I have had an okay reading week. Although, I am struggling to finish my books, I have been wanting to start books and then just don’t fancy them. Perhaps it’s the typical I have so many clothes, but nothing to wear but with books. I am sure you will understand.
On my reading pile A Moth To A Flame by Stig Dagerman. This book is part of the Penguin European Writers collection. I have read a couple of chapters and already want to collect the rest of the books within the series. Stig Dagerman was a popular writer in Europe but had not quite made the same impact on the UK market. I have made a start with this book, I just need to finish it, there is nothing wrong with the book – it’s just me and my little brain unable to concentrate for longer then five minutes.
Synopsis – In 1940s Stockholm, a young man named Bengt falls into deep, private turmoil after the unexpected death of his mother. As he struggles to cope with his loss, his despair slowly transforms to rage when he discovers that his father had a mistress. Bengt swears revenge on behalf of his mother’s memory, but he soon finds himself drawn into a fevered and forbidden affair with the very woman he set out destroy….
Unfortunately, this book I did not managed to get to this weekend, but of course it will remain on my reading pile.
A Moth To A Flame is published by Penguin .
The next book is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store by Robin Sloan which is another book that I am nearly done and hoping to finish over the weekend.
Synopsis – Clay Jannon, twenty-six and unemployed, reads books about vampire policemen and teenage wizards. Familiar, predictable books that fit neatly into a section at the bookstore. But he is about to encounter a new species of book entirely; secret. Strange and frantically sought after.
These books will introduce him to the strangest, smartest girl he’s ever met. They will lead him across the country, through the shadowed spaces where old words hide. They will set him on a quest to unlock a secret held tight since the time of Gutenberg – a secret that touches us all.
But before that, these books will get him a job.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store is published by Text Publishing .
The next amazing book is Paris Savages by Katherine Johnson, with the long weekend coming up I plan to make a dent in this novel. I must focus.
Synopsis – Fraser Island 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Muller offers to sail three Badtjala people – Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera – to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people’s plight to the Queen of England.
Accompanied by Muller’s bright, grieving daughter, Hilda, the group begin their journey to belle-epoque Europe to perform in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing is relentless and the culture in the world, the attention is relentless and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.
Paris Savages is published by Ventura Press..
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, I managed to get this book finished over the week. I adored this story and just simply find Jessie’s writing addictive. That is why I gobbled the book up in one sitting.
Synopsis – There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized replica of her home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist; whose tiny creations ring eerily true.
As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household, she realizes the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?
The Miniaturist is published by Picador.
The War Artist by Simon Cleary I completed today. At the end of the novel I was a completely emotional mess. Being an ex-military wife, I found a real connection with this novel, especially Penny, who was the wife of Brigadier James Phelan who had just returned from Afghanistan with the body of a young soldier. Brigadier Phelan has PTSD and we witness the consequences and impact war can have not within the environment, but at home and the ripple impact on the family.
Penny was such a believable and what I would say typically a military wife, she has learnt to get on with life at home and ensure it is running smoothly for when your husband / partner returning home. But what you do not realise until you have a partner who is away for long periods is that life can pass you by and it can be difficult for soldiers to fit back into “normal” life.
Thank you, Simon, what a beautiful and important story you have shared. This is a conversation that is often hidden or not discussed; however, the realities can have a catastrophic impact that no one can predict.
What a book!
Synopsis – When Brigadier James Phelan returns from Afghanistan with the body of a young soldier killed under his command, he is traumatized by the tragedy. An encounter with young Sydney tattoo artist Kira leaves him with a permanent tribute to the soldier, and it is a meeting that will change the course of his life. What he isn’t expecting on his homecoming is a campaign of retribution from the soldiers who blame him for the ambush and threaten his career. With his marriage also on the brink, his life spirals out of control.
The War Artist is published by University of Queensland Press.
There have been three novels / novella’s that have crept onto my reading pile.
The first is, Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer (which I have featured on my blog).
Synopsis – She used to be someone else, but now she’s arrived in Vegas, where she can start again. It won’t do to let the past leak in. It’s the Sixties now. She’s going to become…Joan. She makes a list; Buy a dress (fitted, floral). Dye her hair (dark). Curl it. Buy red lipstick. Buy cigarettes and a lighter, too; Joan, she decides, is a smoker. There’s no need to dwell on why she’s here, what went before. She is just moving forward, one foot in front of the other, becoming that new person. Joan. This city of flashing neon, casinos and shows is full of distractions. Finding a job will be quick and easy. Things to do. New People to meet. A clean sheet. She’s certainly not thinking about Jack, or…No. Not anymore. Her new life starts right here, right now.
Joan Smokes is published by Contraband an imprint of Saraband.
The next book is Happiness by Aminatta Forna another book I have only heard good things about.
Synopsis – Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide; Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying urban foxes. Jean joins Attila in his search for his niece’s missing son, and mobilises the network of volunteer fox spotters she has built up, mainly from the West African immigrants working London’s streets and hotel doorways.
As Jean and Attile’s friendship deepens, Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.
Happiness is published by Bloomsbury.
And the last novel, The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff (Translated by Saskia Vogel)
Synopsis – Ellinor is thirty-six. She wears soft black sweatpants and a Michelin Man jacket. She fights. Smart and unsentimental, she tries her hand at online dating, only to be stranded by a snowstorm with a literary critic. Cut to Max Lamas, an author who dreams of a polyglot lover, a woman who will understand him – in every tongue. His search takes him to Italy, where he befriends a marchesa whose old Roman family is on the brink of ruin. At the heart of this literary intrigue is a handwritten manuscript that leave no one unaffected.
The Polyglot Lovers is published by Andotherstories.
Hopefully, with the bank holiday weekend here in Australia I can get started on my reading pile, I of course will keep you up to date on how I get on.
If you would like your book to feature in my wrap up or on my blog, please do email me at Thesecretworldofabookblogger@mail.com
Have a great week x