Reading so far in 2018

Well, getting back into this whole blogging thing has proved harder than I thought it would. It might be because my reading of late has been a little lacklustre. Here’s a little round up if what I’ve been reading and what I thought.

Dead Letters: A NovelI started 2018 with Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach. Normally I wouldn’t have picked it up, but a number of trusted bloggers had recommended it, so I gave it a go. Perfect book for the post New Year’s funk that requires curling up on the sofa. It played out as a bit of a scavenger hunt as one sister searches for the dead other sister. Convuluted? Yes, but also a real pager turner. The characters were a little flat and one dimensional, and yet I couldn’t put it down. And don’t judge it by the horrible cover. It doesn’t represent the book at all.

The Queen Of The NightThe next book I did not come close to finishing: The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee. Ugh, what a slog. Historical novels are not always my thing, and this one certainly wasn’t. It took me over a week before i gave up on it and I was still only half way done. My assessment? Too many words. But you should know that there are many out there who really enjoyed this novel, so read some other reviews before you dismiss it.

Bellevue SquareNext I went for some Canadian content since I was in Toronto: Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill. Set in an area of Toronto I love and it won the Giller Prize, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it. I struggled for days, reading only 10 or 15 pages before putting it down. But I’m going to put it down to wrong book, wrong time. By the end of it I was quite intrigued. So yeah, go for it if you are so inclined.

Seven Days Of Us: A NovelAnd finally, another kind of light fluffy one: The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak. A family is quarrentined together at their English country house over Christmas and each has a secret to hide. I love this kind of novel and this one did not disappoint. There was nothing flashy or intriguing about the writing, but it spoke to me. I think, increasingly, I’m going for lighter reads these days. I wonder what that means. Anyways, I recommend it highly.

So what’s really interesting about these books, including one that I DNF, is that they are all given essentially the same rating on GoodReads (between 3.45 and 3.75 out of 5). What conclusions should we draw from this? I’m not sure, but it is something I’m going to be thinking about over the next few months and next few books I read.

Nuclear Family by Susanna Fogel

It’s nearing the end of the year, and I’ve only read 83 books, so I’m looking for slim volumes that I can read in one sitting and thoroughly enjoy to try to up my count to 90. Nuclear Family by Susanna Fogel certainly fits the bill. As the subtitle reveals, it is a ‘Tragicomic Novel in Letters’ and that’s about all I needed to hear.  Continue reading

Best of 2017

Are these the best books I read in 2017? I don’t know, but they are books that I had a strong reaction to. Some of them even came close to getting me off my butt to blog again. They are not all the greatest works of literary fiction, some are not even books I’d recommend too widely, but they are here on the list nonetheless. Let’s get started, shall we?


The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson. This was one of the few books I blogged about this year. It’s a brutal and compelling wake-up call about modern teenage life. I couldn’t put it down.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. This book was the first to make me want to start blogging again, if only to say READ IT. Hamid has always been a favourite author of mine, but i think this is his best yet. And like all of his novels, it is very timely and gives a unusual insight into some of society’s social ills.

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson. A group of young, soon-to-be parents are recruited to live in isolation and raise their children together as part of a social experiment. Intrigued? I was.

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer. This hefty tome had me laughing in spite of myself and at times offended me. It will not be for everyone, but I immediately recommended it to my brother.

Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler. This book is the reason why I need to write things down. I loved it. Can I remember why? No. Just that you should read it. Like Exit West, it made me want to start blogging again, and I think it was because the writing style blew me away, though the content was also great. Just a really good read.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman. This novel is my life. I’m the mom in the class who sends out the reminder emails, goes on all the class trips, is part of the Parent Council etc and after 6 years of doing it, it becomes a thankless job. Gelman inspired me in my emails to exchange my polite, informative tone for one that is a little more snarky and a little more me. It’s a funny read that you may relate too but will not suit everybody.

The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet. And speaking of novels that will not suit everyone, I’m hesitant to even include this one on the list. But if investigating the death of Roland Barthes through the philosophic lens of semiotics and the ‘linguistic turn’ (and some liberties with the Truth, whatever that is) is up your alley, by all means, join me on this adventure. Notables such as Foucault, Kristeva, Eco, Chomsky, Lacan and ABBA also make appearances. This is the perfect novel to read while study for PhD comprehensives.

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittal. Teacher of the Year, citizen of distinction, community minded father. Oh yeah, and he’s accused of sexual misconduct with students. If this novel isn’t timely, i don’t know what is. But what makes the novel more interesting is that it’s more about his family and how they deal with the allegations than him. It was on all the Canadian Best of lists last year and with good reason.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Shamsie is one of my favourite writers, so I’m going to read her no matter what. Home Fire is a brilliant, modern retelling of Antigone. Do you stand by and bury your brother involved with Isis because he’s your brother or do you let him be picked apart by the vultures. Age old questions of morality, family, loyalty and conscience.

You’ll notice that I’ve only listed 9 books. Well, there’s almost a month left in 2017 and who knows what I’ll read, but hopefully it will be good. Also, there’s no nonfiction on the list. Perhaps that will be in my next post?


All Inclusive by Farzana Doctor

All Inclusive high resAll Inclusive by Farzana Doctor was the first book I read in 2017 and it was a great way to start the year. As the title suggests, the novel is set in an all inclusive resort in Mexico. Our protagonist, Ameera, is a sales rep living at the resort, who indulges in one night stands with swingers. Not only that, someone is sabotaging her career. Continue reading

Dominion by C.J Sansom

Image result for dominion sansomI never would have picked up Dominion by C.J Sansom if it weren’t for Willoughby Book Club, my book subscription service. But it landed on my doorstep and in this political climate, I’ve felt compelled to read it. Continue reading

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

My experience of reading The Animators was a very odd one. I simultanesouly didn’t like and couldn’t put it down. How does that even happen? Continue reading

Warpaint by Alicia Foster

After reading a few books with weak female characters, Warpaint by Alicia Foster was a welcome change. Here are some women doing it for themselves, and what makes it even better is that the characters are based on real people. Continue reading

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Everyone brave is forgiven 9781501124372 hrThis may be my first disappointing read of 2017. That’s not to say that Everyone Brave is Forgive isn’t good, just that it wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be. It was on so many Best of 2016 lists that I had really built it up in my mind. Also, Chris Cleave is a well-respected best-selling author who I’d never read before, so a lot was riding on his reputation. Continue reading

Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend

Enchanted Islands by Allison AmendEnchanted Islands by Allison Amend has been on my TBR list for a couple of month, but it’s inclusion in the Tournament of Books longlist for 2017 pushed me into reading it now. (As an aside, I’ve only read 13 of the 120 books on the longlist this year. Eek! How about you?) Continue reading

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

Holy-doodle, if The Most Dangerous Place on Earth isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is. Set in an affluent community in sunny California, this novel explores the facades of teen life on social media and the truth that lies behind those facades, and that is what makes it so compelling and horrifying. Continue reading