January Book Review Part Two Books 7-12

7. Monsieur Linn and His Child Phillipe Claudel
In life it’s the very unexpected acts of kindness that really touch you, warm your heart and make you smile. Book number seven and eight reflect this. These books were given to me by a Twitter friend in St Boswells who on Christmas Eve popped three of her favourite books through my door with a lovely note.
This is the first one I read. It’s a Quercus book translated from French and like book eight fairly short. But so beautifully written and a poignant story about an old man who is a refugee who comes with the only member of his family who is still alive his baby grandchild. She is the centre of his life and all that he has left of his family and old life. He struggles with his new life then makes a friend but he’s moved from his initial hostel to an old folks home. Can he find his friend? And how will his grandchild survive in a old folks home?
A book that makes you think how you would feel in the same situation and realise how fortunate you are to have certainty in your life of where you live, who you love and who you are.

8. The Library Of Unrequited Love Sophie Divry
Also translated from French to English this is a hilarious book and really made me laugh from start to finish. It’s a short, funny and observant about how a frustrated librarian sees life. She vents her views on a poor member of the public who is locked in the library overnight.
Many of her vents I agreed with, many I had sympathy with and her love for the elusive Marcus made me smile though in a sad way.

I loved both of these books maybe as they were a kind gift and also I probably wouldn’t have bought or read them otherwise but I am glad I did. They made perfect January night time bed reading with a cup of tea and a hot water bottle.

9 and 10. Awful Aunty and Billionaire Boy David Walliams
I haven’t listened to an audio book since I was young and my dad went through a phase of listening to them in the car which is why I can claim to have read Victor Hugo’s “A Tale of Two Cities”. My son though loves them and goes to sleep most nights listening to one.
I have read all of the David Walliams books to him to date bar Billionaire Boy and was looking forward to reading Awful Aunty with him too. But there comes a stage when a child is ready to enjoy that moment by himself and a parent has to step back and let them. So I was intending to read Awful Aunty myself. But then the audio book was bought and I thought I would borrow it and read it that way.
Well it was a revelation. Journey to work was too short I wanted to stay in the car yes even on the way back. David Walliam reads his own books which I think is special as he reads them as he wants them to be read. I love all of his books to date Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny are my favourites but Awful Aunty may be up there too. I think David Walliam is deservedly one of the current best authors. You live his books. You laugh but cry also and it makes you think about how you treat people and your own values. Awful Aunty well she’s worse than a tyrant and I’m glad she wasn’t softened from start to finish. Another superb book as was Billionaire Boy which went to prove that money doesn’t buy you happiness however much we all think it might especially when you are broke and fed up in January.

11. The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd
Read her previous book the life of bees and watched the film. This is about a slave girl and her young mistress who doesn’t want to own her but comes from a Southern family immersed with superiority and a house of slaves.
I loved this book seeing the perspectives of the slave girl and her owner both who fought their circumstances in the way they thought right though not always to the others agreement. This book takes you through both their lives and this period of American history. It’s a story of strong women, of a fight against wrong. That women are not beneath men and neither is another colour or religion.
I assumed this book was fiction and it wasn’t to the end that I realised it was based on a true story. I salute these brave women and the author for telling the story.

12. Entry Island Peter May
I read this on my Kindle when it was first released in December 2013 and I loved it as I do all Peter May novels. But although I read a lot on my Kindle for me it’s not the same as reading a book and I wanted to read it again in paperback form.
I was lucky to be chosen as one of 100 Peter May super fans so was able to chose a book to give away to five friends. I chose this one as I knew that it was just out in paperback and I hadn’t yet given it as a present as I had with the Lewis Trilogy. One of the books was for my husband who refuses to read books on a Kindle or in hardback but is also a fan. But knowing I would read it before he’d picked it up I decided to treat myself.
Some books are better second time round and for me Peter Mays books always are. Why? Because they hook you so much first time round that you start to really appreciate the quality of the writing and characters and settings more on second reading.
This book is a crime book about a murder on an isolated island in Quebec Canada but it also takes you back to Harris and the clearances. Although I did know the ending it didn’t stop me from turning the pages and I had a few early nights and long baths so I could read. By chance my dad was reading the book too on his holiday and on arrival home phoned me to say it was Peter Mays best book yet. I smiled and agreed and thought but just you wait till you read his latest book “Runaway.”

January is at an end which for me is a relief. That said its a great month for reading and for choosing bed in preference to the TV. A good start to the 2015 reading year lets see how February is…….


About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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