The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
I was quite charmed by this as I read it but in retrospect, it feels a bit like the kind of thing that a parent might give to a child to try to make maths fun and fascinating. I’m ambivalent.
Prenez Garde by Terence DeVere White
I quite enjoyed this book written in the voice of a precocious child during the War of Independence. Like Elizabeth Bowen’s book written about the same period, these upper middle class people are very preoccupied about the social status of the Black and Tans. It is entertaining and enlightening though. Herself read it and enjoyed it also.
A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard
Oh Lord, this nearly killed me. Unless you live under a rock you will be aware that this is part one of a several volume autobiography which has been outrageously successful.
Until the author’s father actually dies, whole chunks of this book are unbearably dull. You feel like you are an adolescent in a small town in Norway. In other words, you hover on the brink of death from boredom. Notwithstanding that conveying this is a form of genius, it’s a really useless form, in my view. The book really picks up after the father dies (I’m giving nothing away here, it’s on the cover) and I was so engaged that I am almost thinking of picking up volume 2. Almost.
If you are thinking of reading this book, you will need to consult this link. Also, in terms of the language regime, it may help you to consider what Mr. Waffle said to me when I was questioning him on this point: “When a Norwegian says he speaks 5 languages, you can bet 3 of them are Norwegian.”
A Spanish Lover by Joanna Trollope
A Passionate Man by Joanna Trollope
The Choir by Joanna Trollope
I’m tired of Joanna Trollope now, I need a little break. The Choir is the best of these three for my money but none of them really worked for me.
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobsen
I thought that this would be laugh out loud funny. It’s amusing in parts. I have learnt a lot about what it means to be Jewish. It’s complicated.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
I found the start of this book really fascinating and very moving. I thought it lost focus a bit towards the end and I’m not sure I would read all the other volumes but the parts about her early childhood were beautifully written and gave extraordinary insights into what it was like to be black in the American South less than a century ago.
Armageddon Outta Here by Derek Landy
Collection of shorter extracts/stories etc about the skeleton detective. About as successful as these things normally are.
Skulduggery Pleasant and the Dying of the Light by Derek Landy
The last Skulduggery Pleasant book and a triumphant return to form for the skeleton detective after a couple of lacklustre outings. Or so the boys and I thought, Herself didn’t like it much.
In the Woods by Tana French
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It’s a detective story and a page turner but also very well written; quite lyrical in places without ever being dull. The author has written quite a few books and I plan to read them all.
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas
The title tempted me to read this. It’s about a retired Spanish literary publisher who comes to Dublin for a holiday. Really not for me. Literary fiction in translation can be very tough going and this was a good example. To be fair, I don’t think I would have liked the book in Spanish but the translation did it no favours. Frankly, when you read the excerpts from Ulysses in the text with relief because they are less hard going than the rest of the book, something has gone very wrong.