Oops. Have been a terrible slackard when it comes to keeping you updated on how my 50 books challenge is going. Have read five books since I last posted, so will keep it brief!
Turning Forty – Mike Gayle
Mike Gayle is an author I have grown up with. He, like me, is an ageing indie kid, or at least I assume he is, as his lead characters tend to be! I loved his first novel ‘My Legendary Girlfriend’ and have read all his subsequent books, enjoying his slightly edgy chick-lit from a mans perspective. Turning Forty is aptly timed for me, as I actually did turn 40 the week I was reading it. In this book we rejoin Matt Beckford, lead character in the novel Turning Thirty, and discover that in the intervening years he has married and returned to England. He has bought himself a shed, he is prepared for forty, until his wife asks for a divorce. Matt ends up back at his parents, looking up old flames, and making friends with his teenage hero. Funny, touching, and easily identifiable with, I really enjoyed this book.
The Mystery of Mercy Close – Marian Keyes
As with Mike Gayle, I have been reading Marian Keyes for a long time, and reading her books is like popping on a pair of favourite slippers. Warm, comfortable, homely, funny, and brilliant. This book features the Walsh family, over the years they have appeared in many of her novels, with different sisters taking the lead role. This time we are with Helen, the strangest of the sisters, and the one I feel the most affinity for. It also sees the return of The Laddz, a boyband who have a missing member just before a reunion gig. Helen finds herself homeless and thrown together with an ex on the case to find Wayne Diffney, add into this her new love, Artie Devlin, his ex and his children, and you have a complicated story of highs, lows, and inimitable Keyes humour. My favourite thing is the ‘shovel list’. In Helens words ‘A shovel list. It’s more of a conceptual thing. It’s a list of all the people and things I hate so much I want to hit them in the face with a shovel’. Awesome. Look out for my shovel list coming soon to a blog near you….
This Is How It Ends – Kathleen MacMahon
Another Irish novel. A beautiful and unforgettable love story. I adored this and couldn’t put it down. It was finished with actual tears streaming down my cheeks. Addie an out of work architect, meets Bruno a distant cousin and brash American while she is both recovering from heartbreak and looking after her incapacitated and grumpy father. She is not looking for love, yet it finds her anyway, but soon their newfound happiness is being pushed to the limits by life’s hard turns. I loved how the huge characters leaped off of the page, I loved the scenery, I loved the bittersweet tale, I loved the writing. A great romantic novel.
The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
In a month of fabulous reading, this was my favourite, in fact it will be a contender for my book of the year. Julia is 11 when the world starts to end. Her and her parents wake up one Saturday morning to the news that the rotation of the Earth has begun to slow. No one knows why, or what will happen. Gradually time changes, day and night go out of sync with the clocks, people must decide whether to live in tune with the planet or with time as it used to be. Life goes on. Normal life. But how can it be normal when the world keeps slowing? This is a quiet story of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances. It is like no disaster book I have ever read, it is haunting and subtle, and believable.
So far this year I have read 23 books, and am 2 weeks into July, so I am behind schedule a little, fingers crossed I will still cross that 50 books line by the end of the year! What would you recommend as my next read?