Snapshot Reviews

Another snapshot review post from me to end the working week. Sometimes it’s quite nice just to reflect on the books that I’ve been reading in shorter bursts rather than get bogged down in all of the detail behind them. Shorter reviews are also particularly helpful in those instances when I’ve enjoyed books but there are already loads of reviews about them online anyway- especially in the case where they are quite old novels…. 

To The Lighthouse; Virginia Woolf- When I read A Room of One’s Own by Woolf last year, I found it to be extraordinarily hard going. Though I enjoyed this one a bit better, I also still found that to be the case, unfortunately. Character-driven and told mainly through thoughts and observations of its protagonists rather than via any exciting plot device, it is the story of the Ramsay family and the time they spend at their summer home in the Scottish Hebrides with a series of friends and acquaintances. The prose is loquacious and the descriptions vivid and dreamlike, but I still suspect that Woolf is one of those authors I will struggle to get along with as I found the story itself pretty tedious. 3 stars out of 5. 

You’re Mine Now; Hans KoppelI loved the debut written by this author (a Swedish author under a pseudonym) when it came out a couple of years ago and was keen to see if I would enjoy the follow-up just as much. Pacey and chilling, it is a story of the terrifying consequences of infidelity. I found it another gripping read- though not quite as strong as its predecessor- and appreciated its Swedish setting. Certainly a must-read for fans of Nordic crime! 4 stars out of 5. 

Night in Bombay; Louis Bromfield- another one of my Penguin orange classics! As I’m really into reading books about India at the moment, I couldn’t wait to pick this one up. Again, this was very much a character-driven story with a bit of romance, mystery and adventure and an eclectic cast of characters. There are some lush, evocative descriptions of sounds and scenery that transported me overseas. India is such a land of contrasts and this classic novel depicted that beautifully. 4 stars out of 5. 

The Murder at the Vicarage; Agatha Christie– the first book in the Miss Marple series. For a murder mystery, this was actually a lovely, old-fashioned read- which I appreciate sounds somewhat strange! It focuses on a murder with multiple potential suspects and is narrated from a vicar’s perspective, which was a surprise for me- though, surprisingly, Mrs Marple herself didn’t make too many appearances. I found this to be an enjoyably quick, escapist read with some nice character descriptions and a great depiction of rural village life where everyone knows each others business! 3.5 stars out of 5.

The Martian; Andy Weir- after reading so many good things about this book, I have to admit that I found it pretty disappointing. After a mission to Mars goes disastrously wrong, one of the astronauts is left behind. This is a story of survival and tenacity against all the odds and set amidst a very unusual backdrop! Whilst engaging enough, it was just far too full of mathematical and scientific information that really puzzled my poor little brain. If I’m honest, I only kept reading for one macabre reason: to find out if the protagonist lived or died. 3 out of 5 stars.

With the weekend on the horizon, I’m hoping to get through a few books if I can- particularly as (surprise!) it is a terrible weather forecast for my part of the UK tomorrow. I’m just about to begin a Lionel Shriver novel “So Much For That” and then I’ll see what else I fancy. Happy weekend, everyone! 🙂

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