Books I Read In May & June.

Books I’ve read recently have been a bit of a mixed Book- Bag. See what I did there.😅 There have been some goodies though. Two recommended by bloggers….and one written by a blogger. Yay!

Convenience Store Woman ~ Sayaka Murata (2016). Keiko has always been a bit disconnected from other human beings. Her response to an annoying boy in primary school is to hit him with a shovel. And shouldn’t a dead budgie be taken home for dinner. It’s apparent her family think she’s definitely strange ,so it’s a relief to them when she gets a part time job in a convenience store. The in-store training manual shows Keiko how to be an acceptable and productive member of society and Keiko is happy to appear normal at last. However many years later Keiko is unmarried, has no children and at 36 is still in the same role. She no longer conforms to what society thinks she should be. This is a funny, sometimes sinister, a little heart breaking and actually life affirming story. Go Keiko! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Water Cure ~ Sophie Mackintosh ( 2018). I really wanted to like this book, but it just annoyed me more than anything. If your looking for a distopion classic then I recommend The Handmaid’s Tale. The storyline idea is good. Three daughters are brought up by their mother and father on an isolated island, away from the real world which is apparently full of deadly toxins. They are subjected to cruel purifying treatments which involve drowning dresses etc. But to them this is all quite normal. Then oneday their father disappears leaving their mother to carry on his good work. Things go awry when three men are washed up on the island. Read it and let me know what you think. ⭐⭐

Yeshiva Girl ~ Rachel Mankowitz ( 2018). A Jewish novel about a teenager whose father abuses young girls ( herself included) is difficult subject matter , but Mankowitz’s quiet yet real writing provides the reader with a heroine we really want to hear more from. When Izzy’s parents put her in a new orthodox school whilst he goes through a court case, she finds herself dealing with having to make friends & relationships whilst questioning a religion that appears to very much prioritize men over women. And how can Izzy get on with her life when her peers don’t realise just how manipulative her father really is. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady ~ Edith Holden ( 1979). Book illustrator and art teacher Edith Holden’s Nature notes for 1906 lay unseen and unpublished for many years after her death. Then in 1979 her beautiful paintings and observations were set out in diary form and shown to the wider world. They were an immediate success even spawning a TV series. The diary contains poems and sayings about each month, lovely illustrations and Edith’s day to day pondering’s about the wildlife she saw whilst walking or riding her bicycle in her beloved Midlands. Unfortunately for Edith she died in her forties. Leaning over a river to observe some plant life, she fell in and drowned. 😦 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Chess Men ~ Peter May (2012). Back to Peter Mays trilogy set on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. In this novel many loose ends are tied up and it seems former detective Finn MacLeod has reached some sort of peace in his life, back on his childhood home of Lewis. Of course as is mandatory in Mays trilogy, Finns past is brought back to haunt him when a former friend turns up dead and another is suspected of his murder. ⭐⭐⭐

Remarkable Creatures ~ Tracy Chevalier ( 2009). I must admit to not having heard of the fossil hunter Mary Anning until quite recently. She was a working class girl from Lyme Regis who discovered some of the greatest fossil finds of the 19th Century. Due to her sex and lowly station she wasn’t even credited for her discoveries for many years. Her story is currently being made into a feature film ‘Ammonite’ starring Kate Winslet & Saiorse Ronan. I’m not sure if the movie is based on this book by historical novelist Tracy Chevalier, but her tale is a compelling one. Chevalier tells the story of both Mary Anning through Mary’s own eyes but also through her friend Elizabeth Philpot, who befriended the young fossil hunter after moving to Lyme with her two sisters. Remarkable Creatures is a very easy read and shows just how remarkable a woman needed to be to make her mark in a man’s world. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read anything good lately? Any recommendations?