February Picks

Haig, Matt (2020) The Midnight Library. Canongate. Nora’s life is full of misery and regret.  She decides she wants to die. But between life and death there is a library – the Midnight Library. Nora finds herself in the Midnight Library where she is presented with numerous books to try out other lives – to see what her life would have been like if she had made other choices. Would she have done anything differently if she could undo her regrets?  She needs to work out her perfect life before time runs out. This is an intriguing little book about choices, regrets, hope and second chances. One of those books that needs a bit of time for reflection.

Rating: 8/10

Frankopan, Peter (2018) The New Silk Road: The Present and Future of the World. Bloomsbury. In this epilogue to his 2015 bestseller The Silk Roads Oxford historian Frankopan updates his geopolitical assessment, and reexamines the dynamic networks and relationships of a world increasingly moving East. This absorbing work, although again in need of revision, provides insights into the rise of China and the countries along the new Silk Road, the impact of the West’s obsession with Trump’s America, the Eurozone and Brexit, and the continual shifts in global influence and power. A sweeping reassessment of a changing world.

Rating: 8.5/10

Moss, Sarah (2020) Summerwater. Picador. Twelve people are cooped up with their families on a very wet day at a holiday park on the shores of a Scottish loch. Over the course of the day the lives of the holidaymakers are sympathetically observed, in a series of vignettes. All have frailties and are hiding something, some are morally compromised. The natural environment and persistent rain creates a sense of foreboding – something is about to happen! No one has a phone signal, and help is not nearby. An artful and dark tale. Disturbing.

Rating: 8.5/10

Cosimano, Elle (2020) Finlay Donovan is Killing It. Minotaur. Struggling novelist and stressed out single Mum, Finlay, is mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband.  This is when all the drama starts as she lurches from one criminal encounter to the next. A bit of fun with a sequel on the cards.

Rating: 7.5/10

Nezhukumatathil, Aimee (2020) World of Wonders: In praise of fireflies, whale sharks, and other astonishments. Milkweed Editions. Nezhukumatathil’s nature memoir is a series of praise songs, in prose, about kinship with amazing native flora and fauna.  Growing up in America the child of a Filipino mother and Malayali Indian father she faced racism and called many places home, however wherever she was transplanted she looked for guidance and clarity from a fascinating variety of wild species in the enviroment in which she encountered them.  Charming and enlightening.

Rating: 8.5/10


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