The last couple of months have seen me whittle down my Booker Novels list even further and resort to reading lowbrow kiddie books when I’ve run out of novels. My office bookshelf has been firmly raided (we’re on a Penguin Kids and chick-lit mailing list) and I’ve been working my way through a variety of novels featuring boarding school, magic and vampires- and often all three. Who said children books were predictable? Read the short summaries here!
We need to talk about Kevin, Lionel Shriver
Dark, depressing and delicious, a book that you can’t help but adore despite yourself.
How the Light gets in by M.J Hyland
Gifted but troubled Australian sixteen year old heads to the USA on an exchange programme. Her disaffection and alienation slowly blight her relationship with her host family, and we get so see the prejudices of both nations exposed under a harsh light, with a side helping of alcoholism.
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
One man contemplates a lost love whilst a daughter delves into her mothers past by unearthing diaries. Darkly beautiful and sentimental without being soppy.
Midnights Children, Salman Rushdie
A book that evokes the sights and smells of India, and mixes a little magic in just for kicks. Beautifully written and will leave you mulling on the action long after the last page.
Renegades Magic by Robin Hobb
Frustrating book where pages of prose are filled with description rather than action and you end up wishing Nevarre would just kill himself to put us out of our misery.
A Short History of tractors in the Ukraine by Marina Lewycka
What does one do when ones father has a three quarter life crisis and shacks up with a good for nothing foreign woman? Is this enough incentive to build bridges with a sister that hates you, and persuade your dotty Dad that marrying the trollop and paying for her children to move in is a bad idea? A riveting laugh out loud read.
Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka
Sharp, funny and inisghful whilst also being a introspective look into UK migrant society.
Vampyre kids book – can’t remeber exact name/author
Vamps do seem to be fashionable lately (blame Twilight as Anne Rice’s time has passed) and this is entertaining yarn of kids turns vamp, enters ‘night school’. There’s the normal teenage girl troubles mixed in with a dash of blood and dilemmas about neck-sucking ex boyfriends throats.
What my best friend did by Lucy Dawson
Another book that disguises itself as chick lit yet ends up being slightly darker and deeper than the cover implies. Enter the sadistic world of women’s friendship with a dash of class issues, unrequited love and schizophrenia thrown in just for fun.
Intimate Adventures of an office Girl, by Sienna Lewis
Slutsville 101, no redeeming features and reads like a pull out from Mayfair. Not a fan at all.
The Shoe Princesses guide to life, Emma Bowd
New mum makes good by blogging about shoes and utilizing eBay. Frothy tale of turgid matrimonial world, where issue such as choosing between the ‘ intelligent Italian shoe designer with a passion for teaching his craft’ and her dependable, loyal and slightly boring husband’ seem real debatable issues.
Class by Jane Beaton
Think of this as Mallory Towers for a new generation of kids, so there’s less yodelling and ‘great japes’, instead we have bitchy backstabbing, weary teachers and pranks that involve GHD’s. Entertaining as a frothy Frappucino.
The Game of Triumphs by Laura Powell
Tarot card chaos as disaffected youths enter the game, which is far more complicated than your usual Major Arcana. Don’t expect this to make a huge amount of sense and then you won’t be disappointed. Well, you might be…
Who Moved my Blackberry, Martin Lukes and Lucy Kellaway
A slightly depressing table of a self absorbed marketing exec who doesn’t get the fact that his unpleasant personality and philandering ways are why he’s treated so unfairly.
In a In a Free State, V.S Naipual
3 stories of people struggling with their changing identities set against an Indian backdrop.
Confessions of Teenage Hackers by Dan Verton
Not as fun as it sounds, this is a real life insight into what gets kids into Java full time, and makes the world of hacking seem very easy and approachable
Unforgettable by Cecily von Ziegesar
Frothy book created by Gossip Girl author about trials and tribulations in boarding school. Expect paragraphs dotted with couture references and sharp tongued asides, yet coast along for the ride as it’s fast paced and rather fabulous.
2nd Chance and 1st to Die by James Patterson
A female detective teams up with reporter and forensic girly to discuss corpses and cocktails. Actually quite gritty though! Compelling cop drama that includes romantic twists and terms as well as serial killers.
The Seven Year itch, by Kate Morris
Potentially provincial chick lit, turns a little darker, with an agonizing decision about living in a loveless marriage or opting to go it alone. Thought provoking, and very, very funny.
Graceling by Kristin Cashmore
Some people are born athletes others are graced with supernatural abilities that are reflected in uneven eyes. These people are called Gracelings an dare either feared or exiled- but what happens when one goes bad?
More book summaries coming soon!