September is a month that always for me marks the changing of the seasons, as we begin the drift from summer into Autumn and Winter. I like this time of year and the onset of the dark nights feels oddly comforting, as I cwtch up in bed with some glorious reads. As it is also the month of my birthday, I engage in lots of book buying. Well as every good bookworm understands, you can never own too many books!
So this month I am going to start with the books I read that have sat on my bookshelf patiently waiting to be read. My very own tottering pile of to be read books!
Dog Days – A Year With Olive and Mabel by Andrew Cotter.
If you look at this book and think it is just about the authors relationship with his dogs, you would be wrong. Indeed they feature very heavily, they were his sanity during the dark days of the Covid 19 lockdowns, as his videos were for me and many others. It is also a very deeply moving and often very funny reflection on how the lockdowns effected us all, mentally and physically. Oh how so many people many to find a way through the darkness, until the vaccines allowed us to slowly start to return to a sort of normal.
Meet Me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey
This was the choice of the book club I attend and I loved it. It deals with some complex issues, but still manages to entertain and tell a story that kept me turning the pages long into the night. It is about love, yet not a love story, it’s about friendship and the connection between those who come to mean so much to us. I loved the way the story weaved back and fore, through time and many dimensions and yet never lost sight of the most integral part of the story, the myriad ways the human heart and mind pull us is many different directions.
Stronger by Gareth Thomas
There is no doubting that Gareth Thomas is a complex personality, but what I loved about this book is how this comes across. He allows us under the surface of who he is, to the vulnerable and troubled man below the surface. What I adored is that he acknowledges his ghost writer and yet we can still hear his voice loud and strong.
Then there are the books I have read to review.
Black Hearts by Doug Johnson
The fourth book in the author’s Skelfs series of thrillers, it is a tense and emotional read, with strong female leads and humour that is dark and delicious. Three generations of women, whose lives revolve around death and who are so beautifully written that you can imagine walking into the story and their world. Without doubt, I would buy any book they feature in, just to be able to spend time with them.
The Bleeding by Johana Gustawsson
The story is superb, because there are women are at the center of it. They are the story, their personalities, their actions, the paths they are driven down, making it far more than your average historical thriller. You can never be ready for what you are faced with: the way the words form something we don’t always acknowledge, that women are complex beings, as capable of evil, of desperate actions the same as men. It blows the myth of women as only ever forgiving and nurturing out of the water and that reader is why The Bleeding is breathtaking!
Lessons by Ian McEwan
Many novels succeed because the story roars along at breakneck speed, Lessons does so, because it does exactly the opposite. Within the embrace of the story, we are able to luxuriate in the whole of Roland’s life. How rare is that in modern literature? By far, for me, being able to live through such events as the fall of the Berlin Wall with this man, experience how events in history shaped the course of his life, was this book’s greatest gift. It is ambitious indeed, but it works, because Ian McEwan doesn’t bog it down with needless waffle. Each world, each sentence is designed to bring Roland and his experiences to life in glorious panoramic detail and the result is magnificent.
Well, that was September 2022. Exactly an even split between reading my own books and those I accepted for review. I’m happy with that. Bring on October!