book swap, creative writing, love, novel, Uncategorized

Book Swap: Watch Me

Life has been getting in the way over the last few months and so whilst the book swap has been continuing, my ability to write about the books has not! However, December’s book swap was such a good read that I’ve forced myself to find time to talk about it.

Watch Me by Angela Clarke is possibly the quickest I have ever read a book, and probably the most vocal I have ever been when reading one too (there were a lot of ‘oh my gods’ and gasps throughout).

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The book is set in the present day and the basic premise is a focus on a young woman (Nasreen Cudmore) early in her career with the Metropolitan Police and having to deal with the disappearance of a young girl… and find her within a 24 hour time limit. Where this book differs from a regular thriller, is the key role that social media, and particularly Snapchat and Instagram, have to the disappearance and ‘suicide’ of a first girl, and the subsequent disappearance of this second one. What makes the book so disturbing and at the same time so fascinating, is the sheer accuracy and plausibility it has for the events within the story to actually happen in real life. It highlights the vulnerabilities so many of us could face with the volume of personal information we post online. It is not only a brilliant novel, but involves life lessons for many readers.

On top of that, Angela Clarke manages to cleverly intertwine Nasreen’s life events, including a range of questionable decisions she has made, into the core of the story. What I think appealed to me reading this novel was that the main character is a similar age to me, and I was able to engage with her on a number of levels throughout the novel including her career, proving her worth, friendships and relationships.

I could not put this book down (hence only two afternoons to read it – and I’m a slow reader!) and could never have predicted each of the twists and turns which occurred. There is nothing more satisfying than when a book surprises you and catches you out, or introduces something you would not have anticipated.

Overall, the book is clever, shocking, a disturbing accuracy of the possibilities of the modern day, and a thrilling read for anybody. I think I have no choice but to buy the other two books in her Social Media Murder series.

livingthroughlines 2018.

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book swap, creative writing, novel

Month 1 Book Swap: Enduring Love

My first month of book swap (August) has now come to an end and I have sent on Enduring Love by Ian McEwan to the next reader in our group.

enduring love

 

From reading the blurb for this book, I don’t believe it is one I would pick up in a shop and take home. However, that is the best thing about book swaps – you end up reading things you perhaps never would otherwise.

The novel focuses on Joe’s passionate relationship with Clarissa, intertwined with another love forced upon him by Jed. In amongst the complexities that build between these three characters, the novel discusses religion, science, trust, mental health, and the difficulties of pursuing the right career.

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan was a very intense book and my favourite bit about it was its unpredictability. With each chapter, I did not expect or anticipate at all what would then be revealed and I often found myself frustrated and having to read on because I just could not predict what would come next or how a certain issue would be resolved.

However, whereas my last review of Stoner by John E Williams was that it was a book that anyone could read and relate to, Enduring Love is perhaps not for everyone. I occasionally found myself lost in some of the detailed ramblings about science from Joe which perhaps detracted from my reading. Nevertheless, I would say that the fewer sittings this book is read in, the better, in order to keep on top of the details, the characters and to not get distracted by some of its background complexities. The times I spent longer reading, the more I found myself enjoying the book.

This novel is mysterious, creepy and very unique and for these reasons I would still highly recommend it as one to read.

 

 

 

book swap, creative writing, love, novel, prose

Stoner, by John Edward Williams: Book

I bought this book a while back and after a pause in reading at about Chapter 4 a few weeks ago, I was determined to finish this on our holiday last week and in the evenings since being home.

The first thing I will say is, I would advise this as a read for absolutely anybody and everybody. 

stoner
“A stunning novel… more timeless, more important, more real, than most novels can ever hope to be”The Snow Child

Usually I find myself making excuses for why I don’t have time to read, but this weekend I found myself making excuses as to why everything else could wait whilst I sat curled up in the duvet on the sofa engrossed in Stoner.

This novel is the most beautifully simple story about the life of a simple man. This is not a story about any elaborate adventurous event, or a far fetched fantasy, but focuses on the ups and downs of what in the grand scheme of things, is a very ordinary life.

And that, in my opinion, is what makes this novel so overwhelmingly brilliant and something everyone should read. It touches upon the disappointments of the everyday, the fragility of time in our lives, the dangers of comfort zones and the results of settling for what we think is enough. Whilst the main story of Stoner’s life is set in the 1920s and 1930s, many of the issues touched upon remain wholly relevant to the world today.

What resonated with me the most, was the reoccurring waves of a sense of ambition and passion that Stoner has throughout the novel for pursuing his research, which continue to be overwhelmed and suppressed by the speed at which our other daily commitments take over. This is something I continue to lose a battle against.

John E. Williams made me feel sympathy, sorrow, love, hope, ambition and melancholy in just the turn of a few pages.