The Reading List #34

How do you choose which book to read next?

I read such a wide range of ‘types’ of books, both novels and non-fiction, that it can sometimes seem pretty overwhelming settling on the one book you’re going to read next.

Below are my latest mini-reviews.

What’s Stopping You? Robert Kelsey

A book about understanding your fears, accepting who you are and negotiating obstacles, this reads like a white paper. It pulls together years of research and theories, with Kelsey providing his own highlights and tips. The main focus is on overcoming fear of failure, and the book outlines seven key steps to attempting this. This was an interesting read, and pulled together a whole collection of books of this nature, so provides a nice little overview of ideas in the field.

How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran

Although this is a work of fiction, it has the same distinctive tone as Moran’s other books. It’s a story of growing up and of self-discovery. Though claiming to be the story of many teenage girls of a particular period in particular, I struggled to relate to many aspects of the main character at all. I did enjoy the work-related parts, where she was working her way up through the music writing business, and her determination was admirable. This doesn’t rank in any favourites list of mine, but I did read it in one sitting, and am glad I gave it a look.

Leaving Time, Jodi Picoult

Another great novel from Picoult – I’m a huge fan. Jenna’s mother, an elephant expert, went missing years ago and the case has now run cold. Young Jenna enlists the help of a detective and a once-famous psychic to try and hunt for her mum. This took the usual multi-narrator style of many of Picoult’s books, and contained her usual depth of research. Every topic that Picoult writes about, she ensures her research is so thorough it’s utterly convincing – I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy and respect her books so much. I found the writing on the elephants really interesting, focusing on their traits and habits, particularly the parallels with the mother-daughter relationship in the novel. There were huge twists throughout, and this kept me guessing until the end.

A Song for Issy Bradley, Carys Bray

This is the story of a Mormon family following the loss of their young child. The mother of the family had converted to Mormonism after falling in love with her husband, and any doubts she had are now called into question even more. The devout father of the family has to field many questions from his wife and especially his other children, such as why would God do this? The whole novel and topic was beautifully handled, in terms of the grief, a mother’s depression and family bonds, within a context of deep faith that has been called into question.

What needs to be read next?


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