I really thought that this month was going to be a bit slow in terms of reading but alas, here I am with six books to talk about! In other news, I’ve got a new job in a bookshop so this is only going to get worse… or better, let’s be positive! Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you think in the comments!
- The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan*
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami
- The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn*
- He Is Mine and I Have No Other by Rebecca O’Connor*
“However hard we try to make a deal with the world, the world hasn’t agreed. Nature can’t love us back.”
Kirsty Logan’s first novel The Gracekeepers is one of my favourite novels, so when I got the chance to read this new book I was very excited and thankfully, it didn’t disappoint! It obviously wasn’t quite as good as The Gracekeepers in my opinion but that would have been very difficult. I love the way that Logan weaves in fantasy and magic with real characters and storytelling.
I always laugh when I describe Logan’s novels because on the face of it, they sound quite strange. But actually they’re exactly the kind of novel where it seems completely normal to you that when people die on this particular Scottish island they slowly turn to stone and then pose at the top of a hill in their final moments. A writer who does this, is very talented indeed.
I’m looking forward to reading more of Logan’s novels in the future, she’s shaping up to be my favourite contemporary author!
“It’s true, though: time moves in its own special way in the middle of the night”
My first ever Murakami! I read this for my MA course and ordinarily, I wouldn’t have picked it up, but I’m so glad I did. I struggle with novels based in another country which I’ve never been to or know much about, especially non-western and with Murakami’s all based in Japan it never really appealed to me. To be honest, I’m kind of ashamed of this! But Murakami’s After Dark has proved me exactly wrong, which is fantastic.
At the end of the day, people are people and no matter where they live you can always find something familiar in characters. I loved the fact that this book is meant to be in real time, which makes it very unique. And similarly to The Gloaming, he manages to add something magical or unexplained into reality without you ever thinking to question it.
I will definitely be reading more Murakami in the future.
“by the time we were finished we were comprehensively covered in dirt and cat hair – a facet of the genteel art of bookselling“
I knew that I’d enjoy this, and it’s quite the coincidence that I read it in the same month that I’ve been offered a new job in a bookshop! It’s an easy read and it even made me laugh out loud which is pretty hard to do with books. Some of Shaun’s anecdotes you couldn’t make up even if you tried.
It’s not a super quick read. I found myself just dipping in and out but I don’t tend to read more than one book at once (with the exception of audiobooks!) If you don’t mind reading more than one book at once then I imagine it’ll be lovely to have as an ongoing side read.
“Every voice raised against racism chips away at its power. We can’t afford to stay silent.”
Everyone should read this book. It really opened my mind to not only the struggles that people of colour face on a daily basis, but also the privileges that I enjoy being white. I particularly appreciated the way she discussed race and feminism and race and class.
To be honest, this book taught me a lot. I try my hardest to be as equal as I can in my thoughts and actions, but I will never be able to rid myself completely of unconscious bias so I just have to continue to check my thoughts, stereotypes, and privilege. This book has helped me to do this my making me more aware and understanding.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy to hear, some of it definitely isn’t, but that’s exactly why I and other white people need to hear it.
“In the end, looking closely, without judgment or expectation, is one of the few things we can control, and it is the one act that reveals the heart of the world”
I’m still not 100% sure on how to feel about this book. Dystopian is my favourite style of fiction, so when I read the blurb I knew it was something I fancied. But this one is based about 2-5 years since the period of time where everything changed and never explained what happened. This didn’t necessarily bother me, but there was a lot of other aspects to the story which also weren’t explained, leaving me a little stumped.
I also felt like the ending was a bit of an anti-climax. There were definitely moments of brilliance, especially with the actual writing itself. She was a skilled writer, but the storytelling for me, was a little off.
I think I would be inclined to read her future work though because the bones of her writing are excellent and I do see a future to it.
“I tried to write to him, but I just ended up writing his name over and over again until the paper was scratched through.”
Once I read the blurb of this one, I knew I’d have to read it because there were a lot of similar themes to a novel that I’m planning myself. I got straight into it and stormed through it in only a couple of days. I did enjoy it, but my main criticism of this book is that I didn’t feel like the characters were properly developed. I never felt like I truly understood them, and perhaps that is partly down to the brevity of the novel.
I’m glad I read it because of my own novel, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It kind of felt like I’d watched a couple of episodes of a TV show but never enough to feel like I knew enough about what was going on or what the characters were like.
That said, it did express some truth about teenage love and culture in Ireland, I just wish it had reached a little deeper.
What do you think? Agree or disagree with my comments? Honestly, I’m still a little unsure about my ratings for the last two but there you have it. Next month I’m going on holiday so they’ll surely be lots of reading on the beach to be had! In the meantime keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on Goodreads and Instagram.
Happy reading. 💕📚
*Please note that this was a review copy given to me free-of-charge by the publisher.