Posted in book review

2018: #1 The keeper of lost things


I’m so happy to be finally up to date. On January 1st 2018, I put down my glass of cava and pledged 60 books for my new Goodreads reading challenge! Book number one is Hogan’s debut novel- The keeper of lost things– and also my first book group pick of the year.

Andrew Peardew lives in Padua (his house) with his assistant, Laura. Andrew has a secret. He is a collector of lost things, carefully and lovingly catalogued and shelved in Padua, each with a story. Realising that time is running out, Andrew gifts Laura with an important challenge: to reunite the lost things to their owners. And to atone for a promise broken many years before. But is Laura up to the challenge?

Keep on reading!

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#56 Five children on the Western Front


I was given Five children on the Western Front at a conference a few years back. Kate Saunders was talking as part of a panel about producing stories about war suitable for a younger audience, a very difficult feat by all accounts.

Five children on the Western Front opens in 1914, just at the outbreak of WWI. The Psammead appears at the bottom of the garden. It’s been nine years and everything has changed. The children have all grown up and Cyril is off to war. But why is he back? Why now?

Keep on reading!

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#53 How to stop time


I read Matt Haig’s Reasons to stay alive back in 2015, a completely wonderful, honest book about his struggle with anxiety and depression. I was excited to see how his fiction compared; How to stop time was my next choice.

This is the story of Tom Hazard, a 41 year old history teacher in London… and yet Tom has a dangerous secret. He was actually born in 1581 and ages at a snail’s pace. On the surface Tom has an envious life. He’s seen it all. He’s travelled the world, met interesting people, and every 8 years is gifted a new identity of his choice. Protected by the mysterious Albatross Society, Tom has only one rule: never fall in love. But is surviving enough, or is it finally time to live?

Keep on reading!

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Catching up… #52 The little book of Hygge: the Danish way to live well


Aargh, it’s been ages. Rather than skip all of the wonderful books I read at the end of last year (life really did take over, unfortunately), I am going to attempt to write a little about each of them over the next month.

First up is the little book of Hygge: the Danish way to live well by Meik Wiking; my final reading group book of the year. I genuinely had no idea what hygge meant, let alone how to pronounce it… As Wiking points out, courtesy of his favourite ‘philosopher’…

‘You don’t spell it, you feel it’

~ Winnie-the-Pooh

Wonderful. Denmark are renowned for being one of the happiest nations in the world. What is their secret?

Keep on reading!

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#48 Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine


Next up is Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is completely fineGreat title right? I know they always say ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, but I put my name on the list for this one purely for that reason. I was definitely intrigued…

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. She has a steady office job, has the same lunch- alone- every day, spends each weekend- alone- with her vodka. But that’s fine, right? One day something happens to alter her pattern and her carefully constructed world starts to unravel. Can she ever be truly happy? Or is fine, just fine?

Keep on reading!

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#45 Ratburger


I like to mix it up every now and again. This time it was a children’s book. I’d heard excellent reviews about David Walliams books both from children and adults, so when I was tasked to read Ratburger for a work event, I was actually quite up for it.

Zoe has had a tough start in life. Her mother died when she was young, then after her dad lost his job, they moved in to a council house with vile prawn-cocktail-crisp obsessed Sheila. School bully Tina Trotts insists on making her life misery. Then one day she gets home from school to find her beloved hamster- Gingernut- is no more. Alone. Until one day she discovers a baby rat- Armitage. And this is where the adventure begins…

Keep on reading!

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#43 Sapiens: a brief history of humankind


I tend to shy away from non-fiction generally, but when a University friend suggested that I read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari as it ‘changed her life’, I thought it was worth a shot. Clearly everyone had heard the same thing, as it took me months to get hold of…

Sapiens is the story of us; Homo Sapiens. Mapping life and its changes from the dawn of time to the present day, he explores all aspects of the human experience; religion, politics, society, science, technology and more. We know Homo Sapiens 100,000 years ago are very different from the humans today, but why? Why did we survive when so many others didn’t? What might the future hold? Harari explores these questions using a combination of artifacts, photos, anthropological, scientific and historical opinions.

Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power… and our future.

Keep on reading!