Thursday 27 April 2017

Book Club Books #1 2017

It's time for Book Club soon. I haven't done this in 2017 yet!

You picking this month? Need some recommendations and advice?

Well, you just may be in the right place. 

Here is where I go back over the last few months, give you a teaser about my favourite books - the ones I think my book club will enjoy - and a link through to my more detailed review, if you're still not sure. Got that credit card, and ready to go?

Let's get started.

The wonder of The Wonder by Emma Donoghue is that this is a historical fiction, psychological drama, mystery that turns pages like a thriller. Emma Donoghue brought us Room, remember? This is an amazing story, set in 1840ish, when a Florence Nightingale-trained nurse travels to Ireland to her 11year old patient, who hasn't eaten for 4 months - believing she is sustained by manna from heaven. I can't stop thinking about it.

My first Alice Hoffman was Faithful, and it is a strong contender for the best book I'm going to read this year. A teen has a devastating, guilt-inducing accident. She is determined to keep muddling through the soot and ashes of her life, without much help from anyone - we doesn't need people, anyway. But life has a funny way of not letting us get away with that. It's warm, tender, achingly beautiful, and features dogs. What's not to like?

Another one everyone will love is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. A bit "Unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry", but better, in my opinion. More laugh out loud than chuckle. Also warmer and just more likeable. Ove is a grumpy old curmudgeon. He thinks most people are weird and doesn't balk at pointing out their faults - to them, if they'll listen. I loved him.

I know when I say this is the story of the sinking of the SS Mendi and the South Africans aboard who were signing up tonight in WWI, I'll lose most of you. Another boring war story. Except this isn't. Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo starts with a waiter in a Paris restaurant who "gets his revenge" on an unruly customer. (It's a bit worse than that, but I don't want to spoil it.) We then get caught up in the telling of a very personal, well constructed tale of Pitso Motaung, and I dare you to put it down, I couldn't. 

Ronald H Balson is not my favourite author. But I can see why his books are so popular at my book club, and Karolina's Twins will do the same job. It's even more hearth wrenching than Saving Sophie and has more of Catherine and Liam's story (started in Once We Were Brothers). It's a wonderful tale of loss and redemption and will have you turning the pages late at night to finish.

Why You Were Taken by J.T. Lawrence is a futuristic novel set in Johannesburg. No, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN, I'm about to tell you why you HAVE to read this book. I don't read sci-fi. This isn't that. It's a clever, what-could-happen, slightly out-there, but very real drama. Kirsten and Seth don't know each other, but are about to be thrown together in a cat-and-mouse chase through the familiar, yet changed streets of Jozi. It's breathtaking. Oh, and there is a sequel coming, too. I can't wait.

Lilac Girls by Martha Kelly is also a historical novel. Three women. Caroline from New York volunteers, sending care packages to orphaned children. Kasia Kuzmerick is a teenager in Poland,  and Herta Oberhauser is an ambitious young doctor in Germany. How dothesethree come together? I'm not telling, but this is shocking, horrific story, and beautifully told.

You all need to read You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day. Why? Well do you know who Felicia Day is? No, but your teenagers do. You see. Also because she is helluva funny, and although she didn't have it so easy all the time, she didn't compromise who she was, and even helped others too. A heart-warming, hopeful memoir.

A Terrible Beauty by V.M. Devine is one of the best PD James, Agatha Christie-like detections I've read. Written by Mike Mahony and his daughter Valerie (V.M. Devine is their pen name), and set in Ireland, I thoroughly enjoyed this well constructed plot, with a "whodunnit" question running all the way through.

Have fun, and enjoy the books, as well as the wine!

And here're the best books of 2016, in my opinion.

The year in books, so far.


Elza Reads said...

Great great selection!Don't hate me, but I wasn't crazy about Room. But I will give The Wonder a try. ANYTHING by Alice Hoffman is a yes for me. Love her writing style.

Thanks for sharing these with us!

Bev Bouwer said...

I get the Room thing. I read it before the hype, and my expectations were low. This is way better. Thanks for the feedback. I'm also looking for more Alice Hoffman.