“We are all Completely Beside Ourselves” by Karen Joy Fowler
Nicely written with clever interesting ideas. Better if you don’t know the twist, which I didn’t.
The Woman who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes
Something of a return to form for Marian Keyes. Finally a heroine over 40. A bit dull in places but made me laugh out loud a couple of times.
“Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumacher
A slight, funny epistolary novel. Our hero is a university lecturer who spends much time issuing letters of recommendation.
“The Likeness” by Tana French
This is the second book of Tana French’s I have read and it is just as good as the first which is really saying something. She writes beautiful, atmospheric, plot-driven detective stories.
“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande
This is a bit depressing, if you have elderly or sick relatives. Atul Gawande is a doctor who thinks a lot. He is very interesting and always writes beautifully. Bits of this book originally appeared elsewhere and it doesn’t hang together as well as it might but overall it is very good.
“The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande
It turns out that checklists are really useful in complex situations. A convincing and very entertainly written book on this point.
“‘Tis Earlier it’s Getting” by Colm O’Regan
The Christmas book of Irish Mammies. That’s probably all you needed to know. Quite hard to sustain the humour over an entire book. Easy reading though and very funny in places.
“Unravelling Oliver” by Liz Nugent
I enjoyed this story of a murderer’s motivations and backstory. The writing is only alright and there are plenty of cliches but I found the plot really moved along and held my attention.
“Divergent”by Veronica Roth
I had great hopes for this book. I am a fan of young adult fiction set in dystopian worlds. It was a New York Times bestseller that had been made into a film. What could go wrong? Alas, a great deal. Although the premise was clever. The book was boring. It combined violence and teenage romance (something done very successfully in the Hunger Games Trilogy) with an absence of any significant plot developments. I won’t be trying any further installments.
“The Thrill of it All” by Joseph O’Connor
I am not a big fan of Joseph O’Connor’s fiction (his “Irish male” non-fiction books, I enjoyed). I didn’t enjoy this story of a washed up rock star much either. Maybe I should stop reading his fiction. A friend of mine, rather cruelly described him as “an almost great writer” and that’s it. There are really wonderful passages but the whole fails to deliver and there are some, frankly, dire bits also.
“Interesting Times” by Terry Pratchett
Slightly dull Pratchett which I may have read before but of which I retain no recollection whatsoever. On balance, probably not a win.
“Christ’s Entry into Brussels” by Dimitri Verhulst
This book, presumably inspired by the painting and Belgium’s labyrinthine administrative structures appealed to Mr. Waffle and he recommended it to me. There is something exquisitely Belgian about it. It brings back the weird, surrealism with which Belgium is far more amply supplied than any other country I have visited. Still and all, a bit slight and perhaps of less interest to those without a Belgian connection.