Clearing The Decks: Quarter 1 Report

I have selected a hundred books from the ridiculous number that I have unread. Those books are now my home library, to be chosen from when I need a book but don’t have one in hand. And, like library books, passed along once I’ve finished with them.

No deadlines, I just want to read and clear from time to time, and to have somewhere to turn when I wasn’t sure what to read.

The first quarter started well, but tailed off. I was distracted by Virago Reading Week, Persephone Reading Week, the Orange Prize longlist ….

But six books are leaving and a couple more will be on their way very soon.

First there was A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. It had been hanging around for ages. It wasn’t that it didn’t look interesting, it was just that its moment never seemed to come. At the beginning of January I read it, wrote about it, and it is now in a stack of things waiting for the car-boot sale we plan to go to after Easter. I liked it very much, but I’m happy to let it go.

And then there was Sister by Rosamund Lupton. A very successful book, I should have waited in the library queue but a copy appeared in a charity shop …. Again I read it, wrote about it, and added it to the car-boot sale stack. The verdict was interesting but flawed. The human story was excellent, but the crime story wasn’t of the same quality. But the good was more than good enough for me to put Rosamund Lupton’s forthcoming second novel on my wishlist.

I picked up Firmin by Sam Savage next. I’ve read some great reviews, but I’ve also read a number that said that the book just didn’t work for them. After a few chapters I decided that I was going to fall into the latter camp, and so I dropped it. Not a bad book, just not the book for me. This one was traded on ReadItSwapIt for a travel book for my fiance.

I did finish The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell but I wasn’t inspired to write about it. She does light as air contemporary romances very well, but this one touched on many serious issues and subject matter and style didn’t quite work together. Readable, but not her best. this one is in the car boot sale stack too.

Lorelei’s Secret by Carolyn Parkhurst was another book I finished but wasn’t inspired to write about. A woman dies and her husband recalled their past while trying to find out what happened from the only witness to her death – the dog. There were so lovely moments but I couldn’t quite believe in the couple’s relationship, or in the quest to communicate with the dog. I know a lot of people loved this one, but it just didn’t work for me. But I did manage to trade it on ReadItSwapIt for a biography of Vera Brittain.

The last book I finished this quarter was Only Say The Word by Niall Williams. A lovely book and I will write about it, but I misplaced the book while I was still formulating my thoughts and it has only just reappeared. It’s another one for the car boot stack once I’ve pulled out a few quotations and written about it a little.

And that’s it for quarter one.

I’ll report back again in three months time, and if you see any books on my Clearing The Decks page that you would recommend or you would like to hear more about, do let me know.

3 responses

  1. I”ve looked at ‘Sister’ several times and wondered if I should read it. I think, as it’s a first novel, I’m going to give it a go and hope that I will have been glad to have been in on the ground floor.

  2. Congratulations on clearing the decks! I had similar problems with The Sister to you, but I’m quite sad to see that you had problems with Lorelei’s Secret. I loved The Nobodies Album and hoped her other books would be just as wonderful. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it more than you did.

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