Wednesday 15 May 2024

Some books that I've enjoyed recently

This post contains Amazon affiliate links

I always have a book on the go, and I'm pretty selective with what I read. I won't stick with a book that I'm not enjoying, although sometimes I'll skip through a mediocre book just to find out what happens!

Here are some books that I've enjoyed recently and that have earned a 5* rating on my Goodreads account.

The Island Home by Libby Page

This was borrowed from a friend, and it's a cosy story about a young women returning to the island where she grew up with her teenage daughter, having left suddenly and secretly at the age of 18. We learn about her childhood as she tries to reconnect with her brother and the islanders that remember her before she left. She makes a lovely group of diverse female friends and is generously welcomed into the community. Maybe the storyline is a little cheesy, but we all need a little escapism now and then!

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

This was one of my recent Wob purchases, chosen as I really enjoyed Hamnet. I wasn't disappointed - even though the story and characters are completely different I love the writing style and I found the book really engaging. It's a story about a family reunited when the father goes missing. His wife and three adult children come together and learn a great deal about themselves and each other as the story unfolds. Published in 2013, it's set during the heatwave of 1976 and there is plenty of historical detail. Although I wasn't alive during the heatwave it did make me think about how when an event like this happens it changes how people behave, a little bit like during the pandemic.

King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine

My Mum asked me to look out for this as she wanted to re-read it, and so after I bought it on Wob I gave it a quick read myself as I remembered enjoying it when I was younger! It's set in and around a dilapidated house in London, home to a group of misfits and owned by a man writing a history of the London underground. When I read it as a teenager the parts that stuck in my mind were about a young boy and his friends who 'surf' on the roofs of the underground trains. However this time my attention was caught by the character of Alice, who runs away from her husband and baby to pursue her dream to become a musician. It's funny how a book speaks to you differently when you read it at a different life stage!

The Wrong Daughter by Dandy Smith

This book was borrowed for free through Amazon Prime Reading. I read quite a few 'psychological thriller' type books and many of them don't really stick with me, but this one I found to be particularly good. It's about two sisters, left alone by their parents one evening with the result that the oldest daughter is kidnapped, witnessed by the younger who is traumatised by her failure to prevent it. Years later a woman appears claiming to be the missing daughter, but there are lots of holes in her story and her younger sister starts to become suspicions. Plenty of twists and turns to the story and I found it a gripping read.

One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson

I bought this book on Kindle a few years ago when I think it was on special offer (I very rarely buy Kindle books but will make an exception for a Bill Bryson!) and then I re-bought it in paperback when I spotted it in a charity shop a few months ago. The reason that I bought it twice is that my Kindle edition doesn't have the photographs, which really help to bring the history to life.

The book takes a long look at the summer of 1927 in the US, and some of the memorable things that happened that year. I can take or leave the sections on baseball, but I really love the part on early aviation and the first Atlantic crossings. I've read the book several times but I wanted to re-read it before we went on holiday to Washington, as I remembered enjoying the chapters on Charles Lindbergh and his plane The Spirit of St. Louis which I knew was on display at the Smithsonian museum. Unfortunately the museum is being renovated so I wasn't actually able to see the plane, but I still enjoyed the re-read!

Pile of books on a sunny windowsill
Photo credit Florencia Viadana via Unsplash

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