Hello! How are you all bearing up?
For today’s post I thought I’d let my non-reading husband loose on my bookshelves with the instruction of just browsing and seeing which books took his fancy. It could be an eye catching cover, an author he knows of of a blurb that intrigues him.
Off he went on his little book browsing mission and back he came with the following ten books that piqued his interest for one reason or another. So let’s take a look at his choices shall we?
Fates And Furies by Lauren Groff (Windmill)
Every story has two sides.
Every relationship has two perspectives.
And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets.
At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but behind closed doors things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.
His thoughts: This book was the first book he was drawn to purely for the hugely colourful spine. Actually when he picked it up he wasn’t all that fussed about the blurb and that leads me neatly on to ….
My Thoughts: I have had this secondhand copy of Fates And Furies on my shelf for a couple of years now. I very nearly got it out of the library quite a few times but something always held me back. I’ve also come perilously close to unhauling this one a number of times but something always stops me….I’ve heard great things but each time I think I might fancy reading it, I pick it up and read the blurb and I’m distinctly underwhelmed! Have you read it? Should I keep it? Let me know!
Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd (Penguin Michael Joseph)
Meet the forensic pathologist, Dr Richard Shepherd.
He solves the mysteries of unexplained or sudden death.
He has performed over 23,000 autopsies, including some of the most high-profile cases of recent times; the Hungerford Massacre, the Princess Diana inquiry, and 9/11.
He has faced serial killers, natural disaster, ‘perfect murders’ and freak accidents.
His evidence has put killers behind bars, freed the innocent, and turned open-and-shut cases on their heads.
Yet all this has come at a huge personal cost.
Unnatural Causes tells the story of not only the cases and bodies that have haunted him the most, but also how to live a life steeped in death.
His Thoughts: He was drawn to this one purely out of grim fascination. He thought that the premise sounded fascinating.
My Thoughts: this is another book I’ve had in my shelves for a good long while! I think I picked it up with the same grim fascination but I have yet to gather the courage to read it. I can veer one of two ways with books like this one, I can either throw myself in and become completely absorbed or I get scared of even dipping into it incase I get affected too much by what I’m reading. It wholly depends on my mental state at the time. The fact that this book has remained unread on my shelves for a number a years now perhaps speaks volumes about my mental state!
The Chalk Man by C.J Tudor (Penguin Michael Joseph)
You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you.
It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran – the Chalk Man.
He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body.
Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure.
Is history going to repeat itself?
Was it ever really over?
Will this game only end in the same way?
His Thoughts: He chose this one initially because he was drawn to the interesting little chalk drawings on the eye catching spine but actually was really intrigued once he’d read the blurb. We both enjoy watching scary films together (although we do watch through our fingers and screwed up eyes a lot of the time! Him more than me because I’m hardcore of course!), so this seemed like a good choice to him.
My Thoughts: I absolutely know that I will enjoy this book but I haven’t read it yet purely because lots of people have read it and raved about it. Do you ever get that with a much publicised and praised book? I almost have to leave it until a good long while after the hype has died down before I pick it up and judge for myself (I’m currently feeling this way about Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell). So this book has (perhaps stupidly) remained unread on my shelf.
The Resident by David Jackson (Viper)
THERE’S A SERIAL KILLER ON THE RUN
AND HE’S HIDING IN YOUR HOUSE
Thomas Brogan is a serial killer. Having left a trail of bodies in his wake, and with the police hot on his heels, it seems like Thomas has nowhere left to hide. That is until he breaks into an abandoned house at the end of a terrace on a quiet street. And when he climbs up into the loft, he realises that the can drop down into all the other houses on the street through the shared attic space.
That’s when the real fun begins. Because the one thing that Thomas enjoys even more than killing, is playing games with his victims. And his new neighbours have more than enough dark secrets to make this game his best one yet…
Do you fear The Resident? Soon you’ll be dying to meet him.
His Thoughts: He was drawn to the premise of this one, plus that eye on the cover is…..well……eye-catching!
My Thoughts: I have to be very honest (as I always am) and say that since the choosing of these books I have actually tried to read this book and didn’t really get on with it. I’ve seen lots of people singing it’s praises though, it just wasn’t for me I’m afraid. You can’t win ’em all!
