In May I read seven books, all of them fiction:
A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker (Doubleday) – My first read of May was a fictionalised retelling of the life of Irish writer Samuel Baker. With events focusing around the Second World War it is the story of how Samuel adapted to life in a dangerous time evading the Gestapo and joining the resistance. It also deals with the relationships he had most notably that of his lover Suzanne and how it was affected by the unfolding conflicts. An insightful read about life, love and art in a difficult time.
The Vinyl Detective: Written In Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel (Titan Books) – The first in the ‘Vinyl Detective’ series is a fun crime novel filled with music and mystery – and the odd murder. The unnamed protagonist is an expert in all things vinyl and claims to be able to find any record for anyone. One day a mysterious woman pays him a visit in the hope he will track down a rare vinyl for her even more mysterious client. So begins a journey round the record stores, markets and beyond in a quest to find a record that holds a story and history of its own. An enjoyable, original read.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel (Penguin Michael Joseph) – The first in the ‘Themis Files’ series, Sleeping Giants is an excellent science fiction novel told in an epistolary format. It contains files consisting of interview transcripts, journals and other documents which help piece together the story of one remarkable discovery. It begins with a little girl riding her bike who finds herself falling into a hole in the ground – a hole that happens to contain a giant hand glowing with turquoise light that predates civilisation. The girl, Rose Franklyn, grows up to be a scientist devoted to getting to the bottom of the discovery – how did it get there, and why? A fascinating story that has left me excited to find out what happens in the next installment.
The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent (Pan Books) – A charming story about the power of reading. It follows the life of Guylain Vignolles, a man who despises his job at a book pulping factory. The only thing he can take comfort from in his work is to save pages of books from the jaws of the machine, reading them aloud on the 6.27 train each morning. Then, the discovery of a lost USB leads Guylain to go on another journey, this time in search of a woman who feels as disillusioned with the world as he does.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx (Fourth Estate) – A sprawling epic of a novel focused on the taking down of the world’s forests. With events spanning over three hundred years we follow the lives of two men’s lineages and generations of their family, friends and enemies. Rich in cultural and historical detail it charts the challenges faced by the families over time and the effect they themselves had on their environment in search of fortune. A long but rewarding read that provides great insight into the history of the forests and those who reside there.
The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell (Legend Press) – The harrowing story of one girl and her family and the violence that consumes them. Amanda Duffy and her family are subjected to unimaginable suffering which leaves physical and emotional scars. Switching from the past to present we see the consequences of the abuse and the events that led to Amanda’s current state. At times an uncomfortable read this is a gripping story about living in the shadow of abuse and fear.
The Silent Children by Amna K. Boheim (Matador Books) – A chilling tale of one family and their long hidden secrets. Its protagonist, Max, receives a letter from his dying mother with a request for help. She wants him to track down the boy she is pictured with in a photograph – she remembers him, and he knows her story. Alternating between the past and the present we gradually uncover the family secrets alongside Max who recruits the help of his mother’s old friends. But it is not only the past that haunts Max, there are supernatural occurrences afoot. A chilling, atmospheric novel with secrets to discover.
You can read full reviews of all of my May reads by clicking the links above and they can also be found in my May archive. Also on the blog in May I wrote about my A to Z of books and shared my unboxing of May’s Illumicrate subscription box.
I would like to thank everyone who has read and shared my blog posts this month. I really appreciate the support and hope that you enjoy the blog – thanks for reading!