This week I have been struggling with what to read, I have been starting to read a book, then put it down and start another one. My mind is in a bit of a jumble it is almost like looking in a wardrobe and deciding that I have nothing to wear. When in fact, I have a lot of books, I want to read them all, but seem to be overwhelmed by it all.
I thought I would start with the books I have bought or received from publishers.
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy (sent from publishers)
In 1989 Saul Adler (a narcissistic young historian) is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his art-student girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road. Saul leaves to study in communist East Berlin, two months before the wall comes down. There he will encounter – significantly- both his assigned translator and his translator’s sister, who swears she has seen a jaguar prowling the city. He will fall in love and brood upon his difficult authoritarian father. And he will befriend the shapeshifting Rainer, who may or may not be a Stasi agent, but will certainly return to haunt him in middle age.
Slipping slyly between time zones and leaving a spiraling trail, Deborah Levy’s electrifying The Man Who Saw Everything examines the grave crime of carelessness, and what we see and what we fail to see, until we encounter the spectres of history – both the world’s and our own.
The Man Who Saw Everything is published by Hamish Hamilton and is out now.
A full review will be on the blog on 13 September 2019.
The Bees by Laline Paull
Accept. Obey. Serve.
Flora 717 is a survivor. Born into the lowest class of totalitarian hive society she is prepared to sacrifice everything for the Queen, surviving internal massacres, religious purges and terrifying invasions by vicious wasps. With each act of bravery her status grows, revealing both the enemies within and the sinister secrets that rule the hive. But when her instinct to serve is overwhelmed by a fierce and deeply forbidden maternal love, she breaks the most sacred law of all……
The Bees is published by 4th Estate and is available now.
Storytime by Jane Sullivan
In Storytime, author and literary journalist Jane Sullivan takes us from Wonderland to Narnia; is enchanted by Winnie-the-Pooh and the Magic Pudding, amazed by Enid Blyton and frightened by the Tales of Terror. Then there is the one book Jane truly hated – Little Women. Why had she despised Jo March, a seemingly perfect role model for a young, aspiring writer?
This intimate, intense and emotional adventure is a surprising and sometimes disturbing journey of self-discovery. As Jane relieves old joys and faces old fears, she finds that the books were not what she thought they were, and she was not the child she thought she was.
Interwoven with experiences from prominent Australian writers, including Melina Marchette and Trent Dalton about their favourite childhood stories, Storytime is a bibliomemoir that lures us deep into the literary world. Through Jane’s explorations we understand how it is that the enchantment of books we read as children can shape the people we are today. Because we didn’t just want to read them – we needed to read them.
Storytime is published by Ventura and is available now.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (sent from publisher)
1949: the celebrated Russian author Boris Pasternak is writing the novel that will become Doctor Zhivago.
The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it. But in the rest of the world it is fast becoming a sensation.
In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.
Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists are charged with the mission of a lifetime; to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.
It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book, and agents willing to kill for it.
Passions, power, secrets and a banned masterpiece with the power to change history lie at the heart of this irresistible novel.
The Secrets We Kept is available on 5 September 2019 and is published by Hutchinson.
Books I Am Currently Reading
Books Read This Week
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
This is a re-read as Shaun has a new book coming out this week. Shaun has kept a diary of experience of being a bookseller and to be frank I adore this book. This book makes me properly belly laugh. I adore Shaun’s passion for books, his writing and all of the “characters” he writes about. It is brutally honest about the behavior of some of his customers and to be honest, I do not blame him as some of their behavior is questionable. I cannot recommend this book enough and look forward to the next instalment.
The Diary of a Bookseller is published by Profile books and is available now.
Special by Melanie Dimmitt (sent by publisher)
This book I needed when my son was born very premature.
Melanie writes about coming to terms with her child’s disability. Melanie speaks to a number of other parents who are dealing with complexities of their child’s disabilities, diagnosis, medical systems and worst of all other parents and people. I felt myself nodding through all of this book, I know I am fortunate my son survived and is now thriving, however, this book was certainly a comfort blanket that confirmed it was okay to feel how I felt and be angry and sad and every other emotion you could possibly think of.
This book to me has an importance for all health professionals and should be passed on to all parents with children who are seriously ill or are disabled. It will bring a source of comfort and understanding that I could not find in anyone else.
Even if you do not have a child with a disability, I believe this is an important read, to give you an understanding how people may feel and how your behavior and ignorance may not be that helpful.
I just want to say Thank You to Melanie and to all of the families who contributed their own personal story, thank you for your brutal words, but actually comforting words.
Special is published by Ventura.
Lost for Words by Edward St Aubyn
We follow the judges for the Elysian Prize for literature and their individual roles and contribution to the decision of the eventual winner of the prize. We experience a differing of opinions, the complexities of when you mix book prizes with literature and just an overall ego fest and what seems to be forgetting what the prize is actually about. You will go through frustration at the selfish behavior of some of the judges and snobbery surrounding the literature world. Lost for Words is a great book you can simply devour and get lost in the obsession of the book prize world. Lost for Words is one would recommend.
Lost for Words is published by Picador.
The Carer by Deborah Moggach
The carer covers a topic that is not discussed enough, the caring profession and how families deal with parents or family members getting older and what to do. Phoebe and Robert clearly do not want to or feel they have the capability of looking after their father both physically and mentally and decide to hire a carer, Mandy. Mandy is not like them she has had a different upbringing and life experience compared to them. However, she seems to have passion and compassion for looking after their father, James (an eminent professor). Deborah’s writing perfectly reflects the dilemma people have with coming to terms with their relatives getting older, changing and times changing ahead of them. The Carer is one I would recommend it’s a simple read but the topics it covers is complex and relevant to all.
The Carer is published by Tinder Press and is available now.