This post should really be called reading May and June 2017 because my reading efforts for May were so miserable I decided not to post about it. That’s not to say that what I read was miserable. Far from it. During May I read one book …but one book that I am really happy I read.
I loved Jo Malone. My Story because it was an inspiring story of someone who worked their butt off to make a dream come true, and who doesn’t love a fairytale. It’s not a literary masterpiece, but it rawness and honesty made it a compelling read for me. I love reading real people’s stories because it gives a perspective on their lives you otherwise have no clue about. This book left me feeling incredibly positive and thinking: if Jo Malone can do it, I can do it. It’s all about hard work and passion. I’m not sure what I’ll do but it inspired me to go looking and that’s got to be a good thing.
Then came June which was 100% more productive in the reading stakes than May. I read two books! I’ve had My Name is Lucy Barton on my books to read list for a while now, and because of its popularity at the local library, just haven’t been able to. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found this copy sitting on the shelf. My recent experience with reading novels by authors I have read and enjoyed in the past should have set alarm bells ringing. I’d read Olive Kitteridge a while back, so with this being my second Elizabeth Strout novel, there was a degree of trepidation attached to opening the cover. The curse has finally been broken! I really liked this book to the extent that I am keen to seek out others by her.
This is a relatively short novel that feels like it is a whole lot longer, and I mean that in a good way. Lucy Barton is in hospital recuperating from a post-surgical infection, and it is here she reflects on and assesses her life, from childhood through to the present. With an unexpected visit from her estranged mother, Lucy is taken back to her dysfunctional childhood and the poverty and abuse that characterised it. Despite escaping to a better life when she was given the opportunity to go off to college, there is a sense of longing for family that draws her back to the past. Enough said. This is a book worth reading.
Nicci Gerrard’s The Winter House explores friendship and the eternal connection that come with true friends. Those special people you don’t see or hear from for years, but those you can pick up where you left off with, when you do. Marnie grew up with 3 best friends and ultimately fell out with each one over an extended period of time, though not to the extent where they wouldn’t be there for each other if the need arose. And it did.
When she receives and unexpected phone call from her old friend Oliver asking her to come to Scotland as their friend Ralph is dying of cancer, she doesn’t hesitate. A secluded cottage in Scotland provides the setting for reminiscing about their shared past, with her memories of key events in their friendship laying out the story of how they got to be where they are today. Interspersed with Ralph’s own take on them, the story of lasting friendship evolves.
I didn’t read much over the past two months, but what I read I thoroughly enjoyed. These are three books I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Enjoy!