It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and I was very lucky to receive some money and vouchers to spend on lovely books……and spend I did!
I thought I’d just give you all a quick run through of what I chose, so let’s get crackin!
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber & Faber)
Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: forged through loneliness, broken by secrets, saved by love.
Noemí’s chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin.
Tough and smart, she possesses an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
Curated and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million bestseller This is Going to Hurt), Dear NHSfeatures 100 household names telling their personal stories of the health service. Contributors include: Paul McCartney, Emilia Clarke, Peter Kay, Stephen Fry, Dawn French, Sir Trevor McDonald, Graham Norton, Sir Michael Palin, Naomie Harris, Ricky Gervais, Sir David Jason, Dame Emma Thompson, Joanna Lumley, Miranda Hart, Dermot O’Leary, Jamie Oliver, Ed Sheeran, David Tennant, Dame Julie Walters, Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai and many, many more.
All profits from this book will go to NHS Charities Together to fund vital research and projects, and The Lullaby Trust which supports parents bereaved of babies and young children.
Not only did I want to pick up a copy of this book to support the NHS Charities Together, I bloody love Adam Kay too! Win win innit?!
WARNING: THE NEXT THREE BOOKS ARE HEAVILY SHIRLEY JACKSON RELATED. IF YOU’RE NOT A SHIRLEY FAN THEN SCROLL ON BY……..ACTUALLY, BETTER STILL, GET OUT!!
Only joking. Love you.
First up in the Shirley fest:
Hangsaman by…….well……Shirley Jackson (Penguin Modern Classics)
Natalie Waite, daughter of a mediocre writer and a neurotic housewife, is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. In the midst of adolescence she senses a creeping darkness in her life, which will spread among nightmarish parties, poisonous college cliques and the manipulations of the intellectual men who surround her, as her identity gradually crumbles.
The Road Through The Wall
In Pepper Street, an attractive suburban neighbourhood filled with bullies and egotistical bigots, the feelings of the inhabitants are shallow and selfish: what can a neighbour gain from another neighbour, what may be won from a friend? One child stands alone in her goodness: little Caroline Desmond, kind, sweet and gentle, and the pride of her family. But the malice and self-absorption of the people of Pepper Street lead to a terrible event that will destroy the community of which they are so proud. Exposing the murderous cruelty of children, and the blindness and selfishness of adults, Shirley Jackson reveals the ugly truth behind a ‘perfect’ world.
Mrs Halloran has inherited the great Halloran house on the death of her son, much to the disgust of her daughter-in-law, the delight of her wicked granddaughter and the confusion of the rest of the household. But when the original owner – long dead – arrives to announce the world is ending and only the house and its occupants will be saved, they find themselves in a nightmare of strange marble statues, mysterious house guests and the beautiful, unsettling Halloran sundial which seems to be at the centre of it all.
Do I love Shirley? Yes
And to be honest that’s enough of a reason for me to want these books BUT also I’m collecting these Penguin Modern Classic editions because those covers are just beautiful!
Box Hill by Adam Mars Jones (Fitzcaraldo Editions)
On the Sunday of his eighteenth birthday, in 1975, Colin takes a walk on Box Hill, a biker hang-out. There he accidentally trips over Ray, a biker napping under a tree and that’s where it all starts. This transgressive, darkly affecting love story between men, winner of the 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize, is a stunning novel of desire and domination by one of Britain’s most accomplished writers.
I’ve actually read this one already and bloody loved it! There are some more of my thoughts on my Instagram post here.
Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
After years away, Laurie returns to the home where she was raised by a cold, distant father who recently exorcised his demons. But no amount of cleaning can wipe away the troubled past. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods . . .
At first, Laurie thinks she s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter s new playmate, she notices her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening?
I’ve read this one already too. I recently read a book called The Bird Eater which had been recommended for people who enjoyed Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe which I did……well I say ‘enjoyed’ it was more like poo’d my pants. Anyway…..after reading some reviews of The Bird Eater I saw someone else recommend Little Girls as a true honest to goodness ghost story. Now I love me a ghost story. So I got involved.
I enjoyed it. It didn’t blow me away and I didn’t poo my pants (phew) It was just ok.
I’ve kinda ended on an underwhelming note there haven’t I!
I’m OF COURSE very excited to read the other books I’ve mentioned and I’m still buying books now under the guise of them being a ‘birthday treat’…….how long can that legitimately go on for?…..
See you all soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xx