Just Like You by Nick Hornby
God, I found this a bit tedious. Older white middle-class woman, younger black working-class man and their relationship. It could have been insightful but I did not find it so. I didn’t find it funny either which was my expectation for a Nick Hornby book. To be fair, I’m not sure it was meant to be funny.
The Ministry of Bodies by Seamus O’Mahony
I quite enjoyed this. It’s a, now retired, doctor’s slightly cynical account of life in Cork’s largest hospital. I recognised a couple of the characters which is always mildly entertaining.
The Building of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Somebody recommended the Jalna series of books to me. I tried this one (book 1 in the series). I think it’s one of those things you have to read at the right age and I was a bit old to be starting. It’s about 19th century settlers in Canada and follows their lives over different generations. Maybe better if you’re Canadian. I did enjoy discovering that the author’s real name is the much mor prosaic Maisie Roche
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
Standard Agatha Christie fare – anonymous letter writing and murder – but none the worse for that.
Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer by MC Beaton
I had never tried an Agatha Raisin book before. For all their, extremely numerous, shortcomings, I quite enjoy the author’s Hamish Macbeth books so I thought I would try this. Honestly, it is an absolutely awful book at every conceivable level and I actually found myself wondering whether the elderly author was completely well when she wrote it and I am baffled by her publisher’s decision to publish it.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
I am not a huge fan of thrillers with a twist so this was probably never a book for me but it’s competently done, if you like this kind of thing.
Dublin: The Making of a Capital City by David Dickson
This took me months to read. I learnt a lot about Dublin but I will only forget it all again so I am slightly wondering why I put myself through it. Very worthy but more like an academic text book to dip into than a fun read.
My sister said to me over Christmas, “You’re much more Dublin than Cork now.” I am outraged so must pick up a Cork history book, I suppose.
Still Life by Sarah Winman
A lot of people I like and respect loved this book. I mean, it’s grand and readable enough. It’s kind of a fable; a love story to Florence where a lot of English people end up living for a variety of reasons over the course of the 20th century. But overall, I found it a bit twee and very unlikely.
Death Has Deep Roots by Michael Gilbert
This is quite a well-written whodunnit from the golden age of crime writing. Pretty good, I thought.
Hare House by Sally Hinchcliffe
I must confess an interest here as the author is a blogger and cycling enthusiast whom I have been following online since 2003 and even met once.
I really enjoyed the book though. It’s a gothic horror story but not too scary for the lily livered (me). The atmosphere is built up really cleverly and I found it creepy without being too scared to turn off the light which is the perfect balance for me. Recommended.
Again Rachel by Marian Keyes
A follow-up to “Rachel’s Holiday” which I re-read in preparation. Marian Keyes is always reliably entertaining. I was entertained.
This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
The first book in a very long time that made me laugh aloud. That said, who would be a junior doctor, I mean really?
In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova
This was such a good book but really hard going. The author is interested in family history and weaves her family story around general Russian and Jewish history with a good dose of art history as well. I found it fascinating and it deals with the theme of trying to preserve memory in a really interesting way. It’s something I am interested in myself (what do you think this blog is for?) and something my mother was interested in as well. The author does an amazing job and the result is a memoir in tribute to her family but a lot more besides. I started reading it before the war in Ukraine but was half way through when it started. I started to notice how many of the family came from Ukraine although its relationship with Russia was never really considered and in a book that contained deep thoughts about many things, that absence was interesting in itself.
Definitely recommended but you would need to be in the whole of your health to read it. Herself said, “I bet you’re the only person reading this while simultaneously rereading Georgette Heyer’s ‘Pistols for Two’.” This may well be so but you would need something less demanding on the side as you work your way through it. Also, if ever a book needed a family tree on the inside front pages, this is it. My only real complaint is the absence of same.
Did she say â€˜Youâ€™re more Dublin than Corkâ€™ perhaps?
I am sorry that you did not enjoy Jalna. A friend of my mother lent me the 16 books when I was locked down with mononucleosis at age 15 and I loved it, and still do, and still re-read all the books once a year or so, it’s like going to a beloved holiday house. One remarkable thing about the author is that she never married nor had children, but the family and couple stories I find are very well described.
I look forward to reading Hare House, maybe when I’m through The Cazalet Chronicles (Elizabeth Jane Howard, 5 books) which I fear you wouldn’t like if you did not like Jalna…
Well spotted and amended accordingly. I like to think of the error as my subconscious hard at work.
I do think that itâ€™s something about the age you first read them and I can see how they would have appealed to teenage me and I would have gone back to them but first reading was just too late. I LOVED the Cazalets though.
Michael Gilbert was the author who kept me sane in Africa when I wanted a taste of home. Edmund Crispin was another. Rather enjoying The Empire of Pain by Patrick Keefe, about the Sacklers. Not finished it yet but it is interesting that the founding fathers of dynasties, I have met rather too many, tend to be charismatic and have pretty dubious morals.
Oooh, mildly curious to try the Sackler one. I find what you say about founding fathers confirms my own belief (although I don’t think I’ve met any which is a sad reflection on my social circle).