It seems that every other book advertised at presents purports to be a ‘psychological thriller’, but although I’ve read a few, they’re not my preferred choice. However, they are very popular at present and when it comes to books, I’m a firm believer in ‘whatever floats your boat’. Although I’ve read some weighty literary tomes in my time, I’m really not pretentious about books. I rather suspect that people who loftily claim that they’d, ‘never read that kind of thing’ when faced with the women’s fiction genre want to suggest that their reading choices are somehow superior. As far as I’m concerned reading for pleasure should be exactly that – a pleasure, and just like choosing a scent or something to eat, we’re all different.
Do you find that after reading a particular book that you’ve really enjoyed, it is hard to settle into a different book? There have been many books that I’ve thought to be ok at the time, but two days after finishing them, can’t even recall the characters’ names. For a book to be memorable I need to care about those characters. I need to miss them when I close the book and wonder about what happened next. I want unputdownable.
And that’s exactly how it was when I read about Loveday, the shop assistant at ‘Lost for Words’, a second hand book shop in York. If you love words, love books, love bookshops, then you might well love Loveday. She is the main character in a fabulous book called Lost for Words. Finding a book that has been dropped in the street sets off a series of life changing events. It’s happy, it’s sad and it’s a cracking story. The author is excellent at characterisation, drawing distinct personas for each of the main players. If you enjoyed Stephanie Butlands The keeper of Lost Things, I’m sure you’d love Lost for Words too.
Another recent read much enjoyed was The Secrets of Strangers by the excellent writer, Charity Norman. The story takes place over several hours in a single day and is centred on the people who are held in a siege in a cafe. It has one of the most poignant endings I’ve ever read. Each of Charity Norman’s six books is one that I’d happily recommend to friends, my favourites being The Son-in-Law and Freeing Grace. An ex-barrister, she uses her legal knowledge in her writing, but it’s never overplayed.
Yet more recent and enjoyable light reading includes the Cockleberry Bay series (three books) by Nicola May (based on an inherited shop in Cornwall), and Helen Pollard’s three book series La Cour des Roses (a new life running a small guesthouse in France).
I’m currently reading Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. It’s ok, but no more than that. I’ve liked Moton’s other books but I think she’s being experimental with this one and unfortunately I’m not finding unputdownable! The latest Kerry Fisher book is on Kindle order, due on 5th August. I shall resist opening it until we go away for a few days in September, along with a couple of other recent purchases, and I might just treat myself to the lates Mike Gayle book, All the Lonely People too. If you like the kind of books I’ve written about in the past and haven’t given him a try, start with The Man I Think I Know – superb! Half a World Away is pretty good too.
Unusually, I’ve abandoned a couple of books lately: Normal People by Sally Rooney and Elizabeth Noble’s The Reading Group. Most unlike me, I usually stick it out in the hope that things will improve but I really couldn’t get to grips with either. But I’m changing – why waste my time on something that I’m not enjoying?
What do you do when you find yourself in this situation – do you soldier on or think that life’s too short to waste it reading something that doesn’t float YOUR boat?