Before I get onto the books I’ve read in July, I have a question for you. Have you ever given up on a novel partway through, and if so, why? I ask because I’m ashamed to say there are two novels recently that I’ve attempted to read and been forced to abandon. Though utterly different, my reason was the same: an inability to connect with the characters. I can put up with a lot of things, but I have to care for the people I’m reading about. For me, it’s the most important element of any book. But what is it for you? What is the one thing that will make you close a novel without reaching the end?
OK, these are the book’s I’ve got through this month:
My thoughts: It’s over ten years since I went through most of Maeve Binchy’s novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this one. There’s a warmth to her style that is unlike any other author’s I’ve read, and I can see myself returning to her books whenever I’m in need of something comforting.
My thoughts: Every bit as stunning as its prequel. Erotic, sensuous, beautifully written and brought to life with gorgeous descriptions of the French countryside, this is a poignant portrayal of love and the journey to maturity.
My thoughts: What a skilful writer Charlie Higson is. In this novel he creates a world where the grown-ups have been transformed into monsters by a hideous disease and the children are left having to fend for themselves. It’s gritty, hard-hitting and packed with memorable characters, and I believed every single word.
My thoughts: A strange, sleepy kind of book, detailing the intertwining relationships of four gay men. Though nothing especially dramatic or noteworthy happens throughout the story, it’s nevertheless superbly written and kept me enthralled from start to finish.
My thoughts: Wow, Robin Reardon is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of young adult fiction. She deals with the issue of homosexuality with wit, sensitivity and originality, and her characters truly leap off the page. Most of all, it was refreshing to have an author put forward a religious view of sexuality that was more positive.
My thoughts: I admit, I didn’t get very far with this, only a few chapters in. While I could appreciate that it’s well written and the character of Odd did come across very strongly, I found myself unable to relate to him in the way I need to in order to keep reading.
My thoughts: Again, I couldn’t finish this, although I did get over halfway through. Though it would be hard to find a novel less like Odd Thomas, I gave up for the same reason: lack of connection with the characters. Plus, the author had an annoying habit of changing tenses for no apparent reason, sometimes mid-scene, that grated on my nerves.
My thoughts: What can I say? I absolutely adored this book. This isn’t just a novel about a gay teen finding love and his place in the world. It’s far more about his struggle to find himself, whilst being terrified of losing the people closest to him. Poignant, emotional, brutally honest … a truly outstanding novel.
Well, these are all the books I’ve devoured this month. Now I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. Let’s chat books!