October 11, 2012 26 Comments
More new books! When it gets to the end of the year, and many reading challenges are coming to an end, my hearts sinks. More so than ever it’s true: so many books, so little time. I haven’t been very good with my challenges and maybe next year I won’t participate in any. Do you think I’ll be able to resist?
This time I got books from Netgalley (a source of great books – I’m being very careful now not to accept everything there, it’s so tempting) and at a book swap.
For review via Netgalley (ebooks)
The Heart Broke in by James Meek
For review from Farrar, Straus and Giroux via Netgalley. I was attracted by the cover and the story sounded interesting. What more do you need?
From the publishers: “From James Meek, the award-winning author of the international bestseller The People’s Act of Love, comes a rich and intricate novel about everything that matters to us now: children, celebrity, secrets and shame, the quest for youth, loyalty and betrayal, falls from grace, acts of terror, and the wonderful, terrible inescapability of family.”
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
For review from Simon & Schuster via Netgalley. I’ve read The Forgotten Garden as well as The House at Riverton and enjoyed these a lot. So, I’ll accept any opportunity to read another book by Kate Morton!
From the publishers: “During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.”
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
For review from Bloomsbury via Netgalley. I recognised this book as a Booker shortlister, and wondered what it would be like. As it’s just a short novel, I decided I could fit it in my schedule and try it.
From Netgalley: “As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe’s enigmatic wife allow her to remain?
A subversively brilliant study of love, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.”
From a book swap
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Last month I went to a book swap near where I live (see my Dutch blog for some pictures). I arrived with a lot of books and went home with only a few new books and this was one of them. It had been on my wishlist for a long time, so I was really pleased to finally “score” it.
From the publishers: “It is June 1950 and a sleepy English village is about to be awakened by the discovery of a dead body in Colonel de Luce’s cucumber patch. The police are baffled, and when a dead snipe is deposited on the Colonel’s doorstep with a rare stamp impaled on its beak, they are baffled even more. Only the Colonel’s daughter, the precocious Flavia -when she’s not plotting elaborate revenges against her nasty older sisters in her basement chemical laboratory, that is – has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim’s identity, and a conspiracy that reached back into the de Luce family’s murky past.”
A Memory of War by Frederick Busch
This book was also at the book swap and it looked at me from out of a box full of hardbacks. This is also a hardback and looked completely new. I fell in love with the physical aspects of the book, although looking just at its cover here on the screen, I agree it looks a bit dull. I was reassured that this was a fantastic book by several of the people present.
From the publishers: “Psychologist Alexander Lescziak savors a life of quiet sophistication on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, turning a blind eye to the past of his Polish émigré parents. Then a new patient declares that he is the doctor’s half-brother, the product of a union between Lescziak’s Jewish mother and a German prisoner of war. The confrontation jolts Lescziak out of his complacency: suddenly, his failing marriage, his wife’s infatuation with his best friend, and the disappearance of his young lover and suicidal patient, Nella, close in on him. Lescziak escapes into the recesses of his imagination, where his mother’s affair with the German prisoner comes to life in precise, gorgeous detail. The novel unfolds into a romance set in England’s Lake District in wartime, as Busch shows how our past presses on the present.”
The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy
Another book from the book swap. The Dutch translation of this book was one that I could have got for review but I had no time at all to fit it in. So I was pleased to see a copy of the book at the book swap. Now I can read it in my own time.
From the publishers: “Jonathan and Theo’s childhood is one in which money is abundant but nurture is scarce. With a father who died when they were very young and a mother who starts drinking at lunchtime, the brother and sister are largely left to roam around their sprawling estate in rural Wales, looking after only themselves and each other. Until, that is, their grandmother Eve returns to the family home. Eve is a figure who is as enchanting as she is forbidding, and she takes the children under her wing, answering their questions about their family history that have always been ignored. Yet as they grow older, they discover that much of what they’ve been told is a fiction, and that something very sinister lies in their past.”
From a friend
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
This is the book we’re reading for my real-life book group tomorrow. A friend loaned it to me. I read this already and it was a good read.
From the publishers: “Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live. [...]“
Which of these books have you read?
Is there one that peaked your interest?