Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

October Books

October has been a good month for book choices. So glad I go to the library with a list of a 109 authors to look for. Here’s what I have read.

Ian McEwan- Atonement- I groaned a little when I saw it had been shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2001. I really am going to have to get over my prejudice against these books which get on prize lists, just because I read a couple I didn’t like is a very poor reason to condemn the lot. Especially as I can’t even remember which books they were.

Moving on then to Atonement. I do so wish that the blurb on the back didn’t give away so much. The title Atonement suggests that a book is going to be about someone atoning for something. I spent the first half of the novel wanting to know what so the atoning bit started. Page 166 before you find out the what. Which is a great shame because the lead up is brilliant, and if you haven’t read the book be patient. A single day begins on P18 and ends on P187, the tension builds slowly through a hot summers day in a very well to do household in 1935, the servants struggle with cooking Roast Beef which no-one wants, children squabble and young love blooms.

It’s not often the various Parts in a novel are so completely different from one another. Part two is all about a group of soldiers in the second world war trudging through Belgium, or it might be France, my geography is hopeless, anyway they are making their way to Dunkirk in an ignoble retreat. Only us Brits could turn a disaster of military failing into the triumph of grit and determination by the ordinary man.

Part three, is different again, and deals with the aftermath of Dunkirk in London hospital. And by golly this is a powerful bit of writing.

Part four is set in the present day.

It’s a jolly good book and I recommend it, but relish the first part, and don’t be in a rush as I was to find out what exactly happened. It’s a masterful build up. Parts 2 and 3 are brilliant too and for these two parts I have decided that this books makes it into my top 100 books! I liked the ending too, as the author doesn’t dodge a final confrontation by killing off the protagonists. When authors do that I get very cross.

John Boyne- A History of Loneliness- Oh my this book got to me. Tears were streaming down my face at the end. Plot is quite easily summed up for you- Irish Catholic Priest. Going to quote from the front cover” Boyne writes with compelling anger about the abuses of power and the dangers of submission”, Helen Dunmore, Guardian. There is another part which brought tears to my eyes too, the description of the Priest’s sisters illness as she moves into a care home. I read this in a couple of sittings, a compelling read.

Both these books are making it onto my Top 100 books.

John Grisham- The Whistler- time for a bit of easy reading, another cracking good thriller, corrupt judge, casinos, golf courses and scheming!

Andrew Taylor- The Silent Boy- Historical crime novel, set in England during the French Revolution. Boy becomes mute after witnessing the death of his mother, taken to safety in England, but there are rival claims to be his guardian. The book is a good read but ended a bit abruptly, can’t help wondering if there is a missing page from this library book. The best bit for me was the description of life in 18th century England. The fancy manor houses don’t sound so fancy when the money runs out , the damp and vermin get in and the decor goes. It made me very grateful for running hot water and central heating.

Hilary Mantel- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher- collection of short stories. My favourite was Harley Street, most appropriate for the time of year.

Susan Hill- The Mist in the Mirror. A ghost story! Quite good, the build up is better than the ending which was a bit of an anti climax. Monmouth is haunted by ghosts, when he returns to England. Who are they? Why do his new friends warn him against finding out about Conrad Vane, an explorer?

So that’s what I read this month. Have you had any good reads, or bad ones to avoid? Please leave a link to any book post in the comments.

 

 

Comments on: "October Books" (22)

  1. Pre ordering is a sure sign of a good book. I remember doing that for my youngest son for Game of Thrones, long before anyone else was talking about it.
    I am impressed that you had time for any reading at all this month!

  2. You always have great recommendations! I read the second book in two different trilogies, the Rachelle Dekker was pretty good (dystopian), and the Terri Blackstock was good enough I may ask for set for Christmas. Have to wait until March for number 3, and it is very tempting to pre-order it! Most of my reading this month has been Mozart, Vivaldi and Veracini…all compelling, but not books!šŸ˜‰šŸŽ¹

  3. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    It’s a couple of years ago since i read atonement but like you i enjoyed. Did you see the film?

    • I don’t think I saw the whole film but the scene with the overcoat whilst waiting at Dunkirk was very familiar and I think I had seen that part of the film! I think I was cooking at the time and one of my sons was watching it, wish I had seen the whole film.

  4. Thank you! Thank you! Always appreciate your book reviews šŸ™‚

  5. Great to hear about your current reading list. I just finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Good book

  6. Those all sound good! I go to the library with an author list too:)

  7. I wouldn’t normally comment but one book I have read recently is worth mentioning: it is “An Officer and a Spy” by Robert Harris. It is the story of the Dreyfus Affair which I had already met in my ‘O’ level history course years ago. The book was recommended to me and is well written and quite compelling.

    • Robert Harris is one of my favourite authors, but I have not yet read this one. I shall look for it, meantime Pompeii is very good too. Lovely that you commented today. Thanks.

  8. I read ‘Elizabeth is missing’ which is written from the point of view of an elderly woman beginning to suffer from Alzheimers. ‘Cassandra at the Wedding’ which is about a twin getting married and the effect it has on her other twin,and ‘The skeleton road’ a Val McDermid murder mystery set in Edinburgh, You can tell it has been the school holidays and I have had a bit of time to spare!

    • Sounds like an excelllent way to spend a half term holiday. Elizabeth is missing sounds an interesting read, having seen several relatives develop this disease. So hard for relatives to spot as it is so gradual and sufferers so good at covering up symptoms!

  9. McEwan and Mantel are superstar writers, in my humble opinion. I’ve read everything they’ve both written. Wolf Hall was quite a heavy read, but totally worthwhile šŸ™‚

    • I love Hilary Mantel’s writing but found Wolf Hall too hard going. I particularly enjoyed Nine months on Ghazzah street and Giving up the Ghost.

    • I read Wolf Hall, but it was another book that built up the place Wolf Hall, but it ended when you got there. I am told I should read the next one for that bit. I think I have amind that is too literal! I have another McEwan to read in November. Lookig forward to it.

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