How did it get to be November already? Another month has just whizzed past, which means it’s time to look at what I read in October. Here goes:
Books for Younger Readers
- My Brother Ben, by Peter Carnavas (UQP, 2021). I love Peter’s writing, and only recently read his first novel, so was pleased to spot the new one in my local bookshop. True to form, this is gentle and lovely, focussed on the bonds between brothers, especially in the face of challenges.
- Wandi, by Favel Parrett (Lothian, 2021). I love animal stories, and what’s cuter than a baby dingo? Wandi is a rare alpine dingo, but when an eagle snatches him from his mountain home, a frightening adventure begins. Based on a true story, but told from the perspective of the dingo.
- Listen to the Moon, by Michael Morpurgo (Harper Collins, 2015). I listened to this on audio, and it was a good one for that, with different readers for the viewpoints of Alfie, and Merry. Set in World War One, on the Scillie Islands, this is the story of a fishing family who find a girl alone on an uninhabited island and nurse her back to health, as well as the story of that girl, who they call Lucy, and how she came to be there.
- The Family from One End Street, by Eve Garnett (Heinemann, 1952). This book, first published in 1937, was a favourite in my childhood and, now that I realise just how old it is, I wonder if perhaps my mum read it as a child, too. I am fairly sure that, like most o my childhood favourites, it was Mum who bought it for me. I hadn’t read it for a very long time, but wasn’t disappointed.
- The Small Miracle, by Paul Gallico (Michael Joseph, 1951). I have had this little book for quite a while, and no idea how I came to own it – I suspect an op shop find. The story of an orphaned boy, his donkey, and his belief in St Francis of Assisi.
Books for Young Adults
- We Are Inevitable, by Gayle Forman (Simon & Schuster, 2021). If I pick up any book set in a bookshop I just have to read it. This one is set in a failing bookshop, run by Aaron and his father who are struggling to keep themselves functioning following a terrible loss. I enjoyed the mix of humour, action and healing.
- Beautiful Broken Things, by Sara Barnard (Macmillan, 2016). A story about friendship, and of living with the impact of trauma. Not a happily ever after story, but that’s what makes it believable, and there is plenty of hope.
Books for Adults
- A Fairy Tale, by Jonas T. Bengtsson (Scribe, 2014). Hard to describe this one, which was a library discard which I picked up in a op shop. Set in Copenhagen in the 1980s, it is the story of a father and son who live an unorthodox life, moving from place to place with the father seemingly trying to escape his past. Told through the eyes of the boy – first as a child and later as a young man, this is a really intriguing story about fathers, sons and their bods.
- Everyone in this Room Will Some Day be Dead, by Emily Austin (Atlantic Books, 2021). I seem to have read book after book this book around death and dying – murder mysteries, grief etc. Which is odd because I was looking for lighter reads. This one was a favourite. Gilda is a little obsessed with death and illness, but does not expect this to lead her on an amateur quest to solve an apparent murder. But not did she, as a gay atheist, expect to be hired as the receptionist at a local Catholic church. By turns sad, funny and intriguing.
- Booked for Murder, by V .L. McDermid (Harper Collins, 1996). Another op shop purchase – this one a murder mystery. I bought it on the strength of the premise – an author who is murdered by the same device she has written in her as-yet forthcoming book. Quite a few twists, and I liked the protagonist.
- Last Night, by Mhairi McFarlane (Harper Collins, 2021) And yes, another book that was not as light as I thought it would be – there’s grief, family secrets and more being dealt with, but there also light, feel good moments. I hadn’t read anything by McFarlane before, but will be looking out for more.
- At Home With the Templetons, by Monica McInerney (Penguin, 2010). Another op shop purchase. Set between London and Australia, following a dysfunctional family who seemingly inherit a heritage home in Australia and set it up as a tourist attraction. Part family saga, part romance. Not heavy going, and thus just what I needed.
12 books, bringing my total for 2021 (to date) to 131. I am still hoping to get to 150 by the end of the year – 19 to go.
What have you been reading?