Nothing DNFed this month at all, another book from Japan and a stunning anthology of working class writers. Had a weeks holiday when I thought I would do nothing but read, amazingly enough I didn’t as food and sky/star watching got in the way.
Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell
A brilliant essay from Katherine Rundell whose Wolf Wilder got me back into reading children’s books
In it Katherine gives many reasons for the continuation of reading of books written for children even though we are older and ‘society’ tells us we should be reading other books more appropriate for our age.
Nuts to that I say as well, read what you enjoy and I enjoy children’s books as well as most other genres, especially those written by Katherine Rundell.
The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami
Another work of translated fiction from Japan, it does seem as though I read at least one a month at the moment, this one was translated by Allison Markin Powell.
Set in a thrift shop, we follow several characters through their relationships and these are sometimes stilted and misunderstood by the other characters.
This has the feel of Convenience Store Woman but with more threads and a more traditional ending, with the characters growing when separate from the others.
The Maker of Monsters by Lorraine Gregory
A fun, fast and thrilling adventure with necromancy.
This was a book I was gifted by OUP Chidden and had been on my pile for a while and once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down it was so fun to read.
Brat and his friends, human and monster, have to save the already devastated world from the sewn-together creatures brought back to life by necromancy.
Friendship and sacrifice are at the core of this book.
Green Valley by Louis Greenberg
In a world that has rejected surveillance technology from bank cards to CCTV there is an enclave of an Apple-like messiah who choose to live separate from the rest of the world in a technological paradise.
When dead children from this enclave start showing up in the outside world Lucie has to check that her niece is safe.
Well constructed dystopian exploration of developing technology without moral constraint but also what can happen without any.
An exciting read throughout.
Common People edited by Kit de Waal
I had been seeing this talked about positively for months and was so eager to get my hands on it that it didn’t hit the shop floor when it was released.
Not a quick or easy read as so much was reminiscent of my own existence.
The two pieces that struck a chord was Mark Radcliffe’s essay on the geography of home and even though decades have passed we still can walk the pathways, shortcuts and streets remembering what nefarious acts we got up to there, and Which Floor? by Loretta Ramkissoon, we only really knew people by their first name and floor.
Well worth a read for anyone who wants to get an idea of this lived experience that is so prevalent in the UK even in the 21st century.
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Another book that has been on my shelves for years that got picked up on a whim.
I know I should realise that Ishiguro should never be considered a whim as his writing is so deep and layered, this was no different.
The weaving of an intricate social and personal history of Masuji Ono slowly reveals the reconstruction of life in Japan after WWII and how modern and traditional society was at a crossroads.
Really enjoyed reading this especially as I’m reading a lot of literature about Japan at the moment.