2016 is flying by so fast I can barely keep up. It feels a bit like being on a speedboat to 2017, when I’d rather be on one of the gentle barges I see every day near the office, taking things in properly as I go by. The last month or so has been jam-packed with birthdays and the start of wedding season (i.e. hen dos!), so I’m really not sure what happened to March or April and I’ve generally been a bit hit and miss on blog posts lately. This means I’m also only just getting round to sharing my first few books of 2016, read from January to March. So, without wasting any more precious time here they are!
The Lake House – Kate Morton
In an effort to escape the troubles of her personal and professional life back in London, Detective Sparrow takes a holiday to visit her Grandfather in Cornwall and becomes absorbed in unraveling the unsolved mystery of a disappearance that happened 70 years ago.
Kate Morton is well-known for her mystery novels, but despite the recommendations to read them I’ve never quite got round to it until recently. I decided to go for her latest book because I always like picking up something that’s new and hasn’t been judged or debated quite so much.
I’m a bit of a fan of the 1920s and 30s too. The way of life back then, where secrets were kept to protect the family name and the British ‘stiff upper lip’ was really more of a thing, women were building on the independence gained from the right to vote, and the glittering fashion of the era, it all just really appeals to me. I could totally picture myself on the Lake House lawn enjoying one of those picnics.
As for the story, I liked how it made you try to guess the endings and you could see the past and the present of all characters slowly entwine. But the ending felt like it should have been obvious all along and was a little bit cheesy.
If you liked Atonement or love Downton Abbey, I think you could easily get into this book .
The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
Jim and Eva collide unexpectedly one day, what happens next will determine the rest of their lives and the books goes on to explore the different paths they could take.
I could definitely see the parallels between the movie Sliding Doors and this book, largely being the fact that it centres around one relationship and one ‘what if’ moment. Although the versions are labelled 1, 2 and 3, I did sometimes struggle to remember which version was which and had to occasionally stop to remind myself. Otherwise, it was one of those books that’s easy to read, tugs on your emotions, has moments of real anticipation and you can easily find yourself fully absorbed. It explores marriage, relationships, family duty, and happiness in a way that’s pretty realistic. Whilst some of it might have been a bit predictable, and if each book was on its own it wouldn’t be anything too original, the characters, the structure and the romantic anticipation creates the overall appeal.
If you like books like The Time Traveller’s Wife, then this book is for you.
The Martian – Andy Weir
Mark Watney is deserted on Mars after his crew think he was killed in the emergency departure, isolated from the rest of the world he tries to find a way to survive until NASA can step in.
I read The Martian before seeing the film as I’d read somewhere on Instagram or Twitter that it was a really good book and despite the awards I had a feeling the film wouldn’t be as good. In my opinion, I was completely right. The fascinating thing about the book is all the detail the author has gone into about Watney’s survival in a hostile martian environment and the diary he continues to keep. It really makes you ask those questions about what it would be like to be deserted on another planet and whether you’d have the mental strength to keep going and survive. Watney’s humour and intelligence make him a likeable character and the ‘will he, won’t he’ suspense made me read through this book quicker than any others I’ve read this year.
I think you’ll like this if you like books that are a bit factual (I’m struggling to think of a good comparison!).
That brings me up to date with my reading and I’m pleased to be just about on track with my target of 12 books for 2016. At the moment, I’m in between How to Have a Good Day and The Secret Life of Bees. It’s probably the first time I’ve tried to read two books at once since I left university, but I spent a few weeks trying to get into what is a sort of non-fictional/ self-help book and decided I needed the fictional support to get me through the days when my brain doesn’t want to concentrate so much.
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Have you read any good books recently? I’m working on my holiday reading list at the moment so I’ve got enough to fill the 11 hour flights to and from Costa Rica, so if you have ANY recommendations of books you’ve loved then do share them below.