As I don’t count books as purchases, under the purview of my minimalist and frugalist efforts, they surely deserve posts of their own and whilst I don’t expect anyone to buy anything based on a review of mine I do enjoy bigging up books I have enjoyed…the title of this post is a clue to the success of my recent reading.
The Happiness Machine – Katie Williams. Finding this book was a little frustrating because it used to be called Tell The Machine Goodnight, but I persevered and Waterstones rewarded me. This is one of those books that is SO much more than the blurb on the back. This is MORE than a mother worrying about her son not wanting to have his future happiness assured by machine, it is about (many more) relationships and how they change over time. It is about whether you would want to take advice produced by a machine about how to be happier (eat more tangerines, chop off a finger). Highly recommended and already passed on to the next reader.
Less – Andrew Sean Greer. This is a gently and very readably written novel telling the tale of a man seeking to avoid a painful event, the wedding of his ex. As the tale unfolds both he and we begin to realise that not everything about his life is as he (and we) have assumed. No matter how far you run your problems will always find you and sometimes that’s for the best. Highly recommended and already passed on to the next reader.
The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky – N. K. Jemisin. These are books two and three of the Broken Earth trilogy and they are just as good as the first (The Fifth Season). I thoroughly enjoyed all of these. Sci-fi/fantasy is obviously a fundamental element in these books but the characters and their struggles are familiar enough to make it readable even if weird science or magic is not your thing. The personalities and relationships are what make these novels and the writing is engaging and absorbing, highly recommended and staying on my shelves.
A Book Of Bones – John Connolly. This is the 17th in the Charlie Parker series and having spent some time before Christmas rereading the previous books I was already in the mindset for this. Over the years the supernatural aspects have increased, but in such as way as to not be in your face or overwhelming, but I am starting to get the distinct impression that Mr Connolly really only enjoys spending time in one or two places. While the storyline is as good as I have come to expect it has become a little tiring that everywhere that Charlie Parker travels to (that isn’t in Maine) is deficient in some way. Maybe it was because a lot of this book is set in Britain, and some parts of Britain that I particularly like, that has highlighted how much slagging off gets done, but it is starting to grate on me as I read it. I will continue to read these, I enjoy the characters a lot, but it will now only be in paperback and they will be donated afterwards – still recommended though.
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? – Dave Eggers. Although this is not, by any means, a badly written book I am not going to recommend it. I imagine there is a whole world of people who like reading what I do not, but I did not enjoy this at all. It is nauanced and thought provoking but at it’s core it is about unsolveable mental health issues and there are enough of those in the real world without me wishing to fill my reading time with them. Yes, there is most definitely a place for unresolved endings and tales of struggles, but I prefer to read those that don’t frustrate me quite so much. Well written but not recommended by me – donated.