I have been using my blog to talk about the books I have been reading now for a couple of years. The last two years has been about setting myself a goal of reading 100 plus books in a year which I now have done two years in a row. I felt at the end of 2015 that I needed a new challenge and pondered this as a question to friends. One friend came up with the ideal challenge which I feel gives my 2016 reading year some focus. Huge thanks to Susan McNaughton for this. She proposed a new reading challenge per month. It is detailed at the end of this blog.
The Challenge for January was to read a book that was published in 2016. That was easy I have been eagerly waiting for Peter May’s new book Coffin Road to come out. I am a huge Peter May fan and love his Lewis trilogy for many reasons not least it took me back to Lewis and as importantly to Harris where we have holidayed as a family ever since. The first time we went to Lewis the islands intrigued me greatly. Lewis was so beautiful yet brooding and serious and black. But with a limited stay over a May weekend I did not feel that I scratched the surface of the culture. The Black House the first in the trilogy for me filled in some of the gaps. But more than that took me into the world of people’s lives on the islands that live with me still and I was delighted to see some of the characters mentioned in Coffin Road. I have read each of Peter May’s books since and had ordered this book in October. Had to it was about my favourite island Harris and beach on the island Luskentyre. I tend to suffer from the January blues so was also looking for an excuse to escape into my imagination away from Storm Frank and Gertie.
Escape I did though all be it briefly. As with all Peter May books I devoured it on first read. It’s a really intriguing story about a man who washes up on the beach at Luskentyre and can’t remember anything other than he feels he’s done something awful. The reader learns his story as he learns his story. He quickly realises he’s living a lie and the book is his quest to find out why he is living this lie along with the mystery of the dead body he finds on the Flannan islands. Don’t want to give too much away but the book is also about the mystery of why so many bees are dying in the world and the potential link to big corporate companies. This was all new to me and as an Aldi shopper I was then delighted to learn that Aldi do not use these suppliers. Coincidence that Aldi released this Press Release the same month as the book? Maybe maybe not but for me good news.
The Coffin Road is another Peter May success story and was acclaimed last night on Simon Mayo’s book club. My only criticism is that there was a section in the middle of the book when the main character returns to his past and home. There is a scene here which didn’t make sense to me but given I read the book fairly quickly and read it on my Kindle (not so easy to skip back to the spot you want to re read), I will have to decide on my second read if this is a flaw on my part or the book. And there is no doubting that this book like his other books set on the Hebrides showcase my beloved Islands beautifully.
Books read in January were in order of preference:
- Twice Born – Margaret Mazzantini (read read this book).
- Coffin Road – Peter May
- The Story of a New Name – Elena Ferrante
- Moving – Jenny Eclair
- The Other Me – Saskia Sarginson
- End Games in Bordeaux – Alan Massie
- The Bones of You – Debbie Howell
- The Girl with No Past – Kathryn Croft
- A Daughter’s Secret – Eleanor Moran
- The Sisters – Claire Douglas
- Her Last Tomorrow – Adam Croft
- A Year of Marvelous ways – Sarah Winman
So for February read a book in a day what a splendid excuse for a day of reading.