Monday 13 February 2023

Some books that I've enjoyed recently

I read a lot, and every now and then I like to share some of the brilliant books that I've enjoyed recently, just in case anyone is looking for some reading inspiration! I track all the books that I've read on my Goodreads account, and these are some of the recent books that I have awarded five stars.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I read this book a long time ago and so I knew that I would enjoy it, but I had forgotten most of the plot! It's a long read full of mysteries and twists and turns, with the story told as a series of accounts by different narrators. Despite its size it kept me wanting to read more and I was interested to see how the story would unfold. The book is also a really interesting look at women's rights not that long ago, being married off to whoever their male relatives chose and then expected to hand over their fortune to pay their new husband's debts.

The Sea by John Banville

I chose this book as one of my second hand Christmas book haul gifts as I'm always drawn to Booker prize winners, and this one lived up to expectations. It wasn't a long read but I wasn't sure about it at first. It was a little slow to get going until I got into the author's style. The full mystery isn't revealed until the very end, although there are clues throughout, and it certainly kept me guessing until the end.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Another short read from my second hand haul, this is a retelling of the of the Odyssey myth from the perspective of his wife Penelope. It also features a Greek chorus of her hanged maids who give their own opinion on events through songs, ballads and poems. It was an easy and enjoyable read even though I didn't know as much about the original myth as I probably should!

The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver

This story introduces Irina, a woman who is in a happy and safe long-term relationship but one night is tempted to kiss another man who represents a more exciting alternative. At this point the story splits and alternate chapters follow Irina's life after she has made each choice. I love the film Sliding Doors and this book is very similar, especially as you try to work out which is the better choice, as it's not always obvious.

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

I love Kazuo Ishiguro, and although his books cover a wide range of themes and geographical locations there's just something about his writing style that draws me in. This book is set in post World War II Japan, narrated by an aging painter who is reflecting on his career during the war as a political artist. Like in many of his books the protagonist is an unreliable narrator, and so you are never quite sure exactly what has happened. I found it very readable.

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