Recent Reads

I used to be adamant that I would never use a Kindle.  I love the feel, touch and smell of physical books so much, I couldn’t imagine a world where I would forsake them for the cold emptiness of electronic pages.  Then a combination of travelling more frequently, a back problem and the fact so many books can be purchased for just 99p (99p!) led me to a stunningly hypocritical U-turn, justifying the use of an e-reader because it was a gift and not something I had actually spent my own money on. (*Cough*). Unfortunately this means that I can now download novels with one simple click any time I feel the impulse, without even the walk to the cash desk to make me reconsider if I have enough books to read already.  (Spoiler alert: I do).  My last 2 reads have been purchased spontaneously and both were special in their own way, so I thought I would share with you a quick round up of my thoughts.

Imagine meeting a stranger on a train and in a drunken moment of solidarity agreeing to kill their husband.  Not only that, but they agree to kills yours too.  You are separated from said spouse, struggling financially with a small child and feeling exceptionally disheartened by the way your ex-husband is treating you, physically and emotionally.  This is the situation Hannah finds herself in at the opening of The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig, whilst travelling to Cornwall to say goodbye to her dying mother.  Killing in cold blood seems somewhat irrational in the stone-cold sober light of the next day, but the woman she met told tales of such abuse, right and wrong seem no longer such a dichotomy.  Set against the stunningly evocative backdrop of Cornwall in mid-summer, this novel tackles some really challenging topics, from murder to motherhood, from abuse to Brexit.  Hannah is a likeable and realistic heroine who finds herself drawn ever emotionally closer to the man she intended to kill – will she be able to see through what she promised?  I found myself able to overlook the minor continuity issues in the book, swept away as I was by Hannah’s ethical dilemma.  A great summer read.

In contrast, Temporary by Hilary Leichter both enthralled and confused me in equal measure.  Described best as a work of absurdist fiction, this novel tells the story of an unnamed temp, ricocheting from job to job in search of stability and her “forever” career.  From standing in as an assassin (her predecessor is in prison), to a brief stint as a human barnacle (due to mistaken identity) and working on a pirate ship, her experiences are both ridiculous and yet highly relatable for anyone who has ever worked within the gig economy.  This is ultimately the beauty of such surreal story-telling: as a scathingly satirical depiction of what it means to be temporary, it works as both simplistic fairy tale and a metaphorical warning of how ethereal life can become without the anchors of work or relationships to pin us down.  I remain torn between thinking this is absolute genius and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the whole thing and would love to hear what others think if you get the chance to read it.

I probably wouldn’t have read either of these texts had they not been on offer for Kindle, so I accept (begrudgingly) that having an e-reader is broadening my literary horizons.  That being said I still have 40-odd unread books on said device and really must rein myself in.  Now, I must leave you, I think I have another email from Amazon…

Author: Bookaholicbex

Book-nerd with a passion for all things literary. If only real life would stop getting in the way of reading...

3 thoughts on “Recent Reads”

  1. You also only read the ‘classics’ at one point and frowned upon ‘women’s fiction’ so your stunning u turns are actually pretty good 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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