This blog has become very bookish lately. Not that that’s a bad thing.
Last week, three novels and a book by Caitlin Moran, who never disappoints.
Catch Me When I Fall by Nicci French
I like Nicci French as a fallback option for a solid crime novel. You always know roughly what you’re getting: well-written, an interesting story, characters that have been well put together. Catch Me When I Fall was no exception.
The book follows the story of Holly Krauss, a successful businesswoman who is losing her grip on reality. As she spirals further into despair and paranoia, people are less and less likely to listen to what she has to say – but does her paranoia have a rational base?
I particularly enjoyed this paragraph, which summed up a thought I’ve had regularly:
“Now it was ten past four in the afternoon. When I was nine years old my school used to finish at quarter past four so by this time I would have sung a couple of hymns, had two playtimes, learned maths, written a story, drunk a carton of milk, eaten lunch, made a clay model. What did I, aged twenty-seven, have to show for the day? Not very much.”
If you’re looking for a solidly creepy psychological thriller, Catch Me When I Fall is a good choice.
The Potter’s House by Rosie Thomas
One of those books that sometimes pop out of a charity shop’s bookshelf, land in my hand despite not looking like something I’d enjoy, and then end up surprising me, The Potter’s House is a compelling and intriguing look at what might have been.
Kitty has a bad relationship with her parents, following the tragic death of her brother when they were children. When one day she ends up in an earthquake while abroad, she realises she has the opportunity to start anew, with everyone back home assuming she’s dead.
She moves in with Olivia, an English woman who relocated to Cyprus and now lives in a coastal village, embedded in the community. At first their relationship is easy and enjoyable, but gradually Kitty seems to be taking over Olivia’s life, and things become much more fractured.
“I’ll start living, instead of hiding. You know, something happened to me a long time ago – no, not happened. I did something and it changed everything that came afterwards, for me and everyone around me. I’d like to be the person I might have been, if… if that thing had never happened.”
The Potter’s House is the perfect summer read. Take it to the beach, lie there for a while baking in the sun, and lose yourself in the intertwining lives of two women.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If you’re looking for a short, gripping read that might make you cry, this is the book for you. If I describe it properly it’ll ruin the storyline, so here’s the blurb:
Life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning…
A snowy road…
And suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone.
As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
I read this over lunch, sitting at the little table in my kitchen, and when I put it down I thought “That’s one of those books I’m going to send away with someone else at some point.” My books go through life cycles, especially my fiction collection. There are times when you need a slightly haunting, definitely gripping story that you can get through quickly but with stays with you for a while. If I Stay is that book.
Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran
I feel like I don’t even need to review this, because obviously it was excellent. Full of pithy observations, deep analyses of the nature of people, thoughts on childhood and adulthood and growing and living and being and… I sound like Joey.
It really was about having and giving and sharing and receiving though. And being.
How to be in the world is a surprisingly difficult question: one that’s founded religions, started wars, prompted holy books to be written and interpreted. Made people friends and enemies, driven wedges between people whose views on the seemingly simple question of how to exist have begun to diverge.
Moranifesto deals with some of the biggest questions in life, in a way that feels like one human talking to another. Moran is, in my view, a great social philosopher of our time: someone who can access and interpret the thoughts of the populace and reflect them back to us while also providing a level of observation that’s rarely found in this age of instant updates and life lived at full speed.
The links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you buy the books after clicking on them, I will receive a percentage of the sale price. The books will be the same price whether you buy them through my link or by searching on Amazon. I did not receive review copies of these books. All opinions are my own.