Summer books 2014

Books 2014.jpg

It’s been a while since I’ve done a book round up so thought I had better try to catch up with myself. As usual I’ve burnt through quite a few books in recent months and I’ve already passed on lots to friends so I don’t have a big pile beside my bed to remind me of what I’ve read. But, hey in no particular order these are some of the goodies that grabbed me (that I remember!).

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – It’s a great book. Yep, said it. I was totally and utterly engrossed in the story even though if you explain the summary to someone it doesn’t sound much. Tartt is a fantastic writer…her writing shone amongst the other books I’ve read. Beg, borrow, steal a copy to see what a truly genius writer can achieve. I wanted to sneak off early to bed to read this one, always the sign of a good book for me.
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – This was given to my husband as a birthday present, but I managed to nab it and read it on holiday. It’s very clever and well written…the story of Oscar a young Dominican book and game geek growing up in New Jersey. It’s charming and haunting at the same time. There were times I had to hold my breath as it was so gripping (particularly the parts set in the Dominican Republic…and the cane fields…if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean). I understand his previous book came with a Spanish glossary…I would have hated to ‘dumb’ this down with one as the use of Spanish (a lot) is pretty evident in its meaning, but a few explanations would have helped a better understanding of key moments.
  • Past Imperfect by Julian Fellows – I loved this book so much that I now need to track down ‘Snobs’ his previous book. Lord Fellows (he of Downton Abbey fame) knows his stuff about the classes, particularly the aristocracy. He captures a really interesting world and the challenges it faces in modern times. It was a clever story of a grown man dealing with how events and secrets in the past shaped the future for him and his friendship group.
  • Frog Music by Emma Donaghue. I was sent this book to review and I desperately wanted to love it as much as I loved her previous book ‘Room’ (which I seriously recommend…it’s a must read). It’s based on a true crime and she cleverly captures a hot, sticky, seedy San Francisco in 1876. As historical fiction goes, it’s spot on, but the main character didn’t work for me…none of the characters did alas. I did think about it a lot after I finished it, so there’s clearly something there, the sign of a good writer.
  • Girls like Us by Charlotte Ashby – I tracked this book down as I found out it was written by a fellow PR gal who used to work at one of my old London agencies (I didn’t know her). It made me absolutely chuckle…the weird world of PR and strange things we have to do for it (dressing up in ‘costumes’…yup…celebrating ‘national’ weeks…yup…looking after drunk journalists…yup). It rung so many bells and made me slightly nostalgic for my early PR London days (just slightly). It should be essential reading for every person wanting a job in consumer PR…a perfect fun beach read.
  • Read this if you want to take great photographs by Henry Carroll – does what it says on the tin sort of book. If you are looking to improve your photography, this is an easy to digest book with beautiful examples and clever, simple ideas.

I’m currently reading the rather brilliant ‘Her Fearful Symmetry‘ by Audrey Niffenegger (a grown up ghost story) and also ‘The Fault in our Stars‘ by John Green (currently gripping lots of younger readers I gather and being turned into a film). Happy reading!

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