It is time to share some of the books I have read and loved recently. In the last year I have become addicted to audible books. A really good narrator can make such a difference. Sometimes I listen when I am walking, other times when I am tidying up or cooking; tasks that do not require concentration. I am trying not to multi-task, as it is not good for my memory.
Reading is my preference in the evening and before I go to sleep, but I admit that sometimes I get so caught up in an audio book that I often break that self-inflicted rule. Anyway, here are some books I recommend:
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Family Saga)
This is not an easy read. It tells the story of a young couple who build a house in an isolated place on the mountains in Northern Idaho. Then in a flash their happiness is destroyed forever. Wade the father marries again. His new wife Ann wants to know what happened. She has married him, so she wants to understand his pain. Wade has dementia and is unable to help. So Ann seeks answers from other sources. The non-linear storyline kept me on my toes and I had to return and read several chapters again. But it is a story that is strangely captivating. There is much left unanswered because there are no answers. This book won The Dublin Literary Prize worth €100k, for the debut novelist in 2019.
The Maya Angelou Autobiographies/Memoirs
Six BBC Radio 4 Dramatisations (Audiobooks)
I read some of her autobiographies years ago. But the dramatisation of the memoirs gives you a glimpse into her extraordinary life. Her childhood in the Deep South, her years as a prostitute, her singing career, her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement are covered. Maya made very bad choices in her men, though she recounts the stories of her love affairs with honesty and humour.
Beautifully dramatised, I now want to go back and read the books in full again.
The Mystery of Mrs Christie by Marie Benedict (Thriller/Mystery)
Did you know that the writer Agatha Christie went missing in 1926? Her car was found a few miles from her home with her fur coat inside. Eleven days later she reappeared claiming she had amnesia and never explained what happened. Did her unfaithful husband have something to do with it? This is a clever re-imagining of what might have happened. A very easy read.
Someone We Know by Shari Lapena (Crime/Thriller)
I am a huge fan of this author and loved ‘The Couple Next Door’. In a very ordinary neighbourhood, a mother leaves an anonymous note outside two houses apologising and explaining that her son has broken into their houses. Then a woman is murdered. Be prepared for twist after twist in this atmospheric page turner. Another easy read.
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Historical Fiction)
This is the story of a son’s love for his alcoholic mother and his attempts to save her from her addiction. Set in working-class Glasgow in the 1980s, the overall atmosphere is grey and gloomy. And Shuggie is not like the other boys.
The book gives you an insight into the lives of the working classes in the Scottish city at the time. You will need to concentrate initially to get to grips with the characters. Difficult enough read. You will not be laughing but you will be totally involved.
A Booker Prize Winner, this is a worthy recipient.
So Many Ways of Loving by Christine Webber (ROMANCE)
I thought that I would finish with a novel which ends on an upbeat note. Christine Webber’s latest book (I reviewed her last book a few years ago) will resonate with women of a certain age. Yes, I am talking about mid-lifers like myself.
Three women in their 50s and 60s meet at an interview (of sorts) and become friends. There is quite a lot going on in their lives, but it takes time for this to emerge.
Issues pertinent to ageing are tackled here. It is a tale of loss, grief, serious illness. Even the right to die on your own terms is tackled. But all is not doom and gloom. The value of friendship, particularly the friendship of women is paramount. I can certainly relate to that. I would be lost without my friends.
There is sex (yes, shock, it is not only the young who enjoy and need it) and hope. The author shows us that we just have to reach out and take chances, not to be afraid.
Christine Webber drew on her own experiences: her work as a sex therapist, the death of her husband and the subsequent efforts to come to terms with such a devastating loss.
It is a gentle, thoughtful book. The characters are likeable (mostly). There is much to enjoy and I suppose a lesson of sorts. Grab happiness where and when you can. Life goes on.
Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession
Leonard and Paul are friends; single men in their thirties. They see the world differently from the rest of us. And they can teach us a lot about life and about how to treat other people. Very little happens in the book, but that is its joy. It is about the mundane everyday; it is about life’s simple pleasures. You will probably find yourself laughing out loud like I did, as I walked along the coast.
My last review can be read HERE.
I was delighted to be included in an article about Over-50 ‘Influencers’ in an article in The Irish Independent Weekend Magazine two weeks ago. I hardly consider myself an influencer. I am more of an over-sharer, documenting my journey and having fun while doing it.
THANK YOU FOR READING.
Stay well wherever you are.