44. Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes
Recommended by: @photogirluk as the November read for London Book Club, bought second hand from Amazon
Read: 6 – 10 November
I would never have picked this up of my own volition. And there’s a reason for that. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who love a good thriller. Good for them. I’m not one of them, so I sure as hell didn’t love this – because it’s a bad thriller. I was peeved by the time travel, I was peeved by the writing, I was peeved by the gratuitous and explicit scenes of the murders of young women. I think it’s probably the worst book I’ve read since So Much Pretty. Not one for me.
45. Title: The Yonhalossee Riding Camp for Girls
Author: Anton DiSclafani
Recommended by: a whole host of “hot summer reads” lists, including one in New York Magazine and bought from Amazon
Read: 10 – 17 November
I’ve not been so sucked into a book like I was with this for a very long time. It’s a charming coming of age story set in the American South during the Depression. The main character, Thea, is relatable if not completely likeable (and I’m nothing if not a sucker for a flawed protagonist), and it takes you right back to being a teenager - with all that that entails. The ending’s a bit of a wash-out, and I’m not sure how male-friendly it is, but I was thoroughly hooked, and I’m confident saying that fans of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld will love this.
46. Title: Taking the Fall
Author: AP McCoy
Recommended by: The Equestrienne told me about it when she read a preview copy, and sent to me by the nice people at Red Letter Days
Read: 18 – 21 November
Hmm. It’s not a great book. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s not even a very good book, and had been written by anyone other than AP, it would almost certainly never have seen the light of day. Still, I imagine it’ll sell well with the racing crowd and AP’s fan base. Probably not one for non-aficionados, though.
47. Title: Grimm Tales for Young and Old
Author: Philip Pullman
Recommended by: plucked off a table at Foyles, South Bank completely at random
Read: 22 – 3 December
I bloody love a good fairy story - there’s something enormously comforting in going back to the stories you were told as a child, and Advent with its blustery weather and promise of Christmas seemed the perfect time to read this: a collection of the Grimms’ best- and not so well-known tales, slightly reworked by Pullman, and each containing a footnote on the story’s history. It’s a brilliant collection of the classics, both the ones you know and those you don’t (Hans-the-Hedgehog, anyone?!). One for reading in front of the fire.