Wednesday, 1 September 2010

August Book Review

Don't hate me for being a day late. I'm horrendous aren't I?

Good news is I only read 3 books this month so it'll be a short one. It would have been even shorter if it wasn't for a train journey down to and back from Torquay which gave me a total of 14 hours good reading time. Even better I forgot to take notes like I usually do so I'll be lucky if I can remember anything of them bar the name.

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger

I was really looking forward to this, how could I not be given the amazingness that was The Time Traveller's Wife. But I was a little disappointed to be honest.

It took me a long while to get into this one, it was a bit like trying to sprint across the pool in aqua aerobics, I wanted to get to the other side but something just kept holding me back.

Her Fearful Symmetry is about a pair of twins in America who inherit a creepy flat near Highgate Cemetry in London from an Aunt Elspeth that they never met. The only stipulation is that they have to live there for a year and their mother (the Elspeth's twin) isn't allowed to step foot in there.

There is a kind of awkward bloke living in the flat below who used to be Elspeth's lover. There is a kind of awkward bloke living in the flat above who has OCD. None of it really flows very nicely.

Then somewhat bizarrely things take a very strange twist and we enter another realm of ghostly goings on. I shouldn't have been surprised, this woman wrote about time-travelling for goodness sake, but it kind of took me by surprise and I found myself enjoying it. Kind of.

Overall it was okaaaaaaaaaay, but it made me pull a puzzled face. And I found it hard to care about any of the characters which always makes it difficult to feel sympathy for them.

The Rose of Sebastopol - Katherine McMahon

I'm seriously struggling to think about how to write about this book. Which is not a good start.

Drippy heroine. Drippy fiance. Headstrong cousin. Crimean War.

It could have been amazing but it was all a little cliched and I just felt like it didn't go far enough. There were questions which weren't really answered, and not in that very clever, "Oooh I wonder what happened there, let's sit and have a think about it" way, but in an annoying "You couldn't be bothered to explain that properly could you?" way.

I mean I read it. But that's not saying a lot considering I was trapped on a train for 6.5 hours and couldn't be bothered to do any cross stitching.


The Weight of Silence - Heather Gudenkauf

Hello The Times/WH Smith book offer, you reel me in again. Good job really considering that I finished the first book on the way down to Torquay and needed something to read on the way back up but man am I pleased that I only spent £2.99 on it.

Two little girls go missing and the story of their absence is told through the voices of the various people connected to them. Totally readable and I raced through it but when it was over I couldn't really work out why I'd read it and what I'd gained from it. I was left going, "Yeah, and?"

It is one of the Book Club's summer reads and I can totally see why. Very easy to read, sucks you in very quickly and as soon as you've read it you can leave it on the beach or at the hotel and never think about it again. I don't mean that as a damning review, more a pat on the back for the people that choose the books for the Book Club, well done them.


The winner this month?

Her Fearful Symmetry.

But it's a bit like picking out the banana that's the least black and mushy out of a bunch.

Not a good month.


  1. Oh dear...
    I'll have to look for a book for you to read in September that will illicit a more enthusiastic response.

  2. Oh dear - sorry to hear that this month's reads were a little disappointing.

    I picked up a copy of The Rose of Sebastapol for £1 from the local Charity Shop. If I ever get round to reading it, I'll let you know what I thought.

    I've just picked up Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen (another £1 special). I'm hoping it turns out better than the last Alexander McCall Smith I read Corduroy Mansions - Very disappointing!

  3. I'd have to agree with your opinion of the first two books, even the sort of twist in Her Fearful Symmetry wasn't enough to make me go wow. Haven't read the third book and I don't think I'll be worried I missed something.

  4. Boo! Let's hope this month is better!
    Can't believe it's already September can you?!!!

  5. My mum said the same as you about Her Fearful Symmetry - and also that the author mentions racoons in London - no clue...we don't get racoons over here!

    The Rose of Sebastopol - my friend from Orion gave me this to read. It was okay like you say but a bit unnecessary really at the end...oh was insightful about hygiene though and made you think how shit it must have been before they realised you should wash your hands and avoid dodgy food and that you really didn't need to cut off a whole leg if you broke a bone that came through the

  6. I just gotta face it...there are times when the reviews are grand and the book isn't. Just like movie trailers...

  7. Oooh books! Pity you didn't find a fabulous read last month,but there's always this month! I had thought about doing book reviews but wasn't sure if anyone would be interested - may have to look into it now seeing yours!!


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