Books I Currently Love

This summer has been very busy and as I get ready to go back to work, I am determined to keep reading as much as possible. Right now I am soaking up several novels at once. In this post, I wanted to share my thoughts on a couple of my current faves.

Five Tuesdays in Winter

Five Tuesdays in Winter is a set of short stories by a wonderful American writer, Lily Smith. Having enjoyed her book, ‘Writers and Lovers,’ Lily has put together some interesting and thoughtful narratives which I have so far been satisfied by.

One tale is of a bookshop owner whose wife had left him to be a single parent. Slowly he realises he is attracted to his new employee and gently they explore their relationship, hinting at possibilities of more than just bookshelf stacking.

Another explores a lad who is left with two college students while his parents are abroad in France. He looks up to the boys and has a summer of discovery while they enjoy making the most of his lavish home.

Apples Never Fall

Liane Moriarty is one of my all time favourite writers and it was a no-brainer that I was always going to get this novel. Her short chapters delve into the lives of an Australian family who had an unexpected guest knock on their door one evening.

Joy and Stan are retired but used to manage their own tennis training school. Their four children are grown up now and living complex lives. The story goes back and forth between a time when Savannah (the guest) had fled her boyfriend and shacked up in Joy’s home and a time after Joy had weirdly vanished.

Summary

These two books are keeping me company at the moment and both are brilliant. I am also working my way through another Joanne Harris novel which I will review later on.

Although I haven’t finished either book, I am loving them so much. I would totally recommend checking them out online and sampling the first few pages of each.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. Check out my review of Liane Moriarty’s other book Three Wishes if you want more suggestions.

More Incredible Authors

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about some amazing writers who really impressed me with their work and this week I have two more to recommend. After demonstrating why Liane Moriarty, John Boyne and Joanne Harris are high on my list of authors, now I want to talk about Matt Haig and Celeste Ng.

Books to read in the bath, in bed or on a train.

What makes a writer great? (In my view)

Well, for me a great writer is somehow who can captivate me again and again. Both of these writers cover different genres and have quite distinct styles. In each case I have found myself absorbed in their fictional worlds and come out asking lots of questions, eager to know more.

Matt Haig

If you have ever watched my Youtube channel you will know that Matt Haig has given me plenty to talk about with his books which delve into mental health issues. The thoughtful ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ non-fiction best seller was inspired by Matt’s own depression and discusses this subject in detail, whilst showing how important it is to be positive.

This was followed by the brilliant ‘Notes On A Nervous Planet’ which covered all sorts of things causing us modern day stress. His books have short chapters, often use lists and include quotations. This book particularly analysed the power that social media has over our lives and how it can prevent us from sleeping.

Following reading the brilliant ‘The Midnight Library’ last year I decided to try another of his fictional stories, called ‘The Humans’. For my previous blog post about ‘The Midnight Library’ check out this article: https://jamieadstories.blog/2021/06/16/books-that-more-than-satisfied/

The Humans

A Cambridge Professor has his body inhabited by an alien who is trying to stop his mathematical findings being released . The discovery would be detrimental to other life forms and so the alien is determined to wipe anyone out who already knows about the lecturer’s results.

Weirdly, the alien quite enjoys inhabiting the professor’s body and engaging with his wife and son.

Matt Haig writes consistently well in fiction and non-fiction genres. He is insightful, witty and is not afraid to cover challenging topics.

Celeste Ng

I discovered Celeste Ng after hearing about Reece Witherspoon turning one of her stories into a TV Drama. Deciding to read it before the series came out, I was so pleased to find out that the book was exceptionally well structured and completely compelling,

Celeste quickly became an important author to me, and though she only has two published books so far, her skilful way with words is undeniable.

Little Fires Everywhere

With a family who live in a small town which is wholesome and predictable, the story begins by introducing a mother and daughter to the mix. Renting a room from the Richardsons in Shaker Heights, a place where the length of the grass is regulated, Mia and her daughter are an unlikely spot.

