Sunday, 30 June 2013

June reads

1. Moranthology is a collection of pieces by controversial feminist, Times columist, and Tweeter-extraordinaire Caitlin Moran.  I laughed out loud a number of times, especially at the columns about her marriage; I nodded my head madly and grew increasingly angry at her pieces about poverty and the goverment's ignorance of everything outside their narrow scope of experience (e.g. Eton followed by Oxbridge).  A great read.

2. Two Whole Cakes was written by xojane editor and fatshion guru Lesley Kinzel.  Part-memoir, part-fat acceptance polemic, it was a quick and satisfying read.  If nothing else, it made me realise that I'm actually quite a long way along the road of body acceptance; the tag-line 'How to stop dieting and learn to love your body' didn't feel relevant to me as someone who has never dieted and does a (mostly) pretty good job of loving their body.  However, as a regular visitor to xojane pretty much since launch, I had already read a lot of the content of Two Whole Cakes, something I was unaware of when I got the book.

3. I loved Adorkable so much that I immediately ordered some of Sarra Manning's back catalogue from my local library. Nobody's Girl was the first to arrive and, while I didn't love it quite as much, it was still a cracking good read. 17 year old self-professed 'good girl' Bea disappears to Paris to try to discover who her father is, and along the way inevitably find both herself and the love of a good boy. So far, so formulaic, but Manning's characters are reliably engaging, her evocation of the settings is perfect, and her dialogue sparkling. 

4. The Mystery of Mercy Close wasn't my favourite ever Marian Keyes novel - and definitely not her best about the family of recurring characters, the Walshes, who appear in so many of her books - but it was, as with everything she writes, diverting, intelligent and had moments of real humour and warmth. 

5. I read The Girl On The Stairs in Berlin, where it's set, which added an extra layer of tension and excitement to the story.  Protagonist Jane moves to Berlin to be with her partner, Petra, but as she enters the late stages of pregnancy, Jane becomes increasingly isolated and haunted by the city's past.  Is the girl on the stairs - Jane and Petra's neighbour - a victim of abuse, or is Jane imagining things to be more sinister than they are?

6. Dancing Girls is a collection of Margaret Atwood's early short stories.  Some of her more recent collections - Moral Disorder especially - are among my favourite books, but I found this harder to get into, and ended up skipping the end of some of the stories.

7. Dead Ever After was the final book in the 13-volume Sookie Stackhouse series.  Some fans went absolutely apeshit about the conclusion, but I found it an appropriate end to Sookie's story.  The writing reaches a new nadir, though, with a particular highlight being a whole chapter where two characters are repeatedly described as "the thin man" and "the medium-sized man".  Makes Dan Brown look like a Booker winner.


  1. I'm a quarter of the way through The Mystery of Mercy Close, but it's taking me an age to get through it! Xo

    1. Yeah, I found it a bit of a slog too. I did like it, I just didn't love it enough to devour as quickly as I usually do with books.

  2. I tried to read the Charlaine Harris novels after the first season of True Blood was on TV, but I just found the writing so poor I couldn't get past the first chapter of the first novel!

    Really get Moranthology - enjoyed How to be a Woman a lot, and loved Catlin at the Book Slam a few months ago. She is properly tiny!