Friday 11 November 2016

Five on Friday - A Reading List

It seems like a long time since I wrote about the books I've been reading so I've picked five recent reads to share with you for Five on Friday

1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I resisted picking up Me Before You for quite a while, mostly because it had received a lot of hype and I thought it might not live up to it all but I was pleasantly surprised. It tells the story of the unlikely relationship between bubbly and funny Lou Clark, a very ordinary girl with very few expectations from life and Will Traynor, a previously high flying businessman who has been left quadraplegic after a motorcycle accident. It cleverly tells of the impact they have on each others lives with humour and empathy. I think it is a serious book about serious issues but cleverly presented as a romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm wondering if I'll enjoy the film as much.

2. The Beauty of Murder by A. K. Benedict

This was our book club choice back in September. It is a murder mystery with a difference as it involves time travel and it is also set in Cambridge which gave added appeal as I always enjoy reading about places that are familiar. I actually quite enjoyed it and it presented some interesting ideas but the writing style became irritating after a while. For me it seemed so obvious it had been written by someone who had taken a degree in creative writing as it was packed full of far fetched metaphors and at times an over flowery style. So it was no surprise to find that A.K.Benedict has an MA in creative writing. It wasn't an overly popular choice in our book club and one of the biggest questions was whether the author was male or female! (I'll leave you to find out!) But I found it quite an entertaining read.

3. The Cake Shop in the Garden by Carole Matthews

This was one of those books that I popped into the trolley when I was supermarket shopping. I admit I didn't have high expectations and I was seduced by the title, a light read and the idea of a cake shop in the garden. But I have never read such drivel in my entire life. Fay Merryweather (yes, I know even her name says it all) runs a cake shop and cafe in her garden where she also has a canal boat moored in the canal at the back of the house. She is put upon by her cantankerous bedridden mother, taken advantage of by her horrible selfish sister, treated terribly by her boring boyfriend but all the time poor old Fay soldiers on with a smile... what a martyr! And all the time you know that eventually the chap who has turned up on a boat to do odd jobs will be her knight in shining armour. He just takes 422 pages of repetitive, long winded, highly predictable drivel to do it. And before you ask, I have no idea why I actually bothered to finish it!

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Fortunately my brain was prevented from turning to mush by our October book club choice All The Light We Cannot See which was brilliant. Set in the second world war it follows the parallel lives of a young French girl, Marie-Laure who happens to be blind, and a young orphaned German boy Werner, who is recruited to the Hitler Youth because of his talent for fixing radios. Their lives are linked by the impact of radio during the war and the devastation in the walled town of St. Malo where their lives eventually converge. It is a well written and beautifully crafted story and it was an extrememly popular book club choice.

5. When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendleson

I have just finished When We Were Bad and found it a quick and entertaining read. It tells the story of the Rubin family, Rabbi Claudia, her husband Norman and their four "grown up" children and how they collapse into one big mess after their beloved eldest son does a runner on his wedding day. It is witty and warm and although the story doesn't really go anywhere it is a nice little observation of human behaviour. A fun read!

I'm currently reading In Order to Live by Yeonomi Park, which is a harrowing autobiography by the young Yeomoni telling of her escape from North Korea, via human trafficking in China. Have you read any good books lately?

There is no Five on Friday link up this week but as I'd already written this post and it's Friday, I'm sticking with it!


  1. I liked the sound of Beauty of Murder. Sad that it was spoilt by overflowery writing. Have a good weekend. B x

  2. It seems that we have been paired up for the Love Made My Home Christmas Card Swap!
    I'm not sure how the address thing works, do we email them to each other? Or if you havee a FB page maybe we could message them?

    P.S I LOVE the cakes you showed us in your last post!
    All The Best
    Tricky @ Fast-SoS

  3. Thanks for the recommendations (or not! - Fay sounds like a complete wet blanket)and I am so glad that the mystery of the missing jam has been solved! Have a good weekend. x

  4. A wonderful varied selection of books - I will look out for them but will pass over The Cake Shop in the Garden!

  5. Love a good nosey at the books others are reading. I've just finished Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Based on a real life event at the end of the 1950s, it's a sort of non fiction novel, if that makes sense. Highly recommended.

  6. I must admit, you are selling the Jojo Moyes book much better than anyone else. I am actually tempted. I am also tempted by the time travelling serial killer book but might listen to an extract on Audible to decide if the writing style is too annoying. Thanks for pointing this out! All the light we cannot see has been on my wishlist for a while and I really must get it now! Love a good book round-up post. x

  7. I'm always suspicious of books with too much pink on the cover, so almost definitely would not have picked up Charlotte Mendelsen which sounds like a good read. The other two darker covers would have caught my eye, though I remember reading the reviews of the Anthony Doerr and thinking I needed to wait until I was in the right mood for it. Mind you just now I'm reading 'His Bloody Project', a Booker shortlister, and that's hardly sweetness and light, but definitely well written. I'm really struggling with finding anything that makes me want to persevere to the end of anything at all just now so well done you for fitting in so many books.

    1. The Anthony Doerr book is well worth trying. Despite the subject matter it is a very easy read, probably because it is so well written.

  8. Our book group read All tghe light we cannot see, and I loved it, as did my 15 year old grand daughter. Another book group pick which I found a marvellous read was 'Burnt shadows' by Kamila Shamsie. Thanks for your book thoughts!

    1. Thanks for your suggestion too Erica. I'm always on the lookout for other recommendations.

  9. We nearly went to see the film base don Me Before You and then I read a rotten tomatoes review and steered clear of it. I've been a bit the same about the book but my friend read it recently and has not stopped gushing about it since. Now you have also put in a good word so I think I'll keep my eye open for a charity shop copy. I'm reading Stone's Fall by Iain Pears at the moment. Not bad so far and improving page on page.

  10. What an interesting collection of books Gina! I laughed upon further inspection of the picture for Cake Shop in the Garden -- apparently Mary Berry's talents lie in baking, rather than book selection LOL!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.