The great thing about Christmas holidays is you can sit down and read in the middle of the day and not feel guilty: not that you should ever feel guilty about reading. It’s no longer confined to early morning and late night. You can read til your heart’s content – on the beach, when you get back from the beach, or before you go back to the beach later in the afternoon. What’s not to love about Christmas!
Both of these books are totally readable, and both of these books are just a little bit annoying. On that basis, I don’t think I would recommend either, though if you happen to see them on your local library shelf and you can’t find anything else, then have a read and see what you think. The Girls (Emma Cline) is set in California in the late 1960s and comes with all the associated free this and free that of the era. Ultimately it’s about bad behaviour, manipulation, naivety and a whole lot of people not taking responsibility or caring about others. There are plenty of readers who love this book, but I’m not one of them.
Once again I’ve been burned by selecting the next novel from a writer whose book I read and loved in the past. This is a lesson I continually fail to learn. Loved The Circle, but Heroes of the Frontier, not so much. Is it bad? No. But it just falls short when you have expectations. If this is your first Dave Eggers book, you’ll probably like it. But I wanted The Circle Mk II, and it didn’t deliver. This is about a woman who runs away to Alaska with her two children to escape life. Parenting, marriage, friendship and happiness are all there, but it’s a long and sometime tortuous road to discovery. There are parts of this book that are really enjoyable and insightful and then there are others that go on and on and on. Like I said, just a little bit annoying.
And then I read The Other Child, by Charlotte Link – and loved it. Nothing like a bit of a murder mystery to get the pages turning. This is an English translation of a German novel, and it’s so well done you forget it wasn’t written in English. It might help that it is set in Scarborough, England and revolves around the lives of a couple of displaced children from London during WWII. The story moves back and forward between the war years and modern day, looking at events that happened in the past and the ramifications they have on the present. This is a solid 3 1/2 stars, and is perfect for holiday reading.
Glennon Doyle Melton’s memoir Love Warrior is all about survival. This is her telling of her battle with addictions of various kinds and coming out the other side. Fighting to find herself, when herself got lost in others’ lives, this is a warts and all telling. I didn’t know anything about the author until I saw the publicity for this book, so had zero expectations and enjoyed it. It tells us that people deal with rubbish in their lives all the time, and it’s through tenacity and determination that they come out the other side. Where there’s fight, there’s hope.
This has been a mixed bag of reading for the month of December. If you’ve read any of the above I’d really like to know what you thought of them. Bring on January! Enjoy!