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Before I start my reading round-up of year, I thought I’d better check in with my Autumn/Winter Reading Roundup. I’m in the middle of reading one book at the moment which I’m desperately hoping to have completed by the turn of the year. Love the feeling of a complete new start and a blank page of reading goals.
Hot Milk – Deborah Levy
This was a huge disappointment for me. I’d heard so many book reviewers singing the praises of this book and it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (On reflection, should I have been suspicious about this gong?)
Sofia takes her mother, Rose to a clinic in Southern Spain as a last resort to find answers to her unexplained illnesses. Her whole life has been dogged by her mother becoming frailer and more ailments appear all the time. I really didn’t take to any part of this book at all – I didn’t like either Rose or Sofia and found my mind wandering frequently. The only part of the book that seemed to flow was when Sofia visited her father and his new wife.
The book explores a family’s love, sexuality (which I half think was written in a way to try and shock the reader – it didn’t). It just didn’t seem to get anywhere and I was very glad when it ended.
2 out of 5 Stars (I’m tempted to change this to a 1 but am putting down some of the problems as my own dislike for books that just don’t seem to go anywhere)
All I’ve Ever Wanted – Lucy Dillon
Caitlin and Patrick are recently separated and Eva is learning to live her life in a different way to that she expected. They have 2 children, Joel and Nancy. The story also centres around Eva, Caitlin’s sister-in-law who is getting over the death of her husband.
I knew beforehand that this was likely to be a light read, it wasn’t as speedy as expected though. I wanted to feel more for Caitlin but I couldn’t really feel strongly on her side. Patrick didn’t seem consistently the bad guy that he was made out to be and Caitlin seemed unrealistically infatuated with a new relationship.
I did enjoy the parts of the book about Eva – The writing seemed much more realistic about how she found out her husband was not quite the person she first thought.
All in all, an ok read. I’d say there will be some people who really enjoy the escapism – I just wanted a little more.
3 out of 5 Stars
I received a copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Love of the Game: Parenthood,Sport and Me – Mark Chapman
I actually requested whether I could review this book – I heard Mark Chapman (Of Match of the Day 2 fame) talking about it on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime programme and knew it was the book for me. Mark talks about his 3 children and their love of sport. Over the years, the miles have added up taking them to various training sessions and competitions. This is a lighthearted look at how your children can develop a love for sport and how that impacts on the rest of the family. If there’s one thing we ‘get’ in this house, its transporting children to sporting sessions – Just Millie’s GB sessions alone are a killer but add in 4 weekly trips from St Helens to Leeds and you get the picture. And then there’s the other 2 …
Anyone who has ever watched one of their children with a younger sibling in tow will empathise with Mark in Chapter 6. We once had a man thinking he understood how hard it was to have a toddler watching at a sporting event by comparing her to owning a dog. Er no?!
There were some parts of this book that really gave food for thought. I loved the section where Mark Chapman talks about children being taught much more than their sport at training. Something we have been banging on about for years is that they learn about ‘respect, friendship, teamwork as well as sport’.
Highly recommended for anyone with children whether they are showing sporting prowess or not!
4 Out of 5 Stars
The Yellow Envelope – Kim Dinan
Kim & her husband, Brian are setting out on a tour round the world. They’ve left their jobs, sold their house and all their belonging ready for the big adventure. Just before they leave, their friends hand them a yellow envelope containing money – They can do exactly what they want with the money, spend it on whatever they like, don’t spend it, spend it all at once or in dribs and drabs. The only rules are the money has to be given to make something better. They are not to overthink how they are spending it and they must be prepared to share with people how it was spent. This is a unique twist on a normal travel book – From the start, the reader is intrigued how the money is spent. This is a book that is easy to speed through. The couple have some brilliant experiences and equally some pretty horrific encounters – I’ll never get on a coach and take toilet facilities for granted again! We learn about their relationship and the friends they meet along the way.
I’m only half way through so cannot give a full review yet but am thoroughly enjoying and its looking like a 4 Star read so far. I’ll update soon!
EDIT: I have now finished The Yellow Envelope. I think the first part of this book was definitely stronger than the end but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read. Kim’s experience of travelling through India on a rick cart will stay with me. I was glad that there was a chance to revisit the couple 12 months after their adventure – I won’t spoil it for you but it was a nice moment.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
I received a review copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I’ll be back in a couple of days with my Top 10 Books of 2016 – Come back to see if you agree with my choices!