Saturday, 20 August 2016

WHAT I READ | August (Part 1)

| NOT ALL FOUR BOOKS ARE PICTURED AS THEY WERE ALL LIBRARY BORROWS AND SOME HAVE ALREADY BEEN RETURNED |

Typically, at the end of each month I share all the books I've read within that given period of time, however the month of August brings Bout of Books, and with the hopes of getting a good amount of reading in, I thought I'd share the books read in August in two parts (these posts can get lengthy on an average month, never mind one with a readathon in).

THE GIRLS BY LISA JEWELL (ALSO TITLED THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN)
You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.

You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.

You think your children are safe.

But are they really?

Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?


MY THOUGHTS
I'd heard a good number of things in the run up to reading The Girls, and I feel perhaps my expectations were just a tad too high as I came away with a somewhat unsatisfactory reading experience. I enjoyed the overall plot of this story, however the ending did seem a little short and blunt for my liking. The community that the author built felt like it had depth and development, with the prominent characters being uniquely individual. Some of the elements in this book did feel a little romanticised in a way, and there were elements that irked me. I had a tough time rating The Girls and ultimately settled with three stars - it seemed the safest rating. I didn't dislike The Girls, but I wasn't blown away by it either.

OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS BY CLAIRE FULLER
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.

Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is Everything.


MY THOUGHTS
I have shared a full review of Our Endless Numbered Days - you can find it here.

IN COLD BLOOD BY TRUMAN CAPOTE
Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The book that made Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative.

MY THOUGHTS
I've been wanting to read this true crime novel for quite a while now, but it was one of those books I kept putting on the back burner for no reason in particular. After organising the way in which I keep my wishlist, I learnt that my local library carried a copy. I read In Cold Bloog in drips and drabs, not because the book didn't hold my attention, but because that's just how I tend to read non fiction books of any nature. Being true crime, there are some graphic elements pertaining to the crime that the book is examining, however if crime is a genre that interests you reading wise then I'd recommend picking this one up.

FINDING AUDREY BY SOPHIE KINSELLA
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

MY THOUGHTS
I have read a little bit of Sophie Kinsella's writing previously, namely a couple of the books in her 'Shopaholic' series, and so knew I enjoyed her style of writing... Going in to Finding Audrey I was hesitant as to how anxiety would be treated, as someone with anxiety, and I came away impressed. The way in which the subject is handled was really well done - light but yet serious and knowledgeable at the same time. I really enjoyed the narrative from Audrey, particularly the observational comedy and style of voice, and found the book to be compulsive reading. Was it the best book I've ever read, no, but it is a YA book I'd recommend to others.

What have you read so far this August?
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4 comments

  1. Great reviews! I read In Cold Blood in high school and really liked it. Our Endless Numbered Days is on my TBR list. It sounds interesting.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to have finally read In Cold Blood and ticked that one of the wishlist, with an enjoyable reading experience too.

      I'd recommend picking up Our Endless Numbered Days if you can... I know there have been some mixed reviews regarding the book, but I think the plot and story's flow is well worth reading.

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  2. I want to read Lisa Jewell but I don't think The Girls is the one I want to start with. That's good to know about Finding Aubrey. I've been wanting to read it but have found Kinsella's writing style really light so I wondered how she would treat heavier issues.

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    1. I didn't realise just how books Lisa Jewell had written until I picked up The Girls - I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her work when perusing the library. There seems to be a lot of praise for her writing.

      I totally get what you mean regarding Finding Audrey because I had the exact same worry, and although it definitely has that lightness found in other works of hers, the way in which the subject has been handled felt respectful but yet relatable (in particular for teens).

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