Claire’s Week in Books, 14th to 21st Feb

It’s been a quiet week, book wise. I’ve read a fair bit, but from this and that book, and not finished much.


I couldn’t quite believe it when I searched my inbox for Amazon and Kobo, Netgalley and Edelweiss, and couldn’t find anything. But I did receive one book in the post.

You may have heard me talk about a new obsession of mine called The List App. It’s kind of half way between twitter and blogging, and I love it. I’ve written about it for Book Riot a couple of times, too.

Anyway, it’s not just an app. It’s also a community. One of the most beloved members of Hard Shoulderthis community – so beloved that many lists have been written about his recent disappearance from the app, though rumour has it he is still alive and it’s all fine – recently organised something he called a Book-o-Ganza. The idea is we all sent him stamped, self-addressed envelopes, and he randomly popped one of his many spare books in the post to us. We then read it within a month, write a lite about it, and, if anyone asks for it, send it to another member of The List App. Mine is Peter Woods’ Hard Shoulder, which I know nothing about. The first line has me intrigued, though: I was trying to put a name to the colour of the morning. As does the blurb by Colm Toibin, whose Brooklyn I loved long before it got film-popular: “Riveting, at times absorbing. I loved this book.”


I love my book club with the kind of passion I only normally reserve for The West Wing. They are smart and serious about reading the book. I have dragged myself through books I wasn’t sure about on many an occasion just so I could have the pleasure of discussing it with them. I’ve also binge-read many a book because I wasn’t sure I really wanted to read them until it was almost too late to get them done in time, were it not for the magic of Audible and the Kindle/Audible syncing thing. I don’t recommend the panic-binge, by the way. I’m sure that at least part of the negativity I feel towards The Goldfinch and Life After Life is because of this, and not because of the books themselves.

Native SpeakerAnyway, Change-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker proved to be great fodder for discussion – the six of us talked about it non-stop for an hour and a half. The writing is great and the plot is complex enough to make it interesting and for some of the conversation at least to have consisted of “okay, so what exactly happened there…”. It’s a fascinating exploration of race and belonging  and identity and of love and family. Oh, and politics – and we know I love political campaign novels.

How about you? What books have you bought or borrowed from the library lately? What have you been reading?

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