American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis (Picador Classic)
Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do?
Patrick Bateman has it all: good looks, youth, charm, a job on Wall Street, reservations at every new restaurant in town and a line of girls around the block. He is also a psychopath. A man addicted to his superficial, perfect life, he pulls us into a dark underworld where the American Dream becomes a nightmare . . .
His Thoughts: If he’s honest, he’s only really chosen this one because of the controversy and the the fact that we’ve in recent months watched the film (loved it). Since writing this post he’s started reading this book and has made good headway.….watch this space.
My Thoughts: I read it. I watched it. I enjoyed it (if ‘enjoyed’ can be the right word to use!).
There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult (Persephone)
This 1944 novel is about memory loss and is the only book we know of, apart from “Iris about Iris Murdoch” (and arguably “There Were No Windows” is wittier and more profound), on this subject. Based on the last years of the writer Violet Hunt, a once- glamorous woman living in Kensington during the Blitz who is now losing her memory, the novel’s three ‘acts’ describe with insight, humour and compassion what happens to ‘Claire Temple’ in her last months.
His Thoughts: He chose this one based on a memory of me buying it. We went to London in 2018 (wow was it really that long ago!?) for me to attend a judging meeting for The Sunday Times Young Writer Of The Year Award
My Thoughts: This is my first and only Persephone book which is heinous! I also haven’t read it yet! 2 years it’s been languishing on my shelf and I really should get around to reading it! (Ps it also has beautiful end papers).
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (Pandora)
This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.
At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
His Thoughts: This was a pick based on the fact that he’d seen the television show. Nothing more, nothing less!
My Thoughts: I remember (vaguely) the television show back in the 1980’s, and I recently read Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson which I really enjoyed. But for me I bought this book because I just loved the edition. I’ve still not read it!
Chatterton by Peter Ackroyd (Penguin)
What is the mystery of Thomas Chatterton? A young poet and elderly female novelist try to decode the clues found within an 18th-century manuscript, only to discover that their investigation is disclosing other secrets for which there is no solution.
His Thoughts: well……Chatterton is our surname…….that’s it. Very superficial.
My Thoughts: I don’t even think I had a hand in the purchase of this one! Will I ever read it? Probably not. Will he ever read it? Highly doubtful. But there we go!
Eggshells by Catriona Lally (The Borough Press)
Vivian is an oddball.
An unemployed orphan living in the house of her recently deceased great aunt in North Dublin, Vivian boldly goes through life doing things in her own peculiar way, whether that be eating blue food, cultivating ‘her smell’, wishing people happy Christmas in April, or putting an ad up for a friend called Penelope to check why it doesn’t rhyme with antelope. But behind her heroic charm and undeniable logic, something isn’t right. With each attempt to connect with a stranger or her estranged sister doomed to misunderstanding, someone should ask: is Vivian OK?
His Thoughts: He’s actually reading this one at the moment. When I say ‘reading this one’ I mean he started reading it around 18 months ago, really loved it, laughed his little head off then put it down and didn’t pick it up again despite only having a few chapters left! Infuriating? Why yes.
My Thoughts: I absolutely adored this book and it made my best books of 2018 list. Vivian is a character I will never ever forget.
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk (Vintage)
Cassie Wright, porn princess, intends to cap her legendary career by breaking the world record for serial fornication. On camera. With six hundred men. Snuff unfolds from the perspectives of Mr 72, Mr 137 and Mr 600, who await their turn on camera in a very crowded green room…
His Thoughts: He’s watched Fight Club, the film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s book of the same name so this is why he was drawn to this one……nothing to do with the porn of the sexy lady on the cover……honest guv.
My Thoughts: I read this one a while back and knew what I was getting myself into after reading Chuck Palahniuk’s short story ‘Guts’. If you have a strong constitution look it up online. Snuff was equally disturbing in its own way. It was certainly a reading experience.
There we have it. Those were his choices. I think it’s quite interesting to see what a self-confessed ‘non-reader’ is drawn to.
Do you let other people browse your shelves?
See you all again soon.
Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx