As I’ve been reading much less the last few months, thanks to a new job and the crowdfunding campaign for my own novel, I decided to combine my October and November roundups.
In October, I reread two old favourites, before picking up two new books in November.
Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
The third book in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series is my favourite and I’ve read it several times now, so I won’t go into detail here.
I decided to reread this after watching the BBC’s Strike adaptation, wanting more of that world. It’s now been over two years since this book came out and I really can’t wait until the next instalment is released.
Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel
When a vicious strain of flu wipes out most of the population, a new society rises from the ashes. People live in small, remote enclaves, struggling to get by without technology. It is in this post-apocalyptic world that the Travelling Symphony moves from town to town, performing Shakespeare for these disparate communities.
Station Eleven was one of my books of the year in 2014 and I reread it recently for a book group discussion. Although it took me longer to get into the story this time round, by the end, I had fallen in love with it all over again.
One of the strengths of this novel is the beauty of the writing. Mandel focuses on the details of her characters’ lives and their thoughts as they reflect on the lives they lost and the way the world has changed.
After the Fire, by Will Hill
Seventeen-year-old Moonbeam has spent most of her life living behind The Fence with her Brothers and Sisters, in an isolated community ruled by Father John, a modern day prophet. The group aren’t allowed to interact with Outsiders and have spent years preparing for The Purge.
But Moonbeam has been struggling to keep her faith in Father John for a long time.
There’s only one way out from behind The Fence though, and it’s through the fire…
I bought this novel on my lunch break a few months ago, on a whim, and I’m so glad I did.
Moonbeam’s story is split into two parts: Before and After. The reader meets the frightened girl in a psychiatric facility, where she is being interviewed after a fire razed the compound where she was raised. Slowly she reveals what life was like inside this cult and how he fire really started.
This is a thought-provoking and insightful read – definitely recommended!
Elmet, by Fiona Mozley
This debut novel made the Man Booker Prize shortlist this year.
It tells the story of Daniel, his Daddy and sister Cathy, who live in the woods in the house Daddy built for them. They live simply, outside of the system, foraging from the land and hunting.
But when they attract the wrong kind of attention, they’re thrust into a dark and bloody world, one that Daddy was desperate to leave behind.
This book has a simple, almost dreamy style, told from the perspective of Daniel. It’s a dark and difficult story at times, focusing on a family of outsiders who want to live as freely as they can, but society just won’t allow it.
An excellent debut novel.
What have you been reading lately?