“Funny Girl” by Nick Hornby
About a female comedian making it in the 60s. Very readable like all Nick Hornby but a bit forgettable.
“La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert” by Joël Dicker
This is a story about a young author helping to solve a mystery involving an older author. I did not like it. I read it in French but the effect was disorientating as it is set in North America and it felt like I was reading an English book in translation rather than a French original. Only merit as far as I was concerned is that it may have improved my French.
“To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee
I haven’t read this since I was in school but I reread it recently after Harper Lee died. I think it is a much better book than I realised when I read it the first time. Well worth re-reading.
“Futebol” by Alex Bellos
I started reading this when the World Cup was being held in Brazil to get a feel for Brazilian football. It’s a bit out of date and I didn’t enjoy it but over many months made my way slowly but surely to the end. Perhaps more entertaining for those with a greater interest in football.
“Darkmouth” by Shane Hegarty
These are books for children written by an Irish Times columnist I always liked. Daniel absolutely loved them. I read the first two because I was curious. They’re fantasy books where you can get into a parallel world from a North Dublin seaside town (essentially Skerries). Not for me but very acceptable for the young people.
“Lolly Willowes” by Sylvia Townsend Warner
This is a curious book. It’s set in the 1910s. It’s about a woman who never marries and lives happily in the family home with her father until he dies. Then she ends up living with her brother and his family in London and it’s all a bit grim in a reasonably affluent way. That’s about three quarters of the book. Then she ups sticks and goes to become a witch. I thought from reading descriptions it was going to be a hilarious romp but it’s not. On the cover, John Updike is quoted as saying that it is “eerie” and it is. Worth a read though.
“The Shepherd’s Crown” by Terry Pratchett
Sadly, the last Pratchett. And, it pains me to say it, not a particularly good one. It’s alright and it’s quite sad when poor old Granny Weatherwax dies (about page 2, I’m not ruining it for you).
“Career of Evil” Robert Galbraith
Third in this series about a detective and his beautiful sidekick and quite enjoyable. As good as the first and better than the second in the series. I will certainly read number 4 when it comes out.
“American Gods” by Neil Gaiman
This is a clever novel about all the gods from the old world who find themselves in America where people don’t believe in them much anymore and the new American gods (reality TV, money, whatever you’re having yourself). A bit too long (part of the problem may have been that I had the “author’s preferred text”) but clever and worth a read.
“City of Bohane” by Kevin Barry
This book is superbly written. The language is fascinating and brilliant. However, the plot leaves a great deal to be desired. It’s set in a parallel, terrifying Ireland in a city in the west. Notwithstanding the flaws in plot (i.e. hardly any) I would definitely read another book of his.
“Stones of Dublin” by Lisa Marie Griffith
I won this book by filling out a form at a book fair. Very thrilling – it arrived out of the blue in the post. I really enjoyed it. I find generally that books of Dublin history are pitched at the wrong level for me, either much too general containing information I largely already know, or far too specific containing information I’m not sure I really want to know (you know the kind of thing – a detailed history of the lives of the inhabitants of numbers 73-75 Ranelagh Road between 1900 and 1911). For me, this book hit the rather large middle ground between these two extremes perfectly. A good history of Dublin and well worth a read.
“Disclaimer” by Renee Knight
This is a thriller with a twist. I don’t normally like this kind of thing and I didn’t like this. I thought the whole premise was utterly ludicrous and couldn’t get over that.
“Tea with Mr Rochester” by Frances Towers
These are lovely short stories about slightly neglected women. It made me remember how much I enjoy a good short story yet, I so rarely look to take them out of the library or buy them. I’m not quite sure why novels hold me so much in thrall when there are such wonderful collections of short stories out there including this one.
“The Priory” by Dorothy Whipple
This is an epic tale of what we in Ireland would call a “big house” family. It covers the lives and loves of all the members of the household upstairs and downstairs and I really enjoyed it although (spoiler alert) my heart sank when the housemaid who got herself into trouble tried to drown herself. Things more or less work out for the upstairs denizens but things downstairs are a bit grim.
“A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)” by George R. R. Martin
I can’t believe that I have started reading this series. I felt that “Game of Thrones” had captured the attention of the world and I knew nothing about it so I might as well try one of the books. 800 or so pages later, I’m not sure that I entirely see the attraction. It was fine. I will probably read the other volumes but I wouldn’t be entranced, now. The pedant in me did not like that on page 1, the author used “disinterested” when he meant “uninterested” or “indifferent”.
Maybe I need to watch the TV series to understand the attraction? Mr. Waffle is strongly against this, if this means he has to watch it too.
Somewhat reading related; did everyone in the world know this extraordinarily clever guessing game thing, Akinator? It’s amazing although very weak on Georgette Heyer heroines, I note.