A Single Thread, Tracy Chevalier
This one took me a little while to get into but once I did, I enjoyed it. Some of the plot points seemed a little contrived but I used to ring bells as a teenager, so those parts of it brought the whole thing alive. It was also lovely to read a book with some explicitly queer characters. I thought most of the characters were quite forgettable and underdeveloped though.
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
This was an incredible read – it’s very far out of my own experience but I found it gripping and very well written. For such an emotive topic it managed to stay well clear of being a ‘misery memoir’ – although it was definitely hard hitting (as you would expect from a book mostly about black experiences on Death Row!)
Saltwater, Jessica Andrews
This was beautifully written but very fragmented – that was a deliberate choice by author and probably one I’d love under different circumstances but I was too tired while reading it to fully appreciate it and follow the story, so I found it quite hard going. I think that’s more me than the book really, and I should have chosen something more straightforward to read!
Earthlings, Sayaka Murata
This was by turns utterly brilliant and utterly bizarre. It should be accompanied by a huge warning for abuse, assault and violence but with that in mind, I mostly would really recommend this. It’s very well written, and you can tell reading it that it’s following the main character at different stages in her life – her voice changes depending on how old she is. The ending feels very ambiguous to me – I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving things away!
Jack, Marilynne Robinson
The tenth book of the year and so my final one for this post! I actually had to stop reading this about halfway through. While it is very highly rated and very well written, I just can’t engage with it or the characters. I don’t like not finishing books but I don’t really feel any motivation to keep pressing on with it. I might return to it in the future – I’m probably just too tired at the moment to enjoy it and so I might like it more on a second attempt.