Tuesday 28 February 2012

February Reads

Another month, and I have managed to work my way through four books, three of which I really enjoyed.

Londoners - Craig Taylor

I picked this book up following a recommendation from the lovely Sandra (Beauty Balm) as  she said she couldn’t put it down!  Not being a Londoner myself, I wouldn’t have usually picked up this book but I can assure you it is not just for those living in or near the Capital.

The book is a series of viewpoints and true stories from people of all walks of life who have connections to London, and some of them make for fascinating reading.  From the story of one man who moved to London hoping for a better life, and instead ending up living on the streets, to an interview with the Voice of the Underground, many of these stories have stayed with me long after reading.  I also found that despite not living in London and being only an occasional visitor, this book doesn’t just apply to London – it can apply to any big city and the feelings and emotions that you experience whilst living and working there.  The stories are all fairly short, often only a few pages so it is an easy, quick read, and if one story doesn’t interest you, you can be sure there will be another on the next page which will suck you in.  Highly recommended!

The Child Who – Simon Lelic
More of a ‘whydonnnit’ than a ‘whodonnit’, this is the story of a twelve year old boy who commits a terrible crime when he murders a young girl.  The unusual aspect of this novel is that it focuses on the lawyer’s point of view of the case and his client, and how this affects both him and his family in the torrent of backlash from the public. 

This is the third of Simon Lelic’s books that I have read and I couldn’t put it down, devouring it in 2 days!  His books always seem to make you think about moral viewpoints and social standpoints, turning your initial thoughts upside down and seeing things from another side.  I would certainly recommend this, although I think his debut novel, Rupture, is probably my favourite out of the three he has written to date. 

This Beautiful Life -Helen Schulman
I downloaded this book after reading about it in Grazia and thinking it sounded intriguing.  The story is of New York family who suddenly find their life in turmoil after their 15 year old son is caught in the middle of a media and public outcry after he forwards an email containing a pornographic video of an underage classmate that was intended for his eyes only.

The novel focuses on how something which was done without much thought and intention can snowball and quickly become out of control, affecting all members of a family.  From an interesting premise, I was rather disappointed with this book as I felt no empathy with any of the characters, finding them shallow and self-absorbed.  I won’t be rushing to read another of Schulman's books. 

Purge – Sofi Oksanen
It is difficult to know where to begin when reviewing this book as it is such a multi-layered, multi-faceted story interwoven over fifty years that to attempt to describe it in a short paragraph would be difficult. 

The novel, is by a Finnish writer, and focuses on the lives of two women in Estonia from 1940s-1990s and how their lives are interlinked. Aliide is an old woman, living alone in a remote village when one day, a young woman, Zara, turns up on her doorstep, battered and bruised. What follows is a story which takes us through the gauntlet of emotions and is at times not an easy read, encompassing human trafficking, the impact of Communism and a classic love triangle.

I found this book engrossing, however it was at times quite distressing but very thought-provoking. I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it twists and turns, leading you down one path and then another, turning your previous perceptions of characters upside down, but I would recommend it if you want an interesting read. It has won many awards throughout Europe and after reading the novel, I can understand why.

Have you read any good books this month?


  1. The Purge sounds a really interesting read, I love books that aren't typically straight forward.

    1. It was different from anything else I have read recently, would recommend it for a thought-provoking read.

  2. The cover of the Londoners is amazing!

  3. These look like lovely books, especially the first one! Going to try that one :)


    1. I've recommended it to a couple of people who have enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy it! X

  4. Glad you liked Londoners! My mum has just finished it and she loved it. Adding the child who to my wishlist x

    1. Really enjoyed it and don't think I would have heard of it if it wasn't for your recommendation! Have recommended it to 2 friends too! X

  5. Those books sound great :) Xx