This list is not very extensive or impressive, but I’m pleased with it. I finally seem to be properly back into reading, even though there was nothing this month that I really loved.
Most of these books were read during BookTubeAThon, which is why I didn’t bother doing a wrap-up last week – I figured it would end up being too similar to this post.
1. Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik.
Premise: Sofia Khan is a Muslim Londoner looking for love. After hearing some of her funny stories about finding men within her world, the publishing office she works for commission her to write a book about Muslim dating. Sofia embarks on a series of dates – all for research purposes, of course – and attempts to find the man she is going to marry.
I wanted to love this. I’d heard it was the Muslim Bridget Jones, and I’m not sure why that drew me in because I never finished reading or watching Bridget Jones, despite trying on several occasions to do both. It’s not that I don’t like romances or chick-lit – they just don’t pull me in.
And this was my problem with Sofia Khan is Not Obliged: I just didn’t feel engrossed. Despite the fact that it made me laugh a lot, and I loved Sofia’s character, and I knew who I wanted her to end up with, I just didn’t ever feel like I was really, properly enjoying the story. (And I WILL do a review soon. I have lots of things to say about this book.)
My Rating: 3/5
2. Children of the Corn by Stephen King.
Premise: In this short story, a couple on the brink of divorce are on a long car journey which has been getting steadily more tense as they get further and further away from home. Suddenly they stumble across a young boy’s dead body, in the middle of a cornfield, and they take his body to the nearest town in the hope of alerting the police. When they get there, though, the town appears abandoned, and they soon find it is inhabited by children alone.
I really feel this is what Stephen King does best. Yes, he’s good at the gory stuff, and the fantastical stuff, and the shock-scare, but I love love LOVE his sinister, creepy stories. He’s so good at the subtle scare and I wish he’d do it more often. (I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re new to King, as it’s very short and easy to read but still leaves you feeling deliciously unsettled.)
My Rating: 4/5
3. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty.
Premise: This story follows the differences between the lives of triplets, and the events leading up to a huge public argument on their shared birthday dinner.
It’s hard to write a premise for any of Moriarty’s books, because they are just about people. But that’s what I love reading: simple, observational stories about ordinary people and what they do differently to the rest of the world.
I didn’t love this like I’ve loved her other books, but it was a satisfying read. I loved the characters and all their flaws – though Gemma was my favourite – but I did feel it lacked the depth of Moriarty’s other stories.
My Rating: 3.5/5
4. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.
Premise: It’s Leonard Peacock’s birthday and he is going to shoot someone from school. Throughout the course of the book, we learn about his piecemeal upbringing, and slowly we begin to understand why he feels the way he does.
This is another one I really wanted to fall in love with, but just couldn’t. I wanted it to make me cry, but I didn’t even feel all that sad at any point. Matthew Quick does a good job of making Leonard a sympathetic character, and I enjoyed the book but came out feeling rather ‘meh’ in the end.
My Rating: 3/5
5. The Grownup by Gillian Flynn.
Premise: Our protagonist is an ex-sex worker who now masquerades as a clairvoyant. One day, a stressed middle-class lady comes to see her with concerns that her badly-behaved stepson may be possessed by evil spirits.
Gillian Flynn is another of those authors where I know for a fact I’m going to enjoy whatever she’s written, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as the other two books of hers I’ve read. That may be because it’s quite short so you don’t get as much character build-up – those snippy, don’t-give-a-shit women seem a bit silly without pages and pages of background information. However, it did leave me feeling a bit nervous reading it at night-time, so I guess it did its job.
I also enjoyed the open ending more than usual, because it overtly invited you to make up your own mind instead of stopping at an anticlimactic point like most open endings do.
My Rating: 3/5
6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.
Premise: Christopher finds his neighbour’s dog with a garden fork sticking out of it, and proceeds to attempt to solve the case of the murderer.
Another one I really wanted to love…
Everyone but me read this at school, and I’ve always assumed it was brilliant but only just got around to reading it. It’s not brilliant, not in my eyes, anyway. It’s OK, and it’s certainly unique, but I don’t understand why it’s taken off so much. It does show real insight into the mind of an autistic child, and is certainly well-written, but for me it was just lacking something.
My Rating: 3/5