The Reading List #28

It’s been a while, but this title can mean only one thing: it’s book time again. Here’s the latest wonderfully random selection I’ve been getting through…

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey

In 1920s Alaska, Jack and Mabel are looking for a new start, but still haunted by the baby they lost ten years before. When a little girl appears on their land, they begin to question who she is, and whether they have room in their hearts to form new relationships.

This is a beautiful novel that reads like a fairytale. The concept of grief was explored in a very sensitive fashion, and I enjoyed being left with such an ambiguous ending.

I Am Pilgrim, Terry Hayes

This is an epic. There’s a murder in a Manhattan hotel. There’s a beheading in Saudi Arabia. And the list goes on, with one figure seeming to link them all.

Pilgrim is an intriguing character – you know both so much and so little about him. It’s a complex novel, with a lot of threads, and therefore takes some concentration, but Hayes knows exactly what he’s doing and never lets an element of the plot drift off into nothingness. This is a novel where I totally understand the ‘hype’ and I was really impressed.

The Shock of the Fall, Nathan Filer

After the death of his brother, this is Matt’s story of struggling with his mental health. And it is absolutely stunning. By far one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, Matt’s voice is so well sustained, and very chilling at times. Complicated family relationships are dealt with in Matt’s unique way, and I couldn’t stop reading.

The story jumps about in time, so you never quite know the full story at any one moment, and the book also plays with presentation. At times, there are single words spaced out across pages, and at other moments the black writing fades to a barely-there grey. These techniques only added to the complexity of Matt’s character, and I was really impressed.

Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman

Callum is a naught, and Sephy is a cross, so how long can they remain friends? I remember reading this book years ago, but my friend Jenny picked it up for the first time recently and I couldn’t resist a trip down memory lane.

A young adult novel, the prose is fairly straightforward, but that takes nothing away from the power of this book. The stark simplicity of the nought/cross distinction makes the events of the novel even more terrible. This novel makes you ask so many questions, and really holds up a mirror to society both now and in years gone by. I enjoyed it as much as, if not more than, the first time I gave it a read.

What’s the last book you borrowed or recommended? Do you often share recommendations with friends and family? 


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