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Monday, January 26, 2015

recent reads

I've still been reading a lot, although not so much overnight anymore (thank goodness), mostly just during the many, many hours I still spend feeding Oliver. I have yet to open a real book since Oliver was born (aside from the books I've read to him, of course) so I am so glad I can read e-books on my phone. I've read a lot of YA fiction lately, but I've also read a few different things, so those are the books I'm talking about here.

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer- I enjoyed this, although it is a bit heavy and potentially depressing. It's a book about mental illness and storytelling and families. The main character and narrator is likeable and felt real. It reminded me a lot of people Sam worked with back in the UK on various job placements (both other health care professionals and the 'service users') and I'd definitely recommend it.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber - I've read things by him before, so I shouldn't have been surprised by the twist (which I won't mention, because it is a little spoiler-y). About a missionary who leaves his wife behind as he goes on a long mission. Sort of interesting look at God and faith and love and empathy, but I found the main character kind of unrealistic, and was distracted by the many impracticalities of the set-up. I felt like it could have gone deeper and spent fewer pages on landscape description, but I would still probably recommend it.

The Queen of Subtleties by Suzannah Dunn - included because it is the book I read most recently, but I really didn't like it. I love historical fiction and the Tudors, but this book was a mess. It uses loads of modern slang, which I found really distracting and jarring, not to mention anachronistic. It included a second narrator, who was basically pointless, because she added nothing to the story, except lots of talk about sugar (think of Elizabeth I and rotten teeth, I guess) and crushing on Mark Smeaton. Dunn does give a somewhat interesting take on Anne Boleyn and her relationship with Henry VIII, but the modern phrases and Lucy's narration kept getting in the way of enjoying that. Dunn also had lots of nicknames for people - so Thomas Cromwell became Tom, and Henry's illegitimate son, Henry FitzRoy, became Fitz, with no explanation. It was confusing and unnecessary. And as others have said, I sort of doubt that Anne Boleyn swore at Henry so much. Or ever.

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty - her books are so easy to read, even if they're all pretty long, and I've enjoyed most of them. This one keeps you waiting for something big to happen, and I basically read it in a day. I like the Australian setting and the way she always gives multiple points of view. It's not my favorite of her books, but it was good escapism reading.

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