I think this might be a first. A full month without a traditional book review! Completely unintentional but, it seems that I spent September both catching-up and getting ahead of myself. Hmmm.
Firstly, I had tales to tell from the Edinburgh Book Festival:
Then I went to Stirling and Bloody Scotland for a festival with a difference:
After that I interviewed the translator from Welsh, Gwen Davies for The Jeweller Book Tour
It was also time to announce German Literature Month 2019. Which is where I got ahead of myself, by making a start on my reading. I read Nino Haratischvili’s The Eighth Life, to be published on 14.11.2019. My review has been written, but you’ll have to wait until sometime in November for that. But for now, one word will suffice. WOW!
My September reading stack looked like this:
And here are my highly subjective ratings (working up the stack) where 5 = WOW! 4 = Excellent 3 = Enjoyable 2 = I have issues 1 = Why did I bother?
The Eighth Life – Nino Haratischvili (Book of the Month) *****
WOW! More to follow during German Literature Month
The Handmaid’s Tale The Graphic Novel – Adapted by Renée Nault ***
A refresher for the sequel (you know which one) which I hope to read in October
Craig Russell – The Devil Aspect ***
Should come with a health warning. It’s absolutely terrifying. Do not read alone at night time! Full review to follow.
Mary Paulson-Ellis – The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing **
I loved Paulson-Ellis’s debut The Other Mrs Walker but I struggled to finish this. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of interesting story here with one narrative set during the final days of WWI, and a second telling of a heir hunt starting in contemporary Edinburgh. But there are far too many words. After about a third of the book “Get a move on” was my continual refrain.
Caryl Lewis – The Jeweller ***
I read this to interview the translator, Gwen Davies. I do have mixed feelings about it. The cover had me thinking this was set in the past. It is but not as far back as I was thinking. Also I didn’t take to the protagonist, Mari, at all. Which I know shouldn’t interfere with my assessment of a novel, but it did.
Interestingly The Jeweller could be seen as a companion piece to The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing in that it examines the power of objects we leave behind. But it does so much more concisely. Hence the extra star.
R C Sherriff – The Fortnight in September ****
I’m spending a lot of reading time in the Weimar Republic this year. So to contrast with that and with #1930club on the horizon, I’ve decided to spend some time in early 1930s Britain. This novel from 1931 takes us on the annual seaside holiday with normal people: dad, mum, 2 teenage children and a 10-year old. In the days when people were decent and did not complain about every little trifle, kids were not rebellious (unless they were told that they couldn’t take their toy yacht with them), and the luxury of the holiday was the hiring of a beach hut with a balcony. It would have been so easy to satirise these folk, but Sheriff is a kindly author. He is celebrating the ordinariness of it all. That it should be such a charming and delightful read came as a huge surprise. And I was, of course, remembering the boarding-house fortnights at the seaside I spent as a 1960s child – not in Bognor, but in Bispham (where there were donkeys, not beach huts, and perhaps less sunshine. But otherwise, not that much different.)