Happy Monday y'all. Here we are again at book recommendation time and I've got a really good mix of books for you this month, including three new releases, a very compelling German novel that has been translated to English and a non-fiction book that I wholeheartedly recommend everyone should read. I feel like I start every book recommendation post talking about how we're having the perfect reading weather and honestly, I'm not super thrilled to be starting today's post in the same way. I cannot believe there is the possibility of more snow for this weekend. Of course the flipside of this weather is that everyone I speak to seems to be flying through the books. Don't you find that Winter and Summer are when you read most; during the former, reading is a curl up on the sofa in front of the fire activity. During the latter, it's a nab an hour or two in the garden when the sun is shinning type of thing.
Keep scrolling for my March book recommendations and as usual, I would love to hear what you guys are reading and if you've read these books, please let me know what you thought xx
Almost Love, by Louise O'Neill
This novel is about an obsessive relationship between the main character, a twenty-something woman, Sarah and an older forty-something man Matthew. The novel explores the sacrifices that Sarah makes for what is a very dysfunctional relationship. Sarah is very difficult to like in the novel. She becomes all-consumed with her relationship with Matthew to the detriment of her work, her friendships and her relationship with her family. So much so that even after her relationship with Matthew ends, it continues to impact her future relationship with Oisin. One thing I never quite saw was the appeal of Matthew. He wasn't charasmatic, held no intrigue and it seemed that it was simply his money and perceived power was what Sarah fell for. I wonder if this was deliberate as his lack of charisma makes it all the more mind boggling as to why someone like Sarah would become all consumed with having a relationship with him, and accept how he treated her. We're left with a feeling that the relationship took hold more due to Sarah's inability to deal with her painful past rather than due to Matthew being someone she actually truly loved. I'm pretty sure most women can relate to Sarah on some level and I think Almost Love would be a great choice for a book club. It's easy to read, relatively short and is sure to prompt some lively discussions.
Kill the Angel, by Sandrone Dazieri
This is the second book in Dazieri's series featuring investigators Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre. The first, Kill the Father was an international best seller and I was a big fan. I included it in my January Book Recommendations if you want to read more about it. The novel opens with the discovery of a carriage full of dead bodies on a train arriving in Rome's main train station. The police receive a claim of responsibility from an ISIS connected group and a threat of more attacks. Caselli and Torre take it on themselves to investigate. The story follows the duo as they investigate and discover that the ISIS claim of responsibility might not be all it seems. This is a fast paced novel and like Kill the Father, I flew through it. I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Kill the Father. If you like thrillers I would recommend it and I'm excited to see where Dazieri brings this story in the next novel. If you are not a fan of thrillers, well then I doubt this will change your mind.
The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
I bought this book based solely on a review that promised it would appeal to fans of Big Little Lies. I adored Big Little Lies. The Family Next Door is set in fictional Pleasant Court in a Melbourne suburb, a picture perfect neighbourhood where everyone knows their neighbours, at least on the surface. Ange, Fran and Essie all live on the street with their husbands and children. Isabelle, a single and childless women moves to the Pleasant Court from Sydney and immediately her new neighbours are curious to find out more about her. As the book develops, we learn that the couples' relationships are not without their problems and as they strive to get to know Isablle better, they deal with their own relationship issues. I didn't love this book and I'm including it here with a little hesitancy. I read it in two sittings as it's very easy to read and it held my attention. Having said that, it's not a book that will stay with me or that I found enlightening. That may sound harsh and I really don't mean it to. It's a book I'd recommend if you want something really easy to read. Perfect for a reading while sitting on a sun lounger.... or indeed curling up with in front of the fire if you live in Ireland.
The Silver Music Box by Mina Baites
I adored this book. It's a cross-generational novel about a Jewish family separated by World War II. Johann Blumenthal is a German Jewish jeweller who makes a beautiful silver music box for his son just before leaving to fight for Germany in World War I. Johann dies at the front and the story follows his son Paul as he becomes a young man, marries and has his own family in Germany in the 1930s. The book charts his struggles as the Jewish community is persecuted in Nazi Germany. The novel skips forward to 1963 and to London. We meet Lilian, who inherits a music box after the death of her English parents. Lilian also learns that she was adopted when she was smuggled from Germany by the KinderTransport. Lilian uses the music box, the only link to her past to trace her family. This is a short book to read and one that I speed through. I loved everything about it and highly recommend it. It's compelling, it's informative and a pleasure to read
Into the Magic Shop by James Doty
A friend of mine gave me this book and I've already passed it on to my sister. The author grew up in California with an alcoholic father and a depressed mother. He went on to become a leading neurosurgeon, working at Stanford University. This book is part autobiography / part memoir. But it's also about self-help and the science behind mindfulness. At the age of 12, the author came upon a magic shop where he met a lady named Ruth. Thinking he was being taught conventional magic tricks, Ruth spent a summer teaching him exercises to ease his own suffering and manifest his desires. Ruth thought him the connection between the brain and the heart. The book explores how the author used what Ruth thought him as he became a doctor, a dot.com millionaire before losing his fortune when the dot.com bubble burst. Into the Magic Shop is inspirational, motivational and full of positivity. A MUST READ.