So other than being really shite at keeping up with blogging in general, I have been really rubbish at my “what I have read” monthly, so to make it less obvious at how rubbish I can be it is now a nice vague “recent reads”.


Still Alice – Lisa Genova


Alice Howland is proud of the life she has worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguisitics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disorientated and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life – and herrelationship with her family and the world – forever.

What I liked about it…

This was a sad and scary book to read, and it could only have a depressing ending and I normally try to avoid books with too much of a morbid theme, but it was very well written; you could really see things from Alice’s terrifying and daunting side of the story and it really made me think about a subject I would normally avoid. Honestly, I am now more scared than ever of alzheimers and any other form of dementia, but it did make you look at how it must be for the sufferers and how they are treated.

What I didn’t like about it…

One bad thing; the husband bloody annoyed me, I know he was devastated to watch the woman he loved change so dramatically but he still couldn’t put her first. And although there is a movie of this film I won’t be watching it as I am sure I would just sob throughout.

A good but sad book.

Brother of the More Famous Jack – Barbara Trapido


Suburban, stylish Katherine is eighteen when she is propelled into the centre of Professor Jacob Goldman’s rambling home and large eccentric family. As his enchanting, yet sharp-tongued wife, Jane, gives birth to her sixth child, Katherine meets the volatile, stroppy Jonathan and his older, more beautiful brother Roger, who wins her heart. First love quickly leads to heartbreak and sends her fleeing to Rome but, ten years on, she returns to find the Goldmans again. A little wiser and alot more grown up, Katherine faces her future.

What I liked about it…

I quite enjoyed this little book; the characters were fun and interesting, the writing of the story made it flow lovely, it made me smile and cry, it was a bit dated but I think that added to the quirky eccentric people within it.

What I didn’t like about it…

Hmmm what negative thoughts do I have about this book, nothing really, wasn’t one you couldn’t put down, just something to entertain yourself with for 10mins here and there.

A nice little book, not a keeper but I am glad I read it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein


Enzo knows he is different from other dogs; a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

What I liked about it…

Well, not much really, kind of an interesting idea but not good enough for me I am afraid.

What I didn’t like about it..

I was intrigued by this book purely because it was written by a dog, a bit different huh, the story was quite serious and sad, and you really felt for Enzo’s ‘master’ throughout as he was a good bloke that had some very bad luck, and what his in-laws put him through is awful. But I really struggled with reading it; the dog references were a bit educational, and the continuous racing driving references, if you aren’t interested, which I am not, were quite tedious.

So not a fan of this one.

The Portable Veblen – Elizabeth McKenzie


Meet Veblen. She’s an experienced cheerer-upper (mainly of her narcissistic, hypochondriac, controlling mother), an amateur translator of Norwegian, and a passionate defender of the anti-consumerist views of her namesake, the economist Thorstein Veblen. She’s also a firm believer in the distinct possibility that the plucky grey squirrel following her around can understand everything she says…

Now meet her fiance, Paul: the son of good hippies who were bad parents, a no-nonsense, high-flying neuroscientist with no time for squirrels. His recent work on a device to minimize battlefield brain trauma has led him dangerously close to the seductive Cloris Hutmacher, heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, who is promising him fame and fortune though a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defense.

What could possible go wrong?

What I liked about it…

This was a really odd book; very nicely written but the actual story was a little bit bonkers, just like the characters. But it did keep me interested. My fave character was Veblen’s mother, a very intelligent, manipulating hypochondriac, yet very insightful and kind in her own ways but between her and her quite mad ex-husband they have raised a very confused daughter, who befriends squirrels.

What I didn’t like about it…

The point of the book, I think, was whether or not Veblen and Paul should be together, and I didn’t really find myself rooting for them, although Paul’s story was actually more interesting than Veblens’ I wouldn’t say he was that likeable although he does have his moments.

Yeah quite glad I read this funny, not so little book.

Fractured – Dani Atkins


The night of the accident changed everything…    Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is crumbling. She lives alone in a tiny flat, working in a dead-end job, desperate with guilt over her best friends death.    She would give anything to turn back the clock. But life doesn’t work like that… Does it?

The night of the accident was a lucky escape…   Now, five years on, Rachel’s life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiance, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted. But why can’t Rachel shake the memory of a very different life?

What I liked about it…

An original story with a little twist at the end that yes you saw coming but it didn’t matter, was still good, and sad. There were predictable, lovely characters and the ones, a little stereotyped, you were supposed to, not hate, but dislike, I read it in a couple of days and it was good.

What I didn’t like about it…

By the end I was getting a bit bored, I was ready for it to finish and tell me what was really going on – had I got it right? Did I want to be right? But when I had finished it, it did leave me thinking for a while – something to keep me awake… and I am not sure if I liked the ending, I certainly wasn’t left with a warm-fuzzy feeling but it did make sense.

Good book, I think I will try some more by Dani Atkins.