I Want Unputdownable!

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.

Lost for wordsAnd 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.

 

Secrets of StrangersAnother 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.

 

Cockleberry

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?

27 comments

  1. I was very pleased ( but nevertheless the less, very late commenting – blame it on the puppy!) when I saw that you’d written a ‘book post’. I loved the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ so I will definitely read ‘Lost for Words’. I expect I will enjoy La Cour des Roses’, as well. I’ve recently read 2 books that were billed as being ‘uplifting’ which I feel I need in the time of Covid. However, they both featured lead characters with terminal illnesses. I couldn’t finish them because they bought back painful memories. I then turned to psychological thrillers (haha! Nice and dark) I would highly recommend the series, with a main character called Freida Klein, written by Nicci French ( a married couple!)

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    • Oh dear, not quite what I’d call uplifting! I have read a number of Nicci French books and enjoyed the earlier ones but not so much those that came later. I like the Culver Valley series by Sophie Hannah; although described as psychological, they don’t fit in with the recent spate of of ‘girl marries rich husband who seems too good to be true, and he is – turns out to be fond of coercive control’.

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  2. I am a really boring reader, Eloise. I often find it hard to “get into” a book. But I do think I now know why – as you said regarding caring about the characters in a novel – some writers don’t grab me with their characters. I do read esoteric books and I may or may not agree with what’s written in them.

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    • It’s interesting when we don’t agree with a writer’s view, for how else can an issue be considered and debated if we don’t ‘listen’ to the other side. Unfortunately today there is a reluctance to hear both sides ; many people will not listen to the opinion of others, when in fact there is often fors and againsts in both arguments

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  3. Thank you for lots of recommendations. Our library has recently reopened but you are asked not to touch the books unnecessarily and if you take a book off the shelf which you decide you don’t want then there is a special box to place it so it can be quarantined. I need to look inside to check if I have read it before. We are not yet able to reserve books. Hopefully this will restart later this month. I have made full use of Borrowbox a free service from the library for borrowing ebooks. I feel so blessed with my love of reading, I have made the most of all the extra time.

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    • I’m always astonished when someone says that they don’t read! It’s a personal thing, of course, but I just couldn’t imagine not having a book on the go! It’s a sad state of affairs with libraries having to quarantine books at the moment.

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  4. I don’t think I’ve commented before and hope you don’t mind me joining the conversation! The problem with giving up permanently on reading something is that I might just not be in the mood for that kind of book at the time and on another occasion I might really enjoy it. My kindle is really useful for keeping such books as I don’t have to find shelf space to store them! I am surprised that I cannot get into Barbara Kingsolver’s Lacuna although I had found other novels by her very readable eg The Poisonwood Bible. I, too, have enjoyed a couple of Charity Norman’s books since lockdown – very absorbing at a time when my ability to concentrate has been a bit patchy. Thanks for blogging. Vicki

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    • It is lovely to have new people joining in. Thank you for reading. I do agree that sometimes it is to do with mood, and like you I have found that I’ve enjoyed something on second try. I read The Poisonwood Bible when I was in a book club some years ago and remember liking (but not loving) it. Glad to hear that someone else has heard of Charity Norman. When I have recommended her to friends, no-one has ever seemed aware of her.

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  5. Sometimes it is worth soldiering on but these days I tend to go with life is to short and to busy to waste time on a book I am struggling with. I also loved Lost for Words a wonderful read.

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    • Glad to have found someone else who’s read it, Sharon. You;re right, it is a wonderful read. Life is indeed too short to waste!

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  6. I no longer persevere with a book that I do not enjoy. I give myself the gift of putting myself out of my misery!

    Last week I got within a chapter of the end of one book that I had been totally engrossed in – definitely unputdownable. Suddenly there was an unforeseen plot twist and I simply could not finish it because it completely devalued the whole book.

    On another point – I don’t have a Kindle and depend heavily on 2nd hand book sites online. During lockdown the prices started creeping up and it actually became cheaper to but a new copy than 2nd hand – has anyone else noticed this?

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    • A gift to yourself – I like that. The very reason that I am not keen on psychological thrillers is that every one I’ve read falls away at the end because the author can’t think of a thrilling ending. The gym I attend is brilliant for second hand books. we are all ladies of a certain age who read similar types of books. We have a charity bookshelf and for a small donation we can take the books. Almost everyone returns them so they are ‘sold’ many times over. We have made more than £6,000. Of course, there has been no gym to go to for the past few months

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  7. I too will read to the end, always in the hope it will improve. I should know better but it’s the way I am.
    I decided this year to try some classics and recently struggled through Moby Dick. It was so unenjoyable that I almost wept with relief when it was over. Since then I have read 3 very light easy books that I have so enjoyed. I think Moby Dick has made me rethink and maybe I will give up on the next book I can’t get into. As you say, reading is supposed to be for pleasure.
    Thank you for the book recommendations.

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    • Hi Fiona, nice to hear from you. The thing with many of the classics is that the style is laboured and the fashion was for long, rambling, descriptive prose. We’re not used to that in modern literature. I have to admit, I really do not enjoy the style.

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  8. I’ve never finished a book I didn’t enjoy……………. So many books so little time……….. and also never read an online book either!

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    • I’m the same nowadays. It’s a waste of precious time. I decided to download the Kindle app on my ipad when I was going to be flying a couple of times with hand luggage only. I love paper books best but have got used to reading online now. I didn’t like it at all to begin with.

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  9. I was always proud of finishing books no matter how dire. However, over the last few years I have stopped doing this and just put it to the side. I have just finished The Sun Sister by which is the sixth book in a series of seven by Lucinda Riley and was not taxing at all to read I really enjoyed it despite very mixed reviews. I also read Where the Crawdads sing which has been much praised but I couldn’t say I enjoyed it at all. I have been downloading books from Amazon Prime for free during lockdown and also look at Kindle Daily Deals each day. Usually I would buy real books but needs must when we are safe at home.

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    • I used only to use Kindle for holidays as it saved transporting several books but it’s really come into into it’s own during lockdown with many books either free or costing very little. I know what you mean about feeling proud never to have given up on a book; I was the same but like you now don’t bother if I’m not enjoying it.

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