I don’t know about you but I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t January? Longest. Month. Ever. Anyway, what has felt like the longest month ever has also been a month of curling up with a book at every possible opportunity. I’m a big believer in easing into the year as gently as possible as you might have read here. Anyway, I’ve got off to a cracking start with four great books.
First up was The Innocent by Harlan Coben. I have never read any of his books before but I loved his TV drama The Five on Sky last year so when I spotted this book on a second hand book stall, I thought it might be worth a try. I actually really liked it despite it feeling a little dated in places. It is quite an old book so it explains camera phones like they are some sort of witchcraft and talks about The Web as if it is still a largely unknown mythical beast that needs capital letters all of its own. But, dated references aside it kept me guessing until the end and was a really well paced thriller. I thought it was a really carefully crafted story and I will definitely read more of his stuff, just maybe look up his more recent books.
Next I read A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray which was just beautiful. I’m not a religious person, quite the opposite in fact, but the subject of faith fascinates me. A couple of people on Instagram said that they were put off reading the book because they didn’t want to be upset by reading about a child dying and I get that, I really do. But honestly, as heartbreaking as it is, it is also wonderfully comforting. This book has love, life, family, religion, death and everything in between. I absolutely loved it and it made me realise that actually, faith comes in many forms.
Next came The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger which is a book that I haven’t read since I was a teenager. I couldn’t actually remember the story I just remember reading it which suggests that it didn’t leave a great impression the first time around. But reading it now as an adult, I can see how the intricacies of this book would have been lost on teenage me. I have to say that I really enjoyed reading it this time around and I will definitely be passing it on to my teen. She is much more switched on than I was at her age, I think she will like it.
And last but by no means least (and I really do mean by no means least!) is Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson which was outstanding. I realise that I am late to the party here and am probably the only person not to have read this yet but it is without doubt one of the best books I have ever ever read. Annoyingly, it has been sat on my bookshelf for ages. I bought it after loving Life After Life and its companion A God in Ruins but thought that with this being her first book, it probably wouldn’t compare. How wrong was I? Man alive! When I finished reading it, I sobbed my heart out – not because it was a sad ending or anything – just because it was over. It is one of those books that will stay with me forever. Nothing short of a masterpiece.