In between the children, cleaning and staring dazedly into space there has been some reading:

Misery – Stephen King

Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on with some real writing. That’s when the car accident happened, and he woke up in pain in a strange bed. But it wasn’t the hospital. Annie Wilkes had pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs. The good new was that Annie was a nurse and had pain-killing drugs. The bad news was she was Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she found out what Paul had done to Misery, she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it at all. And now he had to bring Misery back to life. Or else…

What I liked about it...

A Stephen King classic! I am sure I have seen the film of the book, but all I remember is Kathy Bates doing something awful to a poor guys foot. Anyways I really quite enjoyed this, It took me less than a week of reading in bed; the story was gripping enough to want to know how it was going to end, and uncomfortable enough to squirm at the situation and kinda want to put it down.

What I didn’t like about it…

Not much really, I found the exerts quoted from the Misery book that Paul was being made to write a bit boring, and kind of skipped some of those, but other than that a good quick thriller.

NW – Zadie Smith

This novel follows four Londoners – Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. In private houses and public parks, at work and at play, these Londoners inhabit a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end. 

What I liked about it…

If you want to read a book with some cultural diversity, poverty, addiction, (and who wouldn’t want those joyful topics…) then this is the one. Zadie Smith is known for writing really believable and well-described stories around northwest London and in this book she takes you right there, and it is an intriguing story but possibly a little too bleak and honest for me.

What I didn’t like about it…

It is interestingly written; at first I really enjoyed the odd, short, yet extremely descriptive sentences. It felt like my brain was being made to work, in a good way. But then my brain would get tired and I would have to put it down and try again later. When I eventually got to the end I felt pleased that I had, but fairly confused. And honestly quite tired.

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as a wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office – leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongues and forbidding Marin. 

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist – an elusive and an enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways.

Johannes gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand – and fear – the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation.. or the architect of their destruction.

What I liked about it…

After that description I thought is was going to be an interesting story, and it sounded very unique. And the writing is quite beautiful which made it easy to visualise the story.

What I didn’t like about it…

However, the story was quite dull, the main storyline of ‘who was the minatuarist?’ was actually in the end irrelavant and frustratingly pointless. I did not really feel for the characters, any of them, they are very inconsistent, with personalities changing from page to page and I didn’t find the main, Nella, believable, for the era she was too quickly confident and mature beyond her years. I did not get the relationship between Nella and Johannes, they went from strangers to strangly close with nothing in between. Just wasn’t my kind of book.

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not all what he had expected it to be. His wife has died. his bookstore is experiencing its worse sales in its history. And now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island – from Lambaise, the well-intentioned police officer who has always felt kindly to Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law – who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that give A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see his life anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales-rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those old books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming. 

What I like about it…

Everything. The story. The characters. The location – come on, what book fan doesn’t enjoy reading a story that revolves around a bookstore. It was happy, it was very sad, (but not a depressingly dark sad like so many stories I seem to have read recently). Some bits were obvious some not so. It only took me a few days to read it. I might even keep it. Thanks mum for the book (do I have to give it back!?)

What I didn’t like about it…

Hmmm; was a simple book so maybe could have been a bit more complex, you didn’t get to know the characters that well, but maybe that was part of its charm… And did the ending have to be that sad!?

What Will Survive – Mark Gartside

The one thing he never expected to come was a single dad. Graham Melton was a normal fifteen-year-old until he met Charlotte Marshall over a can of warm lager at his best-friend’s party in 1985. It was love at first sight, and teenage life was never going to be the same again.

Two decades later, Graham is a single father trying to protect his son from the rigours of the modern world. Everything has changed, and the innocence has long gone. 

What happened in the years inbetween? How did something so perfect go so tragically wrong?

What I liked about it…

I liked the different perspective of reading about a father and son relationship and that was well-told, and the awful teenage bullies were scarily real to life; how times have changed in the last 30 years.

What I didn’t like about it…

Found Graham a bit too weak. and the story was quite cheesy. I am afraid it was a book I didn’t really feel.

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy