One of my #40before40 challenges this year was to devour 40 books this year. I say devour because I might be listening to them too and not just reading them. I find listening to books when running, travelling or cooking a fun way to pass the time. I was 25 in, in July and now in September I’m at 37 having luckily read quite a bit on holiday so only 3 to go!!
So what have I read, what have I listened to and what am I going to read next?
The Marble Collector – Cecelia Ahern When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her. – It’s quite fast paced, and easy to listen to. The narrators voice is really soothing and I finished it in just a couple of days. Definitely chick lit.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah All about life in occupied France in WW2. One of my hits for the year, I absolutely LOVED it.
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – JK Rowling (for about the 5th time!) I started this again as I was hoping the kids would be interested but sadly they aren’t yet. They will be I’m sure!
The Missing – CL Taylor
Haunting and definitely creepy, you think you’ve worked it out and then you haven’t.
The Widow – Fiona Barton
I listened to this because it’s the same reader as The Missing – Clare Corbett and I like her voice. It was a good read and I enjoyed the story unfolding. A murder mystery type book told from a different angle.
A God in Ruins – Kate Atkinson – for me not as good as Life after Life and the summary of the book was a little confusing and I kept expecting another life to begin when it didn’t. Still enjoyed it though.
The Taxidermist’s Daughter – Kate Mosse – I really enjoyed this tale and it ripped along. I really enjoy listening to Clare Corbett’s voice too so have chosen some books based on her voice.
Nutshell – Ian McEwan – I pretty much love anything by Ian McEwan. This book takes a little getting used to due to the unusual style but it was witty, dark and engaging all at the same time.
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead – A harrowing book but absolutely fascinating to think this actually existed and the good people that existed to make it happen!
Life on Air – David Attenborough – I really loved this and had no idea what a pioneer David Attenborough was. Narrated by him beautifully. Highly recommended.
Into the Water – Paula Hawkins – By the author of Girl on the Train (which I really enjoyed) it’s a similar style but with a different theme and it keeps you guessing throughout (although I think I did guess who did it so to speak fairly early on!).
I See you – Clare Mackintosh – Another fantastic book by Clare Mackintosh. For me not as gripping as I Let You Go but very eerie and terrifyingly possible.
Since We Fell – Dennis Lehane – Rachel’s husband adores her. When she hit rock bottom, he was there with her every step of the way as she slowly regained her confidence – and her sanity. But his mysterious behaviour forces her to probe for the truth about her beloved husband. And was she right to ever trust him? I persevered with this one. I enjoyed parts of it but not all. A decent story, byt strangely long winded in parts that didn’t seem to matter in the end. (Summer Reading List)
Dear Amy – Helen Callaghan – This was another one of the books recommended by friends in my Summer Reading post over on Mini Travellers. It was fun, easy to read and very quick to finish as you really did want to know if your guess as to what had happened was right. Distressing at times.
The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister and The Shadow Sister – Lucinda Riley – I read these three books in just over a week (couple of long train journeys) but I got wrapped up in the story telling and abandoned jobs, television and taking until I finished them. I love a good series of books and was devestated when I realised the 4th has only just been written and is out in November. I would have happily read all seven in a row. Basic story is that Maia D’Aplièse and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, ‘Atlantis’ – a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva – having been told that their beloved father, the elusive billionaire they call Pa Salt, has died. Maia and her sisters were all adopted by him as babies and, discovering he has already been buried at sea, each of them is handed a tantalising clue to their true heritage – a clue which takes them individually across the world to different locations to discover their heritage.
Caraval – Stephanie Garber – Magical, enchanting, suspense. Like the Night Circus (although in my view not quite as good) but a wonderful world that can keep you reading quickly to the end.
Lyrebird – Ceceila Ahern – Lyrebird is a thoughtful, deeply moving love story; a story of the wild heart in us all and the quiet that lies underneath the world’s noise. A girl’s solitary existence is turned on its head. Pulled from her peaceful landscape to the cacophony of Dublin, she is confronted by a world desperate to understand her. n easy read which I really enjoyed.
Flawed and Perfect – Cecelia Ahern – Technically a Young Adult novel about a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything. I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely went along for the ride, so much so that I read the second book – Perfect within days of finishing the first.
Girls who Travel – Nicole Trilivas A book about “Kika” who has returned from her yearlong backpacking tour, steeped in misery, battling rush hour with all the other suits. Getting back on the road is all she wants. For me the book was fine, fun in parts, but I didn’t really think it was hugely engaging.
Time and Time Again – Ben Elton A fun book all about ehat would happen if we could change hostroy and key events never happened including WW2. Food for thought and lots of fun. You’ll need to not over analyse but just enjoy.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman which I actually had to buy again as I left in on the aeroplane by mistake! Annoying. It was excellent and I’ve recommended it to lots of people, particularly those who have grumpy partners or husbands (not saying I do….).
The Letter – Kathryn Hughes Easy reading, nice story but not overly challenging
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver An epic book, excellent characterisation and a tad hard to read a times but towards the end I loved it.
The Noise of Time – Julian Barnes. This wasn’t really a book for me but hubby has read and loved it. All about a man in his early thirties in May 1937 who waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House.
The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell – I found this pretty difficult to follow at times and I’m not sure I entirely enjoyed it. Some great chapters but didn’t quiet stack up for me. Most reviewers love it though.
The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society – Mary Ann Shatter and Annie Barrows – A very easy and sweet read. It took me only a few hours but I enjoyed it a lot. Unchallenging.
The Shadow of the Sun – My African Life – Ryszard Kapuscinski – Enchanting. For someone with a love of Africa I nodded along to this, gasped, cried and laughed. It is AMAZING> if you like Africa, love it, are going to visit, want to some day. Buy this!
The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell – Nadia Hashimi – a very beautiful story about the heartbreak of life in Afghanistan for women under the Taliban and before.
The Awkward Age – Francesca Segal – Set in a Victorian terraced house, in north-west London, two families unite in imperfect harmony. Reading true to life accounts of teenagers makes me panic about my three teenage girls in a few years time. It’s a good read throughout, mostly believeable. Favourite character definitely Philip
The Summer Book – Tove Jansson – Magical and beautifully written, suspend thoughts about ‘real’ life and imagine life on the Island. You will definitely want to visit.
The Girls – Emma Cline – Spectacular – I loved this and the conflicting emotions of the young teenage girl. One to read!
This Must be the Place – Maggie O’Farrell – It gets love it or hate it reviews on Amazon but I was a loved it. Loved all the character development and loved the honesty and imperfections of the characters.
The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena – This booked ripped along, was easy to read and I enjoyed most of it. The end was rushed and I was a little disappointed at that but still worth a read.
The Power – Naomi Alderman – Naomi Alderman talks about this book and said, “Nothing happens to a man in the book that hasn’t happened to a woman.” When you read it you will be horrified and saddened that this is actually the case. Excellent book.
I am not mid way through any book at the moment but about to start Margaret Attwood’s – The Heart Goes Last having been recommended it by a friend.
I’m mid-way through listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine which has at time made me laugh out loud!
What are you reading this month?