I read seven books in February, hurray! I know there are many book bloggers out there who manage more than this, but for me it is quite a lot so I’m happy about it :). I will probably never get round to writing a full review for each of them (see my previous post) so I figured I would write some short paragraphs to recap what I’ve read this month. Depending on how many books I read next month I might do another one of these or play around with the format a bit, we’ll see…
The stars are out of five.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers **
No way this lady is ever taking care of my children. She is full of herself and has a heart of stone! I found a lot of the scenes that are meant to be magical quite weird and disturbing, for example when Jane and Michael go to the zoo and see that there are humans in the cages. I understand that they are meant to be fairy tales or parables, but wow.
The Moonlight Dreamers by Shiobhan Curham ***
This adorable story about an Oscar Wilde fan who starts her own secret society made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I appreciated getting to know each of the four protagonists individually, but also seeing them through each other’s eyes and understanding why some of them don’t get on at the start. Moreover, it has one of the characteristics which I always value in a YA novel: there are interesting, present parents and the girls’ relationships with them are central to the story. Yay!
A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman *****
When Ove’s wife dies and he is made redundant in his company he decides that he wants to die too. Then his new neighbours announce themselves by accidentally driving over his post box. Due to their seemingly limitless incompetence, Ove is forced to postpone his plans for suicide and help them park their trailer, open their windows from outside, and even drive them to the hospital when one of them falls of the roof. I read this book for my bookclub and slowly developed a lot of affection for this grumpy old man that wants everything to be done just so. A must read!
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach ****
This book was recommended to me by my uncle, with the promise that it’s not just about baseball. There is a lot of baseball. But he is right, the novel is also a bildungsroman that follows not only shortstop Henry who struggles with his nerves, but also the senior who recruited him, the college’s unknowingly hipster director and his delightfully criticizing daughter. It features an epic homosexual love story, a school dedicated to Herman Melville and many many musings about life:
Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering.
At the start of this month I stayed with some of my family in The Netherlands. One of my uncles has an extensive collection of graphic novels, so I gratefully tried some of his recommendations.
Thornhill by Pam Smy ***
I found this one quite sad and a bit creepy. It tells the story of Mary, who is a lonely orphan living at the Thornhill institute during its last days, and Ella, who finds her diary 25 years later. The images are black and white and give quite an eerie atmosphere. I still don’t really know what to think about this book, but I do still think about it – which means it must be quite powerful as well.
Glister by Andi Watson ****
The second graphic novel I read is much lighter and funnier. It tells the adventures of Glister Butterworth, who lives in a magical mansion (it moves and keeps changing its rooms!). In one chapter she finds an enchanted teapot inhabited by the ghost of an author who desperately wants to publish a final novel, in another the family tree literally grows a few more family members for her to hang out with. An absolute delight for anyone who likes a dash of magic with some good puns!
La Casa by Páco Roca ****
In this autobiographical story the author and his brother and sister gather at their father’s house after his death. They intend to renovate the place so they can sell it, but are confronted by all the memories it holds.
The graphic novel is beautifully drawn, though I found the order of the images a bit confusing at times. Roca put a lot of detail in his drawings, which brings across the feeling of walking through a home full of memories very effectively. I very much enjoyed how he plays with the order in which the characters arrive to show us how they feel about and relate to each other.
Quite a good month, I would say.