Thursday, 12 November 2015

Autumn Reads 2015.

"This is a hardboiled crime novel, and a true story. In 1944, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, then still unknown writers, were both arrested following a murder: one of their friends had stabbed another and then come to them for advice - neither had told the police. Later they wrote this fictionalised account of that summer - of a group of friends in wartime New York, moving through each other's apartments, drinking, necking, talking and taking drugs and haphazardly drifting towards a bloody crime. Unpublished for years, And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks is a remarkable insight into the lives and literary development of two great writers."

This is actually the book I've just started reading...again. I started it back in August and was promptly distracted by a book that Leona leant me (not listed here) thus leaving it in the to-read pile until now. Though only on the first 50 or so pages, the writing style and imaginative flair make it no surprise that two of histories most influential writers have captivated me.

"On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . ."

My most recent read to date. The Miniaturist is probably one of the most 'unlike me' book I've read in a while. Not often do I read 'period dated' novels and it was more of an impulse purchase than anything else. Saying that, Jessie Burton's debut novel was both page turning and thrilling, following Nella's journey in Amsterdam. It really kept me reading, so much so, that i finished it in a matter of days! A great snuggle under a blanket book.

"Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud . . ."

It's pretty rare for me to cry whilst reading a book. It's rare that it'll haunt me for a little while after I finish turning the pages. It's unlikely that I'll forget reading this anytime soon though. I actually started this on a train journey and by the end of that journey I was in pieces. Emma Healey writes from the perspective of Maud as she struggles to hold onto memories and the people whom she loves. Touching an extra nerve for me, having had a relative who battled dementia before passing, this book is written with delicacy and humour and every possible emotion you could want this autumn.

"Forty-one-year-old geneticist Don Tillman had never had a second date before he met Rosie. Now, living in New York City, they have survived ten months and ten days of marriage, even if Don has had to sacrifice standardised meals and embrace unscheduled sex.But then Rosie drops the mother of all bombshells. And Don must prepare for the biggest challenge of his previously ordered life - while dodging deportation, prosecution and professional disgrace. Is Don Tillman ready to become the man he always dreamed of being? Or will he revert to his old ways and risk losing Rosie for ever? "

You should read 'The Rosie Project' before this. But what am I saying, I'm years behind on this book, I remember how much people loved them both when they came out. Though I prefer the first novel, The Rosie Effect is charming, a quick read, if a little outdated. 

"Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There's something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. And it was this decision, made by her parents, to give Rosemary a sister like no other, that began all of Rosemary's trouble. So now she's telling her story: full of hilarious asides and brilliantly spiky lines, it's a looping narrative that begins towards the end, and then goes back to the beginning. Twice."

I think this may have been another impulse buy at the same time as 'The Miniaturist.' This book even more-so was not one that I've regretted reading. A novel rarely makes you feel so empowered for change and honesty then this has and after a little chat about how inspiring it was, I've ended up lending it to the lovely Charlene. I hope that she enjoys it as much as I did. 

Feel free to get in contact if you'd like me to send one of these onto you. I'd love to know if you have any recommendations based on these few recent reads? And of course I'd love to know if you've read any of the above also!

Love Sophie Xx