Do you like reading? My Mum was a librarian when I grew up, so I used to spent hours in the back room of the library at school, rifling through boxes of both new and donated books. I was forever counting down the seconds until school was over, so I could nestle down in my favourite beanbag and get straight into reading (I was a pretty cool kid, obviously).
Somewhere during my journey to adulthood, I fell out of love with reading. I don’t know when it happened, but one day I suddenly realised that books weren’t exactly a part of my life. It wasn’t a conscious thing, but either way, it made me feel, well, sad.
Since living in Thailand, we’ve discovered a really, really neat bookshop. We visit at least once a month, and I genuinely spend about 1/4 of my paycheque on new books. I’m hooked. Over the past month or two I’ve been reading up a storm, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of my latest conquests. Heads up, I didn’t like all of them, but hey, honesty is good, right?!
The Time Keeper – Mitch Albom
Hands down, Mitch Albom is my favourite author of all time (seriously, if you haven’t read The Five People you meet in Heaven you need to get cracking!). He just has the most brilliant way with words. They flow so beautifully across the page and although I’m not religious in the slightest, his books never cease to resonate with me.
The Time Keeper is the story of Father Time, himself, and how he he got into his position. It follows the journey of two humans; a young girl who has too much time (and attempts to end her life) and an old man who is running out of time, and freezes himself cryogenically. Father Time has to teach the two to be grateful for what they have, and the end result will absolutely leave you with tears in your eyes.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto – Mitch Albom
So now you know I love Mitch, you’ll know I’ll read basically anything of his I can get my hands on! I spotted his latest offering a month or two ago and was massively thrilled when I finally got my hands on it! The generous size of the book had me feeling a little daunted, but it only took about two days to get through. His writing is just so, so beautiful.
It follows the story of the hugely talented (fictional) musician Frankie Presto. The beginning of the book starts with the end; where Frankie is playing a concert and suddenly dies. The super supernatural thing is that his body rises above the crowd – and yes, there are multiple witnesses. The book unravels Frankie’s story until finally unlocking the mysterious concert.
It is an absolute tear-jerker which skilfully brings real-life musicians into the mix (Hank Williams, Bon Jovi, to name a couple). This is possibly the best book I’ve read all year and I’ll definitely be flicking through it again soon. It is really, really beautiful.
The Sense of an Elephant – Marco Missirou
In all honesty, I basically bought this book for the cover. When I read the blurb, I thought it sounded extremely enticing. After all, it’s set in Milan and there’s a former priest and a whole lot of mystery surrounding his family. I was keen to sit down and get reading.
Turns out this book is absolutely not for me. I found it to be an extremely painful read. I tried reading big chunks of it in one go but that didn’t work. In the end, I had to read it in little trickles, and even that was too much. I felt like everything was made to sound really mysterious, but it was all just so, so obvious. Definitely not a book I’d be looking at again. Although I stick by my original opinion – the cover sure is pretty.
The Forgetting Time – Sharon Guskin
I really, really liked this book! The premise was definitely more-than-a-little creepy. Basically, some children are reincarnated people who have suffered a traumatic death in their former life. Woah. The story centres around a boy, Noah, who has memories that definitely can’t be his. He references Harry Potter constantly (a little weird for such a young kid) and has an insane knowledge on lizards, although his Mum has never seen him have anything to do with reptiles of any sort. Oh, and he called his Mum “Other Mum.” A little weird, right? So she enlists the help of Dr. Anderson, who helps unravel the mystery of who Noah really is.
Ugh, this was a good book. If you can get ahold of it, then read it! I found it really hard to put down, and finished it in just over a day.
Slade House – David Mitchell
In all honesty, I bought this book solely for the cover. It’s so pretty! Then I realised this was a horror book. It took me a couple of weeks to pluck up the courage the read it (scary things are absolutely not my jam. I’m okay during the day but cannot sleep at night time!)
Turns out, I wasn’t scared in the slightest! It was a really gripping read and David Mitchell is a brilliant writer. In fact, I picked up Cloud Atlas last week just to get more of a taste of his writing style! In summary, Slade House is about a mysterious house (called Slade, can you believe it?!) which appears only to some people. Oh, and then they go missing every twelve years. It has mystery, ghosties, and a whole lot of suspense. I really liked it!
The Goddess Chronicle – Natsuo Kirino
Natsuo Kirino is an author I’ve liked for years. Her book ‘Grotesque’, although sad and gory is an absolute masterpiece. Generally, I love Japanese writers – I just find their words flow so beautifully. So yeah, I was really excited to get my hands on this book.
Turns out, it definitely wasn’t for me. I felt it had a lot of potential; after all, it’s set on a faraway island and there are mythical gods who created everything on the Earth. The premise was definitely enticing. But I just felt that it fell short. The writing itself was really good though, I just didn’t like the book. I’d definitely give Natsuo’s other work a shot!
J.K. Rowling – The Casual Vacancy
As if I needed an excuse to read a book by J.K.! I love Harry Potter. I’ve wanted to read this book for years, so finally nabbed a copy..
The Casual Vacancy is set in the U.K. town of Pagford. The counciller, Barry Fairbrother suddenly passes away, and the novel focuses on the effects it has on the town afterwards. There’s a nasty villain, Howard, who is hellbent on removing the less-than-perfect council estate, ‘The Fields’ and doesn’t care (even remotely!) about the people who live there, despite the fact that they need a whole lot of help.
Again, it just wasn’t for me. Wah! I felt like her writing itself was brilliant (seriously, she knows how to string words together!) but I kept feeling like something massive was going to happen. And it didn’t. I enjoyed reading this book, but I was definitely disappointed.