The book starts near the end as we discover the Richardson’s house on fire. Soon, we are taken back to the twisted events that led to this event, stemming from that very first appearance by Mia and her teenage daughter, Pearl.

Following this book, I read the stunning ‘Everything I Never Told You’ which discusses an American-Chinese household dealing with the aftermath of a tragic death. Yet again, Celeste’s chapters bounce back and forth in time, delicately unlocking a harrowing tale of jealousy, resentment and teenage angst.

Both Celeste Ng and Matt Haig are talented writers who never fail to impress. Friends of mine have gone on to read their books and enjoyed them enough to try other books by them. I would recommend downloading a sample of their work and seeing if you like their writing styles.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and will consider following my blog.

Bewitching Books

It sounds a little cliche but all I ever want to read are books that are able to cast a spell over me. If a book doesn’t suck me in right away and make me want to explore the setting and meet the characters for real then it probably won’t satisfy me very much at all. There are, of course, some authors that manage to completely submerge me into their fictional worlds every single time. This article will mention books by two of those writing geniuses who never fail to draw me in and making me feel completely spellbound by the end of each of their incredible books.

Do you have authors that you can rely upon to always deliver compelling stories?

For me, there are two writers who never fail to impress me with their books. By using intriguing narratives and clever plot lines they know exactly how to convince anybody who cares to pick up one of their books that their stories are well worth seeing through to the end. They write fully formed characters who are highly relatable and have believable flaws. Such characters have the ability to soon get you rooting for them, no matter what experiences they’ve had.

Gentlemen and Players – Joanne Harris

Starting with the book ‘Chocolat’ I have been working my way through Joanne Harris’ work for many years. She followed that masterpiece with three other stories also set in France, with the same lead character, Viane Rocher, whose talent with confectionary disguised her mysterious abilities to make people see themselves as others did. Her chocolates seemed to have the ability to unveil their underlying passions.

There is something very different about another of her books, Gentlemen and Players, which tells the story of a teacher and student who were both loyally linked to a traditional private school known as St Oswalds. The student reflected upon their youth when their dad worked at the school as a caretaker and they couldn’t afford to attend the rather posh St Oswalds school themselves, so they found clever ways to sneak in, dress in the appropriate uniform and befriend another lad with whom they suddenly became fascinated.

At the same time, the tired old Latin teacher was being shoved out of his office and pushed towards early retirement as he didn’t have the will to try and fit in with a modernising school which had been recently taken over by a new headteacher. His life and that of the student were connected but most of the book was spent making you wonder just how. Later on, there was a surprising twist which, after an exhilarating build up, really threw me off balance.

Joanne is about to unleash a fourth book set around St Oswald’s. A Narrow Door pops into bookshops near you and on the net in August.

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

Having been to a few health spas myself, I was really interested in trying another book by the incredible author behind ‘Big Little Lies.’ So I spotted this intriguing tale on a bookshelf and took it home, half expecting it to be a let down compared to such a successful book as BLL which had been turned into a major HBO TV series.

I could not have been further from the truth. Set in Australia, which is Liane’s native country, this story talks about nine people who all embark on a health farm retreat at the same time. One couple has suffered a loss, one failed writer looks for the opportunity to cleanse herself and another pair have a secret which has ruptured their relationship, leading them to hope that the spa may be their way of patching things together again.

Written in a close third person narrative structure, where the author writes each chapter with a focus on a particular character and discusses their actions and motivations, this book is nothing but compelling. It has lots of twists along the way and builds to it’s ending effortlessly. As with all of Moriarty’s stories, you find yourself totally invested in the incredible characters and the very modern plot.

I hope that I have started to interest you in the work of these two amazing authors. Joanne uses scents and flavours to add extra levels of depth to her storytelling and Liane draws characters who are modern, three dimensional and full of intrigue.

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