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Reading etc.

“Catholic Mass For Dummies” by John Trigilio, Kenneth Brighenti, Monsignor James Cafone

I was lent this by a friend. A bit dull but I can tell you it’s a miracle the Orthodox and Syno Malabar rite people manage to keep anyone at all. They require extra hours of devotion.

“Outlander”Diana Gabaldon

This is a very popular series of books about a woman who finds herself transported from the 1940s to the 1740s. I thought it was only alright and wouldn’t be rushing back to read the rest of the series. And I quite like time travel but the balance of historical romance to time travel wasn’t quite right for me.

“Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout

A brilliant writer tells a poignant story (more like a series of short stories really) where this difficult woman with a heart of gold (Olive Kitteridge) features. It’s very good at getting inside someone’s head.

“Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan” by Ruth Gilligan

This is a rather gloomy story about Lithuanian Jews who pitched up in Ireland and their lives and a modern day Dublin girl thinking of converting to Judaism for her English Jewish boyfriend. Didn’t really do it for me; too gloomy.

“The Village” by Marghanita Laski

I enjoyed this paean to the socialist utopia set in a village where class structures are crumbling after the end of World War II.

“My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout

Another beautifully written book by Elizabeth Strout.

“Open” by Andre Agassi

God, who knew it was so absolutely grim being a professional tennis player? And does your father have to be insane? Interesting insights here.

“Every Good Deed”
by Dorothy Whipple

A book of short stories by the ever-reliable Dorothy Whipple. Great read.

“The Humans” by Matt Haig

I quite enjoyed this book which uses an alien’s perspective to look at human relationships.

“The Possession of Mr Cave” by Matt Haig

I liked “The Humans” so much that I tried more of Mr. Haig. This is, I think, a better book but hair-raising in its description of descent into insanity.

“The Last Family in England” by Matt Haig

A slightly less successful offering by Matt Haig. Maybe better, if you are a big Labrador dog fan.

“The Radleys” by Matt Haig

A family of vampires on the dry- it starts off really well but it spirals out of control a bit at the end.

“Eligible”by Curtis Sittenfeld

A re-imagining of “Pride and Prejudice” by a wonderful contemporary author. One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in ages.

“The Forever Court” by Dave Rudden

I am, as you know, not at all above children’s literature and I really enjoyed part one of this children’s series. For my money, this volume is not quite as good but enjoyable enough all the same and very well written.

“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

A bookseller in Dubray books recommended this for Michael and he absolutely loved it as did Daniel. I didn’t think it was bad but I did not go for it to the same extent as they did. It’s a science fiction novel starring a very tough 6 year old.

“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald

This is a story about a woman training a hawk after her father died. It got amazing reviews and I see how it is a wonderfully written book on the theme of loss but I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. Maybe I needed something cheerier.

“The Luckiest Girl in the School” by Angela Brazil
“The Jolliest School of all” by Angela Brazil

I needed something to read. They were free on the Kindle. I don’t think these school stories have really stood the test of time but maybe it is just too late for me to appreciate them.

“Lola Offline” by Nicola Doherty

Great read for teenagers on the perils of social media and finding new friends, Daniel really enjoyed it and was not at all put off by the pink cover.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay” by J. K. Rowling

A bit meh to be honest but I am now committed to reading all of the Harry Potter related works by Rowling. Why? “I dunno” as Ron Weasley would say.

“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

This is an absolutely beautiful book written by a brain surgeon who died of cancer in his thirties. Surprisingly uplifting given the theme.

“Le Crime du Comte Neville” by Amélie Nothomb

A recent offering by the extremely prolific Belgian. Extended meditation on the Belgian aristocracy with suicide. More entertaining than it sounds.

“Do No Harm” by Henry Marsh

Series of fascinating almost painfully honest essays by a cranky neurosurgeon. Very enjoyable.

“Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett

A book about the damage authors can do to families and families can do to themselves. I’m a big fan of this kind of family saga and this is very well done.

“The Dry”
by Jane Harper

A detective story set in Australia. Very popular, but not for me.

“The Chalk Artist” by Allegra Goodman

Allegra Goodman is a good writer. Her theme here is electronic games are bad and she doesn’t quite carry it off successfully. Only alright, I thought.

“Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”
by Gail Honeyman

This is a book about the mental health impact of abuse. It is a great deal funnier and more positive than that makes it sound but it’s also quite creepy and disturbing. It’s probably a bit more optimistic than the reality. Well worth a read.



8 Responses to “Reading etc.”

  1. Viviane Says:

    I liked Commonwealth too, though Bel Canto is my favorite novel by Ann Patchett. I recently reread short stories by Laurie Colwin that made me think of Olive Kitteridge. And I am now in “A spool of blue thread” by Anne Tyler, very good in my opinion. I might then try Matt Haig…

  2. tampopo2236 Says:

    Yeah, Andre Agassi’s Open was really good. Engrossing. Read it in one day, 11am to 11pm. Unputdownable, as they say

  3. disgruntled Says:

    Just finished reading Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale – I’d never heard of him, but it was in the Oxfam bookshop. If you haven’t read it you might enjoy it – not quite a family saga but very much a family story

  4. belgianwaffle Says:

    Lots of good recommendations here, people, thank you!

  5. Charles Says:

    Good lord you do gad about the heavier parts of the literary canon. How about someone like Peter Lovesy for a bit of light detective fiction. I️ I️ also like a few old classics such as Patrick O Brian, if you have not read them they are brilliant, much better than C S Forester.

  6. belgianwaffle Says:

    My parents both adored Patrick O’B but I never got into them, maybe now is the time…

  7. Gina Says:

    I loved Olive Kitterage so will look out for My Name is Lucy Barton. I felt the same as you about H is for Hawk and also enjoyed Do No Harm. I can recommend Notes from an Exhibition. I’m always on the lookout for new books to read so have noted some of your recommendations. And now I shall promise to stop stalking you this evening having commented on three posts already!

  8. belgianwaffle Says:

    Oh Gina, it is so exciting to have comments and a new reader. Thank you for your lovely comments. Will keep an eye out for “Notes from an Exhibition”.

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