Sunday, 30 September 2012

Reading round-up: September

59. Water Lily by Susanna Jones - 6/10 (full review). With this book I have completed my reading of the author's oeuvre: it certainly wasn't her best, but it was definitely intriguing, driven by two fascinatingly unpleasant main characters. Sadly, the ending was very unsatisfying.
60. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy - 6/10 (full review). I was excited to finally read Swimming Home, having had it on my wishlist for months before it was nominated for the Booker. In the end, I found it beautifully written but fairly unremarkable.
61. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - 8/10 (full review). Another book I'd been meaning to read for a while - in this case years! Essentially a series of short stories, it was unsurprisingly uneven but truly brilliant in places.
62. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple - 7/10 (full review). A fun satire about a wealthy and eccentric Seattle family, this was maybe a bit too flimsy but had enough warmth and wit to make up for it.
63. The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson - 5/10 (full review). This is a short, atmospheric, historical novella about the Pendle witch trials. It had some wonderful descriptive passages and absorbing elements of magical realism, but overall it was too short and too bleak.
64. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng - 7/10 (full review to be written). A complex and really quite educational novel, set primarily in Malaya in 1949, telling the story of a Chinese girl who has survived a Japanese war camp, and goes on to become the student of a Japanese gardener. Quite slow-moving but full of interesting details and characters, though I was disappointed some of the relationships weren't explored further.

I didn't quite keep up the pace I achieved in August, but I've still managed to get through a good chunk of my to-read list, including a couple of the nominees from the Booker shortlist. My favourite of the month was Cloud Atlas (I don't know why it took me so long to get round to reading this) but Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Garden of Evening Mists are also recommended. I was disappointed in The Daylight Gate as I had high expectations and thought it would be so much better than it was, but at least it was a very short, quick read.

I can't believe it's the end of September already! I'm actually a bit stuck for something to read at the moment, so I'm going to carry on trying to clear some of the backlog on my Kindle. I've just started an Icelandic mystery and I'm probably going to treat myself to something new soon, although I'm a bit stuck between Mette Jakobsen's The Vanishing Act and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.


  1. I love reading these posts, you've given me a whole list of books to put into my Kindle 'To Read' folder! xo

  2. Thoroughly ideal for your modern life-state. Congrats on your progress and I expect it is a trance.
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