The Reading List # 5
Weekends are the perfect time to catch up on reading, so here’s the latest instalment of things I’ve been reading recently.
Fatherland, Robert Harris
It is 1964, and Hitler is nearing his 75th birthday, having been victorious in the Second World War. Detective March finds a naked dead man in a lake, and this begins to unravel a huge conspiracy.
The premise of this book was so interesting, and it certainly delivered. There is enough fact weaved in to make the events believable, and the atmosphere and architecture of this 1960s Germany is conjured up well. The book is realistic in that there is still plenty of discontent in the country, so it was a rounded picture, and then in amongst it all was a gripping detective story. This is well worth a try.
Revenge Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
Ten years after The Devil Wears Prada ended, Andy is co-running her own successful wedding magazine. Her life has changed a lot, and is the usual rollercoaster of emotions. This is a trashy novel, of course, but well-written enough to still feel like a good read.
There’s a great twist later in the book, although I did find the end a little annoying… On the whole, this is a fun, escapist read, but I think after waiting so long for this sequel, it was always going to have a hard time living up to the original.
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson
Firstly, this is such a great title for a novel. There was a buzz about this when it first came out, and my family were divided on loving it and hating it, so I was looking forward to giving it a try. Alan escapes from his nursing home on the morning of his 100th birthday party, and this sets off a story of murder, travel and gangsters. You need to totally suspend reality to read this one – the story is silly, exaggerated, and everyone in it is a ridiculous caricature. Personally, that’s not the type of thing I like to read, but I did enjoy the nods to so many 20th century historical events, and the book was well-crafted.
I really warmed to the character of Alan, despite not liking the overall silliness of the novel, and I was a huge fan of the ending. Despite not loving the book, the final chapters allowed it to make sense to me, and let me fully appreciate why it had been written in such a way. This is definitely worth a try – I know people who have loved and hated it, and I can’t compare it to anything else, so see what you think!
Nineteen Twenty-One, Adam Thorpe
Joseph Monroe just missed out on fighting in the war, and tours the fields at Flanders with a friend, where he decides he would like to write the first great novel of the war. This is stunningly written, with brilliant characterisation, and looks at a fascinating moment in time.
It was so interesting to read about the battlefields tour in the immediate aftermath of the war, and to read something set in that strange time of limbo just after the war’s end. There were overarching themes of love, war, loss, and art, and I was really impressed.
This list was quite a successful one, and with a variety of styles. I’m already well on my way through the next four, so the next post will be coming soon.
What have you been reading recently?