Book review: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sunday, May 24, 2020 Permalink

I don’t read non-fiction. On the whole I dislike memoirs intensely. I hear great things about some, such as Michelle Obama’s Becoming or Reckoning by Magda Szubanski. And yet… I avoid them like the plague. I’ve made some recent attempts (Bri Lee’s Beauty and Clare Bowditch’s Your Own Kind of Girl) but they either feel like a university case study or I struggle with their logic and structure. Although, perhaps I’m just too self-absorbed to be that interested in someone else’s life. Who knows?

I would normally have eschewed Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, assuming it to be yet another memoir. But thankfully a book-blogging friend Simon (Written by Sime) had mentioned this book and his love for it a while ago. So I knew it was fiction. About the road not taken. A reimagining if you like.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Monday, April 20, 2020 Permalink

Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare was one of my THREE favourite books of 2019. Unfortunately – and unfairly for her – it meant she had a lot to live up to with the release of her second book.

Fortunately for her (and thankfully for me), O’Leary certainly didn’t fall into the dreaded second-book trap (ie. in which it’s a disappointment: either an ‘actual’ disappointment, or just in comparison to the debut) as I was absolutely smitten with her new novel, The Switch.

I read it over two nights – which is unusual for me as I’m normally all about instant gratification. However, I had to put it aside on the first night and returned to it the next and….  those who know me would have seen my tweet (below)… I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The River Home by Hannah Richell

Friday, February 28, 2020 Permalink

A local friend was raving about Hannah Richell’s writing (and books) and I had to admit I hadn’t read any.

Thankfully I’d requested her latest and I can see why my fellow-avid-reader loves her work. Her writing is stunning. I’m not a very visual person so some of her incredibly descriptive prose is probably wasted on me, but she strings words and phrasing together in an almost lyrical fashion. As if it comes easily.

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four-stars

Book review: The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

Friday, December 27, 2019 Permalink

I really enjoyed Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things, released in 2015. At the time I suspected the book – which I took fairly literally – was some great metaphor I just didn’t quite understand and it wasn’t until later I noticed others’ reviews labelling it dystopian fiction and I realised I’d been right.

I loved Wood’s writing, which I thought exquisite. I missed her latest release, The Weekend, when it came out but thankfully won a copy recently and probably (now) need to add it (belatedly) to my ‘favourite books for the second half of 2019’ post.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Girl Who Reads on the Metro by Christine Feret-Fleury

Monday, November 11, 2019 Permalink

This quaint-looking small hardcover book isn’t the sort of book that would normally appeal. But it came as a surprise. Quite a delightful one in fact.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – after all, it’s a translation…. and they don’t always go well. You’re so dependent on an intermediary to offer up quality prose – but this translator (Ros Schwartz) did a great job. I’m almost intrigued if it was as eloquent in its original language.

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three-half-stars

Book review: The Confession by Jessie Burton

Wednesday, September 18, 2019 Permalink

I’ve not read any of Jessie Burton’s books before, but the fact her second novel was called, The Muse, doesn’t surprise me as her latest, The Confession is very much centred around creativity, control and passion.

One of the main characters in the book, although not one of our narrators, is an author, known for her beautiful poetic and poignant prose… laden with depth and meaning, and Burton effortlessly manages to reflect this.

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four-half-stars

Book review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson

Thursday, August 29, 2019 Permalink

I was on a bit of a reading hiatus when Snake Island by Ben Hobson was published. I wasn’t exactly sure it was the sort of book I’d enjoy… not specifically being crime fiction or a psychological thriller. However, upon reading, it reminded me a bit of Trent Dalton’s excellent Boy Swallows Universe, though traverses less time and the events probably more tragic and futile.

I’ve read a lot of books set in small Australian towns and am very much looking forward to a session I’m attending at BAD Crime Writer’s Festival in Sydney called Country Noir because there’s something about stories set in rural and regional Australia that effortlessly reflect darkness or foreboding (am thinking of Emily O’Grady, Sofie Laguna and Jane Harper, for example). Generally there’s also a sense of community though here readers are left with a sense of some of the characters living in isolation and despair.

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four-stars

Book review: The Nancys by RWR McDonald

Monday, June 3, 2019 Permalink

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I adore books written from the point of view of a child narrator. I mean, it doesn’t always work… the author has to nail their all-knowing childish innocence and their voice has to be authentic, but when that happens; it can be amazing.

Which is the case with this new release, The Nancys by RWR McDonald, set on New Zealand’s south island.

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four-stars