Books on offer on Amazon for Kindle September 2016.

 

I always like to keep an eye on the offers on Amazon; it allows me to buy additional books that month! Yet I don’t have any issue paying the full price for a paperback book!

But who doesn’t like a bargain?

A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale will definitely be up for a place in my top ten reads of 2016! If you’re interested and have a kindle, Amazon has it on offer at the moment for 99p.  It’s a fabulous read, so why not snatch it up while it is on offer?

Another book I have recently read, Shakespeare by Bill Bryson is reduced to £1.99 on kindle. It’s a wonderful and very accessible biography of the bard.

I’m a big fan of Tracey Chevalier and Falling Angels is on offer this month at £1.99. It is one of my favourites and explores of the role of women in society in the era of the suffragettes.

One of the few books to ever reduce me to tears is Marley and Me by John Grogan. Marley is John and Jenny’s beautiful but chaotic Labrador and it is also on offer at 99p.

There are plenty more books on offer, but these are a few I’ve read and really enjoyed!

 

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Olive Kitteridge – A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout.

Waterstone’s book of the month for August was the Pulitzer prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge –  A Novel in Stories by Elizabeth Strout.

I always feel a bit nervous of reading Pulitzer Prize winning novels, in case I don’t like them, because I feel, that if I was an ‘accomplished’ reader, should I not at least find them compelling and have some kind of emotional reaction to them? Does it make me an accomplished reader if I enjoy them or a stupid reader if I don’t? I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that its all personal taste and it doesn’t matter how many awards a book has won, its either going to appeal to you, or its simply going to pass you by!

 

Olive Kitteridge – A Novel in Stories was a charming and clever read, consisting of a series of short stories that come together to tell a whole story, of not just the lead character, but of the people in her community and how their lives all interact over a period of time. Olive herself is a beautifully constructed character, flawed in such a way that you find yourself becoming fond of her from the first chapter. Well I certainly did!  Charming, loveable, annoying and very unpredictable, she is surrounded by a supporting cast of characters who each have a bit of their stories told in individual chapters, with Olive flowing in and out of each of their stories and lives.  She’s the main character, if the collection of stories is said to have one, popping up at odd moments, bringing her grouchy yet compassionate nature into their lives in some way.

 

I admit I adored Olive, felt for her son and husband, she won’t be an easy character to love for many people and both of them have a troubled relationship with her. But like all classic characters her flaws are what draw you to her as a reader.  When I recently read A Man Called Ove, I fell in love with Ove, because beneath all that grumpiness, was a man who was socially awkward, but other characters, could like me, see past that, to a man who cared. You as a reader and they are characters in his story just had to work hard until he let you in, the reward being beyond expectations!

 

If this book had a flaw for me, is that I find short stories frustrating! I always want to know more about the characters and short stories don’t give me enough time to get to know them!

 

It’s a fantastic read, but one that I feel would benefit from a having each story, fleshed out into longer tales of those characters, because Strout’s writing makes them all as intriguing as Olive herself.

 

 

 

 

The Past by Tessa Hadley

 

 

Picked as Waterstone’s July book of the month, The Past by Tessa Hadley is a beautifully crafted tale based around what is possibly a families last holiday in their grandparent’s former home. Four Siblings Alice, Roland, Fran and Harriet, along with various family member’s, come together for what they think maybe the last holiday they spend together.  A decision has to be made, invest their funds in maintaining their one link to their childhood and a place they can come together, or sell and risk losing the fragile bond that keeps them together as a family.

 

But times change and each member of the group brings with them their own insecurities and complicated family lives. As a result they pull against each other rather than together. Each feels frustrated by their individual lives and at a loss to understand the troubled moods and emotions of their siblings. They come together over a long summer holiday and as secrets long buried rise to the surface, they threaten to shatter their desire, especially that of only brother Roland, to retain this fiction of a loving family.

Its’ told with a considered understanding of the underlying currents of love within the family, while acknowledging the tensions and destructive currents that can make these gatherings a minefield to navigate through. Hadley gives us a family, who effectively lead lives that drag them apart and ultimately could see their relationships change forever. Connections are always in a state of flux and the author brings this clearly into focus over a short period of time, highlighting the tender and fraught relationships that bind not only families but close friends.

 

This is a story based around the narrow and sometimes claustrophobic surroundings of a family home. It’s not a sweeping family drama, set across continents and ages of time and it’s from this intimacy, that the novel gains its ultimate strength and compelling narrative.  All families have hidden within the spider web of relationships secrets, that when they leak out have the potential to change relationships, whether for the better or potentially causing painful schisms, and this is what Hadley tenderly explores in The Past.  With incredible insight she threatens to explode the myth that family is everything, that we have some kind of unbreakable bond with those we are related to.  Can Roland, Alice, Fran and Harriet, overcome all that troubles them to remain a family, or will the end of this holiday drive a barrier between them, that can never be healed.

 

An absorbing tale, that left me feeling for each character and wanting the family to find peace and support from within. A worthy book of the month and a definite 5* read.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing

ISBN: 9780099597469

 

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

 

Publishers Synopsis
Guylain Vignolles lives on the edge of existence. Working at a book pulping factory in a job he hates, he has but one pleasure in life…sitting on the 6.27 train each day Guylain recites aloud from pages he has saved from the jaws of his monstrous pulping machine. But it is when he discovers the diary of a lonely young woman, Julie, a woman who feels as lost in the world as he does that his journey begins…The Reader on the 6.27 is a tale bursting with larger than life characters, each of whom touches Guylain’ s life for the better. For fans of Smells and Mr Penumbra’ s 24 Hour Bookstore, this captivating novel is a warm, funny fable about literatures power to inflict even the most downtrodden of lives.
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillen.

My challenge to read Waterstones recommended ‪#‎FictionBookOfTheMonth‬ continued with May’ s selection, the delightful and charming The Reader on the 6.27.

There is a quote on the book and Waterstones web site by Livres Hebdo that sums up the books charm.
“A beautiful testimony to the universality of the love of books.”

It was a labour of love to read this book. From the first page, Didierlaurent gives us in Guylain a character who has an almost symbiotic relationship with words and books, through which he develops relationships with those who love to hear him read. Reading truly is Guylain’s friend and companion, a powerful and emotional reflection of how reading can provide companionship and forge friendships. The supporting cast of characters, are drawn to him, because his reading brings light into an otherwise dull journey to work or because they are isolated as age afflicts them.

Reading is a positive and uniting influence in this wonderful, funny and heart warming book. It’s a little gem and deserves a large audience of readers. Short and sweet, it shows the reading community for the generous and caring group it is. Books are read in isolation, but readers are passionate and caring people who like to share the books they enjoy.