Sunday, 3 March 2013

A book review, or two

I've been meaning to do a book review for ages but other things seem to get in the way. I'm not sure if anyone is interested in my opinion but I know I love to read reviews on other blogs
and note down any recommended reads.
 I absolutely love reading and can get quite panicked if I have nothing on the go;
I often have two books on the go at the same time. The builder did complain when he saw me get four books out of my bag on last years holiday (he doesn't read)
but he didn't know I had two more in my suitcase!

Around 10 years ago I started a reading group with friends which has, over the years, changed a lot and only 2 of the original members remain, me being one of them. We usually have 10 members and we meet at each others houses once a month for 10 months of the year. (Always with lots of nibbles, cakes and wine!) It's roughly once a month but we have a longer break in the school summer holidays (August ish) due to family commitments and then over Christmas we have our annual "Do".
 At the Christmas meal we don't review November's book (that could be due to the quantities of wine ordered but I couldn't possibly confirm that rumour), we leave that until January and to avoid anyone feeling under pressure to read a set book over the Christmas break we have a lucky dip bag. Everyone has to buy a book up to the value of £7 and wrap it in brown paper and place it in the sack. We then all choose one, read out the blurb and try to guess who bought it. It's just a bit of fun and we have, over a long period of time, built up a library of lucky dip books which anyone is able to take at any time. We call our reading group "the support group" as over the years we've all had our troubles, they could be financial, house sales and moves, depression, problem children, problem husbands etc and sometimes we find the meeting is almost over and we haven't even started to discuss the book!

They're a great bunch of ladies, all very different and most with strong opinions - the makings of a good discussion group.

But I've gone of at a tangent.... back to our latest read...
I'd never heard of the author or the book.
I was going to review this after our meeting but the date keeps being postponed so you're just going to have my opinion!
I really enjoyed it, an easy read from the point of view of how it was written although not so easy given the content.
It's about a family who have to cope with the murder of their 15 year old son in 1980's Oregon. The circumstances of his death don't seem to be in any doubt and the book mainly deals with how the family, Mum, Dad and Sister, cope with the loss. Life obviously completely changes for all of them and the paths they take change from that day on. You get to see inside Mum's mind quite a lot and that can be upsetting.
However without wishing to spoil the story, the end is slightly unexpected
although certainly believable.
I really enjoyed the book, although enjoyed is probably not the right word. I know a couple of members of our group will have struggled to get through it just because of the subject matter.
But I can recommend it as a well written book that really makes you think.
And I've also just finished this
Which was my book from the Christmas lucky dip bag.
I'd not heard of it but it is apparently now a film, nor had I read any books by Douglas Kennedy.
It was a strange, dark tale based mainly in Paris. I quite enjoyed it although in places it was a bit gory, I don't usually mind a bit of gore! The story was quite odd and covered things I know very little about, however all of a sudden it felt like the author needed to end the story, maybe he was nearing his quota of pages for the novel? And it ended on a very weird note, something completely fantastical and impossible (as far as I'm concerned anyway).
And it spoilt the book for me, not one I'll be recommending.
It doesn't get the best of reviews on Amazon either so it's not just me! I'm not sure about watching the film, it may translate to film ok, so I'm not ruling it out completely.
Is a book review an interesting enough post do you think?
 It would be for me if I was the reader but what do you think?


  1. It's always lovely to hear other people's recommendations, and to have the opportunity to try out a new author, or even a new genre, rather than sticking to what we know! I have just joined the book club in our village, have only been to one group meeting so far and already learnt why the men in the village refer to it as the Ladies' Wine Club!! Great fun!
    Angie x

    1. I hope you enjoy your group Angie, will you get to choose one of the reads?

  2. How funny that they still made it into a movie despite the reviews. Those are two of my favourite actors, though a friend says she can't watch KST because she has a really prominent vein in her forehead (random thoughts sorry...)

    1. It may translate to film ok; I know what your friend means about KST, her face is too pointy for my liking!

  3. I like to read what others think of books. I go to a book club at my local library once a month. Although it's a friendly group I'm youngest the by far and there is no wine!
    Lisa x

    1. You need to join our group Lisa, there's never a shortage of wine!

  4. I belong to a neighborhood book club and we are forever interested in book reviews for suggestions to read....but I still like the classics and they ALWAYS get vetoed..we do lunch at some fancy's fun...we talk about the book for 5 minutes and then talk about our husbands and kids the rest of the time.

    1. Sounds a bit like our group, without the restaurant unfortunately!

  5. Yes definitely! I have never done a book review (maybe because I haven't read a book in ages!) but I do love reading reviews on other blogs and note down the recommendations - thanks for these two Jay :-D

  6. I'd never heard of the Crying Tree although I have read many of Douglas Kennedy's books including The Woman etc. I have to say that it would be a great shame if that was the only DK book you ever read because it is total pants. I have no idea what persuaded him to construct such a pile of **** when many of his other books are excellent!!

    1. I will try another of his as I liked his style of writing; the end was just so odd - but it's only my opinion and everyone else may have loved it! The Crying Tree is certainly worth a read, if the subject matter isn't too traumatic.

  7. I love books so I enjoy reading book reviews too. Your book roup sound fun I have always thought of joining one but I have never seen a local one advertised.
    Sarah x

  8. Thanks for the reviews - always good to get ideas for books to read (and suggestions of those to avoid!)