Reading

Claire’s Week in Books, 11th to 18th September

Inbox

hag-seedHag Seed, by Margaret Atwood

Confession: I’ve only read one Margaret Atwood novel – The Penelopiad – but I loved it. And it was fun to get to tell her so at Book Riot Live last year at the party in the rare books room of Strand Books. There’s generally a lot of Book Riot love for her, so when I heard she’d done something Shakespeary, I jumped on Edelweiss to request an advance review copy. Very pleased to have been approved.

the-eyre-affairThe Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

I had just been talking about this one with my bookish friend Sharla – it sounds all kinds of weird and wonderful, with time travel and fantasy and an alternate Britain (goodness know the real one is depressing enough at the moment). So when I saw it for $1.99 on the Book Bub email, I went for it.

bridget-jonesBridget Jones’ Diary, by Helen Fielding

Yes, of course I’ve read it – and I love it. I don’t think I own it, though, and it’s definitely something I want to re-read, so when the $1.99 deal popped up on Kobo when I was buying The Eyre Affair I added it to my shopping trolley. Here’s hoping this version is not too Americanised…

Outbox

the-nestThe Nest, by Cynthia d’Aprix Sweeney

Every0ne, it seemed, was talking about this book this summer. It was one of my first Book of the Month Club picks and I’ve been looking forward to reading it for ages. I really liked it a lot – it’s at the Venn Diagram intersection of two of my favourite things: Rich People Problems and the quiet novel where not much really happens but where you get to observe people’s lives close up. I loved that we got multiple characters – it’s not easy to do well, or in a way that doesn’t confuse easily-confusible me, but the narrator jumps between them deftly. My one quibble would be that it was all wrapped up a bit too neatly, but then I complain when endings are too open-ended, too, so that’s probably just me being contrary. I definitely recommend it – it’s probably too late for the beach this year, but will hopefully be out in paperback in time to be a throw-it-in-your-beachbag read next year.

In the Queue

contents-may-have-shiftedContents May Have Shifted, by Pam Houston

Every once in a while, I go to the Pen Falkner awards at the Folger Shakespeare Library, especially when, say, BJ Novak is the host. There’s a reading and a dinner, and the centrepiece of each table is a pile of books – presumably those which were entered to win the Pen Faulkner award. The idea is that attendees can take these home – but no one says so explicitly, so that means there’s usually a ton of spares. The cover of this one attracted me straight away, and then I found myself at Cheryl Strayed’s Writer Camp this summer were Pam Houston, the author, was one of the speakers/writing teachers. I liked her a lot – I especially liked the session where she talked about writing down the things that “glimmer” at us, the little details and interesting situations that make up life and good writing. This book, which is technically fiction, but which she says is something like 87% true to life, is very much a collection of glimmers and I’m really interested to see how that unfolds.

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