Things That Made Me Happy in March
Yes, I know I complained they were a bit too long and that the children drove me crazy, but we did finally go skiing every day. Always better in retrospect than when you are living through it!
A very well-behaved, affectionate and quiet friend.
The first signs of Spring in my garden
More varied and fun reading this month, although, surprisingly, not as many translations.
3 non-fiction books:
Ben Hatch: Road to Rouen
A hilarious travel journal from hell, France in a car with two small children in tow: a great fun read, perhaps just a little unfair to the French, but also hugely revealing about the English abroad.
Rachel Cusk: Aftermath. On Marriage and Separation.
Brigid Schulte: Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time
Although this book does feel culturally specific (US working culture and time-poverty mindset is perhaps the most extreme example in the world), there was much here I could relate to: the confetti of minuscule leisure time slots, the mind pollution of endless to-do-lists that do not allow us to get into the flow, the ideal worker vs. the ideal mother, competitive parenting, gender division of labour. The author backs up her thesis with both research findings and personal anecdotes. This book deserves a review of its own, especially given that it is the ‘theme’ (if there is one) of my blog: not finding time to write.
2 foreign books:
Fuminori Nakamura: The Thief
Another book that deserves its own review. I found it moving, nuanced, slightly disturbing and surprisingly lyrical, given the subject matter.
Daniel Bardet: Le Boche (first 5 volumes of BD – graphic novel)
Fascinating insight into war-time France, from the perspective of an Alsatian man, hounded everywhere because he is neither German nor French enough.
1 poetry collection:
Michael Symmons Roberts: Drysalter
1 literary novel:
Claire King: The Night Rainbow – beautifully lyrical recreation of a French countryside childhood – with deep shadows.
6 crime fiction novels (all in English in the original – how very unusual!)
Cara Black: Murder in Pigalle
Sarah Caudwell: Thus Was Adonis Murdered
I was looking for a change of pace this month and I got it with this novel: charmingly old-fashioned, with most of the action taking place ‘off-stage’ and being disclosed to Hilary Tamar and his/her team of barristers via letters. It’s a nice set puzzle, and there is plenty of witty dialogue and banter to liven things up, but I can see how this book might be accused of elitism, it does feel like an extended Oxbridge joke.
Liam McIlvanney: Where the Dead Men Go
Sarah Hilary: Someone Else’s Skin
Harry Bingham: Talking to the Dead
I started this latest Mo Hayder on Saturday, not really expecting it to make it into this month’s reading. But I had to finish it overnight, it was so compelling (after a rather slow start, admittedly). A family being held hostage in their holiday home, a psychopathic killer who may or may not have been released from prison and Jack Caffery trying to figure out what a tiny message on a lost dog could possibly mean. Hayder’s trademark creepiness and nearly unbearable suspense, very chilling, completely mesmerising. Not for the faint of heart!