As promised…here’s what I read in January!
Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss. I was really excited to read this book having seen it raved about by Lauren from Lauren and the Books and having heard it compared to The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell, however this one just wasn’t for me. This book follows Moss and her family while they move to Iceland during the recession. I did think it was beautifully written, however I think it lacked some of the more personal elements at times and read as more of a commentary on Iceland, which just wasn’t to my personal taste.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. Ah this is a tricky one. I think I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads, but in all honesty it was probably more like a 3.75 if that exists! I read this on the plane back from NZ (it’s a looooong journey!) and I was definitely engrossed in it. I thought the story was incredibly clever, and for the most part I enjoyed the twists and turns. I think where this fell down for me was the ending – the story was really slow burning with a lot of set up, and the end just felt a bit rushed to me. I also couldn’t help but compare it to The Night Watch also by Sarah Waters which I read last year and had much more impact on me. I guess I felt a little underwhelmed by Fingersmith as it was a lot more hyped up (for me at least) than The Night Watch. That being said, I did enjoy the story and flew through it which is always good! Fingersmith is historical fiction set in the 1800s, and follows two young girls from different backgrounds whose lives become intertwined.
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon. I am a bit loathe to write this review because I loved The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon and also follow her on twitter and think she’s such an inspiring boss as woman, however I just didn’t like Three Things. I actually ordered this the day it was released for same day delivery, and really thought I was gonna love it! Three Things follows Florence, an elderly lady who is lying on her kitchen floor after a fall and thinking about her life. The story flashes back to when a new resident joined her nursing home, who Florence has strong suspicions about, but no one believes her except her friend Elsie. The problem I had with this book is I felt it was just too slow for me. While Goats and Sheep was slow, with little nuggets being released along the way, there was enough to keep me interested in the story, which there just wasn’t here. That being said, I did love the character of Florence and her friendship with Elsie.
Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. I listened to this on audiobook and would absolutely recommend downloading this if you’re into audiobooks! Six Stories is a book written as a podcast, following the success of Serial. It’s a true crime podcast, which looks at unsolved cases from the past, and the host Scott King interviews six people who were involved at the time (hence six stories). In Six Stories, King looks at disappearance of teenager Tom Jefferies, who disappeared one night while on a camping weekend and his body was subsequently found a year later. He interviews each of the people who were there that weekend, and tries to paint a picture of what really happened. I thought this book worked really well in audio (though I’ve heard great reviews of the written version as well!) as it was told by a full cast, and really felt like you were listening to a podcast. I ended up only giving this four stars because I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but on the whole really enjoyed this!
Lullaby by Leila Slimani. This book has been doing the rounds on the internet and there’s been a lot of hype about it. It follows the story of a family who hire a nanny, who ends up killing the children she’s hired to care for. It’s a look at how society views women and their role in childcare and child rearing. Personally, I didn’t love this. I didn’t hate it either, it was just a bit meh for me.
Winter by Ali Smith. I have seen a lot of people absolutely love this book, but I just don’t think Ali Smith is for me. I did like some of the themes and topics discussed, but the writing was just too styled for me and I really struggled with this.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. This is another audiobook I listened to, and for a crime thriller I thought this was pretty good! I read a lot of this genre, so am a harsh critic, but I did enjoy this one. Then She Was Gone is centred around Laurel, whose daughter Ellie disappeared when she was fifteen. It flits back and forth between past and present day, as we start to piece together what happened to Ellie, and as Laurel begins to finally move on with her life. If you’re into easy crime thrillers this one is definitely worth checking out!
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This book was absolutely magical. I loved this so so much and think it will be hard to beat for best book of 2018 (and yes I know that’s a big call given how early in the year it is!). I’m going to do an in depth review of this book, but I’d highly encourage anyone and everyone to read it!