I haven’t done one of these in a while, mainly because I was, y’know, writing a dissertation. But I’m very much back into the reading swing of things, and although I didn’t get through too many books in October, I’m enjoying having the time to read for fun again! Check out my Favourite Reads of Summer and Autumn for the highlights of what I’ve read since my last wrap up.
A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
After watching the first episode of the Sky One series, I knew I had to get my hands on the first book in this trilogy. I had to get it ordered from a Blackwells in Cambridge so I could pick it up in Oxford on my lunch break, but I managed to pick it up before we went on holiday. And thank goodness I did, because even though I adored this book, it is a VERY long read. It’s about 650 pages, but a slow 650, and honestly I’d expected to be finished on the plane journey over to Florida. A week later I’d managed to get to the end!
However, I really did love this book. I’ve since read the second in the series and didn’t find it quite the same, but this first book is fantastic. I love Diana and Matthew, I adore Marthe, I’m slightly terrified and in awe of Ysabeau. The reader is drawn in to a kindred hate of Peter Knox and a wariness of the Congregation, and the magic/creature system is well-built and quite unique, which is a total breath of fresh air. If you like this, watch the TV series too. If you’re enjoying the TV series, PICK UP THIS BOOK!
Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan
I know that I usually like books about bookstores, but this book is on another level. It centres around this 24 hour bookstore, but there is so much more to this story. The mystery woven throughout is exquisitely crafted, not a murder whodunnit but more of a treasure hunt shrouded in intrigue, both on the part of the reader and of our protagonist. If you like books, bookshops, mystery, tech, dramatics, adventure, or really any kind of fiction, you will love this book. It’s kind of beautiful.
Normal People – Sally Rooney
Normal People follows Marianne and Connell and their on again, off again relationship through the final year of high school, to Trinity College Dublin, and beyond. Connell insists on secrecy whilst at school, as Marianne is quite the social outcast, but the roles are reversed sharply once both are attending university. Marianne has a string of relationships ranging from questionable to completely disastrous, but our two protagonists always seem to gravitate back towards one another again.
Although very little really happens throughout this novel, Rooney manages to make it a gripping read. There’s a constant uncertainty as to Marianne and Connell’s relationship, and every time the narrative jumps ahead a number of months, the reader has to work out what exactly the characters mean to one another at that point in time. I really enjoyed the actual reading of this, and it left me thinking for a while after I’d placed it back on my shelves.
Thanks for reading 🙂