Monday 16 October 2023

Some books that I've enjoyed recently

Lately I've been a bit stuck with my reading. I'm currently working through Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson which although interesting has become a bit of a slog. So I've been mixing it up a bit with a few 'chick lit' freebies from Amazon, which are fun to read but not very satisfying and rarely make it into my 5* category on Goodreads!

But there have been a few books which I've really enjoyed lately, and so I thought I'd share them in case you are looking for any reading inspiration.

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The Cazalet Chronicles is a series of five books (The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change). It's a long and detailed family saga which chronicles not just the large Cazalet family but also their household staff and friends, taking place from just after the Great War until the 1950s. I borrowed the first book from a friend and then had a bit of a break before I was able to borrow the remaining four books from my Aunt. They are big books and there are a lot of characters to keep track of (there are handy family trees and character notes at the beginning of each volume which I often had to refer back to). The books are beautifully written, going into great detail about the everyday happenings of daily life. Sometimes it seems mundane, and sometimes the characters are going through huge life changing events. I just wanted to keep on reading! I'm definitely going to look out for my own copies of these books because I can see myself returning to them in the future, they are great comfort reading when you want to become absorbed in a story without having to concentrate too much. 

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

This is one of those books which I've always meant to read, and so when it appeared in the Amazon Prime library I downloaded it straight away. It looks as though the film was recently re-released, and so the book is currently popular again as it has found a new audience via TikTok. I really enjoyed the book, I'm always drawn to books with an unreliable narrator (like most books by Kazua Ishiguro who is one of my favourites) which reveal the story through glimpses and leave the reader to put the full story together in the best way that they can. It's a sad and sometimes disturbing book, and I can see why people can still relate to it today.

My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki

I discovered Ruth Ozeki by chance last Christmas when I had a Waterstones voucher to spend, and I'm so glad that I did. I loved both The Book of Form and Emptiness and A Tale for the Time Being and so I added this one to my collection from a recent Wob order. It follows Jane, a documentary maker who finds herself producing a television series aimed at Japanese housewives, aimed at encouraging them to cook and eat more meat from American suppliers. There is also a parallel story of a young woman in Japan who is trying to please her husband, who is involved in the programme, by preparing the recipes for him. But as Jane works on the programme she discovers more and more disturbing information about the meat industry and realises that she can't continue to promote it to Japan. It's made clear that the book is a work of fiction, but there are definitely some real life issues to highlight about the meat industry both in America and around the world, and it made me glad that I'm now vegetarian!

Person turning the page of a book
Photo credit Prasanna Kumar via Unsplash

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