Friday 3 November 2017

Book Club Books #4 2017

Oops, I hope I haven't left this too late. We've still got ONE MORE book club meeting before we all ride off into the sunrise of holidays at the sea. Hope you do too. And if you're buying, here are some great suggestions. I've really had a good reading year - so many 5 star rated books - I do hope my standards aren't slipping.

I suppose these could also make a great Christmas list - don't forget to check out your friends' and family's Goodreads wish lists if you need inspiration. Note to self : update my Goodreads list, before my sister finishes her Christmas shopping.

Here you'll find short descriptions, if you're interested in more, click the covers for my reviews, or follow the links, they work too.

Let's start with an old favourite author, but writing a different kind of book, for him.Well, not completely, but slightly. Michael Robotham's trademark is psychological thrillers - encapsulated in psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin and the deadly killers he chases. There's always (at least) one body, and a sinister, dark, lurking presence. 

And sinister The Secrets She Keeps certainly is. But it's less crime detective and whodunnit, and more inside their heads - someone is definitely watching. It's creepy, and evil, and wrong. But a page turner of note, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Here and Gone by Haylen Beck may have been passed over for this list, but for the fact I was discussing the beginning of it with a friend who was equally gripped. Here's that convo:

"Didn't you love the first chapter?"
"Oh my word, yes, can you imagine?"
"I know - every mother's worst nightmare, right?"
The rest of Book Club: "What HAPPENED?"

Good question. 

It starts with a mom, a sick baby and another little one in the back. Mom is driving, at night. They're obviously running out on some very dangerous situation,  Mom wondering if he is after her, and it's cost her a lot to get this far. But there's a cop. At first she thinks he hasn't noticed her, but later he pulls her over, for some random made up stuff. And then after calling for female backup to supervise the kids, and getting her to an overnight police station, when she asks what has happened to her children, he responds "What children?"

I'll just leave you there. If you're anything like my book club, you'll be politely fighting to take it home this month.

It's difficult to describe how much I loved Beartown, also called The Scandal - (my review has that cover too). Fredrik Backman is an amazing writer. Not only is it full of beautiful phrases, words and thoughts, the world he creates is so vividly alive, that you actually want to visit. 

Beartown is in the heart of a forest in Sweden where the only thing that matters is ice hockey. And that matters. So much. The junior league may win the nationals, and put the whole town on the map. This will be good for everyone. But there is The Scandal, and all may be lost. It's a beautiful story of all our lives, encapsulated in this small town, where things seem so excruciatingly important, and small choices affect destiny.

Another world I enjoyed living in for about 544 pages or so. Fever is a tome. But it's wonderful. Post virus-affected, apocalyptic South Africa, where trucks bolt through the dusty Karoo, pursued by evil leather-clad biker gangs, carrying more weapons than brains, and everyone knows how to shoot and build barricades. It's a war zone. Hunger, thirst and the fight for survival has made everyone a suspect - even your friends - and there is no end of evil, and like that cobra, you never know when it'll strike.

A powerfully written novel that will have you engrossed until the very last page. It's no Benny Griesel, but heck, I enjoyed it.

Another world of words. John Boyne, you beauty. The Heart's Invisible Furies follows Cyril Avery from a childhood of rejection, adoption without acceptance, judgement and fury through his angsty teens to being an adult struggling to find love, real relationships and truth and beauty in this cruel world.

I know that sounds incredibly sad, but as usual, Mr Boyne injects his gentle, wry humour, his astute observations of life, and somehow we can take the sadness in, holding his warm hand.

Like this: "What you know about women," replied Maude, "could be written in large font on the back of a postage stamp, and there'd still be room for the Lord's prayer."

You'll all love this book.

I know it's unusual, but I truly believe that we should all read The Radium Girls. It's such a powerful account of how we, as a society can get stuff so horribly wrong if we are misinformed. And then the terrible, life-ending consequences.

Radium was considered (not all that long ago) to be a miracle substance. Despite the evidence to the contrary, it was difficult for the world to abandon the thought that a substance the did so much good could work its way into the bones of a person, and then decay them from the inside, to devastating effect.

That this happened to so many women made it more tragic for me. Because it was difficult to get society to notice, or care.

Kate Moore writes with such honesty and empathy, and these women's accounts are full of pain, yet also, weirdly, hope and strength. Highly recommended. Sadly EB don't stock it, but you can get it from or

And lastly, one for the soul. The nostalgia and whimsy in this lovely little book enchanted me.  Perhaps it's because I remember first-hand the joy of working in a music shop - slightly different to this one, but also with interesting workmates, and fascinating customers.

The Music Shop sells vinyl. Only vinyl. And it's a place where the down-and-out, the unloved and unseen are noticed and loved. You see, Frank believes that there is the perfect vinyl listening experience for everyone. And he is particularly talented at identifying it, and all for the sheer joy of watching them enjoy the experience - they don't even always buy the record.

All this may be heartwarming and charming, but it really isn't good business practice. Yet there is hope, and love, and these endure, after all.

Enjoy your holiday reading everyone.

More books.

1 comment:

Elza Reads said...

I want to read all of them! It's been the worst reading year of my entire life. BUT 2018 is lurking with a big smile and I have some great books to look forward to! Thanks for sharing Bev!