Thursday, 3 March 2016
Year in books: March 2016
Time for an update on my progress with reading at least one book per month during 2016 as part of The Year in Books, organised by Laura at Circle of Pines. I'm really enjoying the challenge so far and it's surprising how quickly I've got back into the reading habit.
In February, I chose The trouble with goats and sheep by Joanna Cannon which had been suggested as the monthly read. Usually participants read different books but this was a one-off and there'll be a Twitter discussion on Monday 14 March, including the author. I don't do Twitter so am just posting my review here.
The book is set in the long, hot summer of 1976 in the suburban Avenue. Mrs Creasy has gone missing and the residents are buzzing with rumours and accusations. Most of the story centres around two 10 year-old girls, Grace and Tilly, who decide to investigate.
The blurb on the cover calls it 'gripping' which suggests a fast-paced thriller, but that impression couldn't be more wrong. Instead, I'd call it a gentle character piece in which revelations and secrets gradually emerge. It works best when told from the points of view of the two children as they try to understand the weird behaviour and prejudices of adults. 'How does God know which people are goats and which people are sheep?' asks Tilly. 'I think that's the trouble' said Grace, 'it's not always that easy to tell the difference'.
I really enjoyed it and found it an easy read, though I suspect many people might find it a bit slow. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to have some vague memories of that summer, particularly the water shortage which meant we had a standpipe in the street outside our house. There were also some amusing episodes like the Drainpipe Jesus. Not enough for me to rate it more than a 3 out of 5 though.
For March, I'm being more ambitious and attempting to read more than one book
The first is Island: Diary of a Year on Easdale which I picked up in a charity shop, attracted by the beautiful illustrations. As it's a diary, I'm going to read along with it through the year and have already read up to the end of February.
My second choice is Love in the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald which was part of the giveaway I won from Kezzie. It's actually two short stories and is only 58 pages long so I'm pretty sure I'll finish this! In fact, I read one of the stories on the train on Tuesday.
My final pick for March is Delirium by Lauren Oliver which is actually one of my daughter's books. She thought it was so-so: it'll be interesting if I think the same.