We're in ultimate reading season as far as I'm concerned. This is grab a book, curl up on the sofa and forget about everything else for a couple of hours season. This month, I'm sharing four books all of which are good options to add to your October reading list. First and foremost there is People Like Me which has just been released. I could write a whole post on this book alone. With each page turn I became more absorbed by the author's story. Just drop what you are doing and run out to buy this book right now!! Next is Transcription, another new release. Billed as a World War II espionage novel, it comes complete with double agents, invisible ink and all the ingredients that you expect of a spy novel. Force of Nature is a relatively new release from Jane Harper the author of The Dry and I was looking forward to seeing where she would go after her first novel. And in the category of "I can't believe I haven't read this book already" is How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, a hilarious and provocative look at women's lives.
Keep scrolling for my October Reading List
People Like Me by Lynn Ruane
Where to even start with this book? It's been described by Lousie O'Neill as being possibly "the most important book you read in 2018". I'd read interviews with Lynn Ruane and heard much about the book so I can safely say it was sufficiently hyped up that I had high expectations. It's the story of the author's life growing up in Tallaght. Her early teens, her life of petty crime, of drug use and of teenage pregnancy. It's a story of her relationship with her parents, her children, the people she meets going through homelessness and addiction and the people she meets when she returns to eduction, in activism and in politics. We use the work inspirational a lot on social media, to the extent that it has lost meaning. But in this instance, the word inspirational is totally required to describe Lynn Ruane. With each page turn and new chapter, I become more involved in the story and my book is covered with dog ears to mark the parts I keep returning to re-read. For me that's always the sign of a book that's making an impact. The chapter on Homelessness and Humanness should be obligatory reading for everyone in this country. Scratch that, the entire book should be obligatory reading. If you are going to read one book this month, make it People Like Me.
Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Transcription is billed as a spy novel and I love a good spy novel, even if this one is quite a cheerful take on war time espionage. Transcription is more yarn than anything else, complete with intriguing story line and captivating characters. The novel jumps between 1940 and 1951 with 1981 making two brief appearances In 1940, Juliet Armstrong is an orphaned 18-year-old and applies to join the Women's Armed Forces, but is instead recurited as a typist into M15. Her job is to listen in on and transcribe meetings between Nazi sympathiers living in London and Godfry Toby, who they believe to be a Gestapo agent but who in fact works for MI5. Not quite the stuff that exciting spy novels are made of. Until Juliet is recruited to become an active spy in an undercover operation. She is given a new name and tasked with becoming acquainted with a certain Nazi sympathiser. Juliet excels in this new spy role and the story is populated with double agents, disappearing ink and white-knuckle moments. Everything you would expect from a classic syp novel. Fast forward to 1950 and Juliet is working in the BBC believing her war time espionage is behind her. That is until characters from her spying days begin returning to her life. The most notable part of Transcription is that the women characters seem to have multiple personas and an ability to assume different identifies as circumstances (or men) dictate. A novel I would have no problem recommending. I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.
How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
How have I not read this book before now?! I laughed out load at some parts, nodded by head at others and felt quite annoyed at others. Annoyed not with the author but with how so much of being a woman is tied up in self-criticism and harshness over very trival things. This book isn't having a go at men or indeed at other women who are perceived less feminist in their thoughts and activism. Rather it's a highly entertaining read, hilarous while being insightful and challenging. It perfectly puts into words things that all women have wrestled with before but weren't quite sure how to articulate. A friend of mine said reading this book was liberating and I totally get that. I'm not sure I found it liberating but I did find it engaging, clever, hilarious and entertaining. This book was released in 2011 and 7 years later it's all pretty much still relevant. Sometimes the trivial stuff are the stuff we don't want to talk about or acknowledge becasue there is so much large scale crap going on in the world. It's refereshing to see them laid bare in all their glory in this book. If you have been frightfully remiss like I have and not read this book yet, do so immediately.
Force of Nature by Jane Harper
A corporate weekend retreat in the outback goes wrong when one group returns to camp minus one member. Force of Nature is the follow up to The Dry and sees police detective Aaron Falk investigate the dissappearance. The Dry is an international best seller and a book I would highly recommend so I had high expectations when it came to the follow up. First the storyline. The staff of a Melbourne accountancy firm, Bailey Tennants, undertake a weekend bonding retreat in the outback. Alice, an employee who also happens to be an informant of Falk's in a white collar investigation into Bailey Tennants goes missing. The other four members of Alice's group, CEO Jill Bailey, childhood friend Lauren and twins Breanna and Beth return to camp traumatised and without Alice. What follows is a search and rescue / police investigation into the dissapreance. At times the story line feels a little dragged out and I found myself skimming over some of the detail. Having said that I was never tempted to throw in the towel and it grew on me as I read on. The Australian outback setting added real value to the story line. I ended up enjoying it more as the story went on, but I never got lost in it, which is what I expect of a suspense novel. Still worth a read though.