It looks like January was a busy reading month. Five books in total. I have to admit that’s a bit of a cheat. I had read most of The Chef whilst at the beach but didn’t finish it until I got home. Technically it’s a January book because I finished it at the very beginning of the month, the reality is it really should have made it on to the December list.
This was the first novel I have read of Martin Suter’s, another German author who has his books translated into English for our enjoyment. The novel is set in Zurich and tells the story of a Tamil refugee who works as a poorly paid kitchen hand in high end restaurants despite his considerable cooking skills. When he finds himself out of yet another job he sets up his own business cooking Ayurvedic meals for couples, a skills learned from his grandmother. Of course A lead to B, leads to C, and what you have is an intertwining series of events that centre around cooking, refugees, weapons and business. A good beach read.
Shelter by Jung Yun, provided a more considered read. I really liked this book although its subject matter was a lot more difficult to process. Beginning with a violent crime, it leads to the exposure of domestic abuse, and family dysfunction in the Korean-American family at the centre of the story. The plots takes you places you really don’t expect and left me a little unsettled. This sounds like a book to avoid, but it really is worth reading.
The low point in my reading for this month was The Green Road. I had attempted this book on another occasion and had put it aside. But it was still lying around, and the reviews were generally good, so I decided I had to persevere. This is an Irish family saga from the perspective of the four children and their mother over a 25 year period. But I really didn’t get into it. Every time I put it down I had to think about what had been going on before I could continue reading. I feel it’s a case of: it’s not you, it’s me. I’m sure others out there would love it.
Things were rectified with Julia Rochester’s The House at the Edge of the World. Twins, Morwenna and Corwin, have just turned 18 when their father falls of a cliff and dies. This book is worth reading for the descriptions of the Cornwall coast, and getting to know the children’s grandfather. Its twists and turns keep you wondering and just a little surprised. Enough said. Loved it.
I happened to read another Martin Suter book this month, The Last Weynfeldt. I read a review of this book and wasn’t disappointed. Adrian Weynfeldt is an independently wealthy art expert who happily spreads his wealth amongst a mishmash of people, selflessly supporting their artistic pursuits. His generosity sees a relationship form with a younger woman who manipulates the middle-aged Adrian for financial gain, eventually daring him to sell a forged painting at an upcoming auction. This cast of quirky characters and the unpredictable plot twists and turns, make this a novel you can’t put down. If The Chef was a 3 star book, this is definitely 4.
The thing I love about keeping a reading log is it’s a reminder of what I’ve read. On numerous occasions I have borrowed books from the library, only to sit down and read the first couple of pages before realising I’ve already read it. Some books are worth re-reading, but with so many out there to choose from, I prefer to pick up something new. So my monthly overview of books serves a very useful purpose, and hopefully inspires others to pick one or two of them up too. Enjoy!