of the books that we’ve been reading, I’ve include the children’s books too in case you are looking for gift ideas for Christmas. No contribution from Mr Hushabye Farm as he only reads Alpaca World magazine ( a real magazine it would seem…)
What I’ve been reading;
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Inspired by a true story, this beautifully written and at times bleak book is set in the 1800’s in Iceland. For a historical novel it has none of the heaviness that is often found in this genre. I really loved this book and the tale of Agnes,a woman awaiting her execution, is told with great compassion and the stunning prose will transport you to the rural Icelandic countryside. Highly recommend this one.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
I’m struggling to decide whether or not I liked this novel. It is a big tome of a novel, a clear attempt to be The Great American Novel and in ways I felt that it was overwritten just for this purpose. It was such an easy novel to get into and getting to know the characters happened quickly, getting to like any of them was somewhat harder. There was a soap opera feel to the story and yet the writing in it was anything but soap opera. I’m on the fence with this one, so while I’m definitely not sorry that I read it, I’d be slow to recommend it.
My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
This is a book that could be read in one sitting, but will stay with you long after. It is a frustrating book in many ways because there is so much left unsaid. There is so much underlying tension and fear in Lucy’s relationship with her mother, so much of her history that we get a fleeting glimpse at,but at the end of the book I don’t feel that I know enough. It reflects well that life doesn’t necessarily allow us to tie the threads of our past neatly together, and bucks the trend of popular fiction to have underlying childhood issues brought out into the open by the adults who have escaped them. It is a book that is ‘almost but not quite’ a great read.
Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
Set over the course of a weekend on an island off New England, this novel about the various relationships and struggles of an over-privileged family is so much better than the premise would suggest. We see the father of the bride grapple to fulfill his role in the father-daughter relationship and we watch as the simmering sexual tension threatens to disrupt the order that Winn so clearly cherishes. A quick but engaging read and one I’d recommend.
Grief Is A Thing With Feathers
I’m actually incapable of even giving a synopsis of this. I HATED IT
Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent
I’m always happy to read a book by an Irish author but I can’t say I liked this book. I disliked each and every character and the writing, whilst fine, was not enough to save this novel for me. It has some good suspense twists but it wouldn’t be my type of book. That it is a quick read is about all I could say in its favour.
Road Ends by Mary Lawson
Im right in the middle of reading this and I LOVE it. I have read and loved The Other Side of the Bridge and this is just as good, if not better.
What I’ve Been Listening to on Audible
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
Set in Glasgow at the time of The International Exhibition in the late 1800’s this story tell the tale of a young Harriet Baxter’s arrival in the city and her subsequent friendship with an up and coming artist and his family. The aging Harriet Baxter narrates the tragedies that unfold but all is not what it seems.
This book consumed me, I could not wait to listen to the next chapter. If it had been in book form I would have been tempted to skip on ahead because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen next, thankfully I was unable to and therefore I didn’t miss out on the beautifully crafted unfolding of the plot. I would really recommend this and it felt so right as an audiobook. (Thank you Sinead for recommending it)
One Day by David Nicholls
I have only begun listening to this but am liking it so far. More to follow when I have finished.
What My 10 Year Old is Reading
Making of Mollie by Anna Carey
This is the story of Mollie, a 14 year old girl living in Dublin in 1912. Her middle class suburban life becomes infinitely more exciting when she discovers that her older sister is a suffragette. The book follows Mollie as she becomes converted to the cause.
My 10 year old said that although she enjoyed the book there were parts of it she didn’t understand. It’s possibly aimed at a slightly older child.
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
When Suzy’s best friend dies in a drowning accident she retreats into a world of silence as she tries to make sense of what has happened. She is determined to find a cause for the drowning because the idea that things just happen is unthinkable.
My 10 year said that although the book was very sad at times, she felt there was some lovely parts to it to balance the sadness. She also said that what she felt she learned from the book was that sometimes through silence we can read what other people are saying more than just hear what they are saying..a good lesson!
We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd
This story follows the life of Sydney who lives with her sister and their mum, who has dwarfism. After the death of her father, Sydney has to move house with her family and we see the struggles of adjusting and Sydney’s worries as a whole new set of people get used to her mum being ‘different’.
My 10 year old said this book was happy, sad and funny and she really enjoyed it
What my 8 Year Old is Reading.
This is my reluctant reader and getting her to fully engage with a book can be tricky. I’ve found that if we read together it helps, I read some out loud and she will take over when her interest is piqued.
Harper and The Circus of Dreams by Cerrie Burnell
A young girl and a magical umbrella, the perfect start to an exciting adventure. Add in a circus suspended by hot air balloons and you have the makings of a very entertaining read.
I really enjoyed this and my 8 year old said she fell asleep dreaming of the book which is a great endorsement.
Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
The literary snob in me hates these books, they are full of American Middle school dramas and slang. HOWEVER my 8 year old loves them and I’ve never seen her engage so readily with a book series so with the premise that it matters not what they aren’t reading just as long as they are reading then these will have to go on the recommended list.
The Worlds Worst Children by David Walliams
We are currently reading this. It’s funny and gross and as with all of his books a huge hit with the kids. ( I would also strongly recommend any of David Williams audiobooks, as narrated by himself,his books spring to life whenever read by him)
The Almost 7 Year Old
Angela Nicely by Alan MacDonald
From the world of Dirty Bertie comes the always right Angela Nicely. The stories are simple enough for a nearly 7 year old to follow but long enough to make it feel like a big girl book.
Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth
Nancy and her BFF want to take on the role of detectives and armed with a pink trench coat and rhinestone magnifying glass she introduces her readers to some great, and explained, new vocabulary and the joy of mystery solving. A pretty girly read that was a big hit here.
What I’m Reading for the 5 Year Old
The Horrid Henry Collection
Hmmmm, what to say about this. Henry is a parents worst nightmare but, to be fair, his ‘nappy baby’ brother is every older siblings worst nightmare. It’s funny and entertaining and the 5 year old is loving it.
The Faraway Tree Colour Reads by Enid Blyton
Timeless magic is now available in short colour reads so these are perfect to read to the not quite reader and equally perfect for a 6/7 year old to read themselves. Another highly recommended one from me.
So if you have a reader in your life or are looking for something to curl up with on these dark evenings I hope you’ve found something to interest you here.
All the books mentioned were purchased by me and I was not asked to review them.
That said, if anyone reading would like to send me oooodles of free books I’d be only delighted to receive them😜