Another monthly wrap up, but this time for what I’ve been reading. I got through four books in total – with how busy my November is going to be, I’m quite pleased, because that’s put me ahead of the game for my 2016 reading challenge (you can have a nosy at that on my Goodreads page if you like). I enjoyed everything I read this month immensely, thank god; I’ve got a load of deadlines coming up, so I’m going to have to bid goodbye to my to-read shelf for most of November. I’m not looking forward to it 😦
Anyway, here are my mini-reviews for what I read in October. There’s a fair bit of spook, and a lot of fun.
Killing the Dead by Marcus Sedgwick
I read this little slip of a book in a single train journey, right at the start of October, when I was just about ready to get into the spooky mood. Originally published for World Book Day this year, Killing the Dead is a 100-ish page novella for young adults; I managed to pick it up for 50p in Morrison’s not too long ago, and I’m very glad I did. It turned my boring hour-long train journey into a wild ride, involving secrets, ghosts, guilt, murder, and sex, all set in a boarding school in 1960s America. The writing is very clever and clear – the characters are all painted quite quickly, yet they are still very dense and complicated. The plot is the same way; complex and quick, but without feeling rushed. There is a lot packed into so few pages, so if you want to get through something spooky while Halloween is still in the air, you’ve found your book. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more Marcus Sedgwick.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
As a die-hard JK Rowling fan, and a real lover of crime fiction, I am ashamed that it has taken me quite so long to read this book. The annoying thing is, I really, really loved it, so why I put it off is beyond me. It’s a standard crime fiction story, set around the murder of a young, troubled model; the detective on the case, Cormoran Strike, has his fair share of issues himself, and they unravel in a well layered, often funny, and wonderfully complicated plot. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, or just enjoy Jo’s writing, then you’ll enjoy this immensely; I’m really looking forward to picking up the sequel.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
I first read Bridget Jones as a teenager, and rereading it as an adult was a completely different experience; everything feels richer, and much funnier. I don’t usually like prose in the style of a diary entries, but you couldn’t have Bridget any other way. You have to grow with her over the course of the year, laugh with her, cry with her – because ultimately, it’s not the story that’s important here: it’s Bridget. She is a perfectly crafted character, in whatever medium you choose. I’ve never read beyond the first book in this series, but I think I might have to rectify that, and soon.
Fracture by Megan Miranda
Lastly, I wanted another spooky read in the build up to Halloween, so I grabbed a random bit of paranormal YA off my to-read shelf. I can’t remember where or when I originally picked up Fracture – I just know it has been sat in my bedroom for years. I’m very glad I chose this, though, because while it was flawed, this book had a lot to offer. The protagonist is a typical American teenager; she crushes on boys, worries about grades, feels like she doesn’t quite fit in. Everything goes supremely tits up, though, when she falls through the surface of a frozen lake – she survives, just, but subsequently finds herself drawn to the dying. It’s often eerie, and conforms to many tropes in this genre of YA, but still manages to raise some really interesting ethical questions about life and death. It’s definitely flawed, though, particularly the (arguable) villain; there was so much potential there, but he was never quite complicated enough to really get me interested in him. I think maybe Fracture needed another hundred pages or so, or maybe a sequel, to really flesh itself out. Still, it was lots of fun to read, and I’m glad I randomly decided to pick it up.
And that’s everything I read in October. Bye, bye, lovely books. I’ll miss you. I promise I’ll make it up to you over the Christmas holidays.