Once again, I found myself without much to review because I’m still doing terribly at reading. In order to get this post up, I listened to 3 audiobooks on Monday. They were all short and free with my Audible subscription. I guess my lack of organisation is helping me experience books that I’d never have picked up normally. If only I could get through the books on my TBR as easily.
Black Dogs by Ian McEwan
There was a time when Ian McEwan was one of my favourite authors. I read Enduring Love and Atonement in my teens and was obsessed. Over the years, I lost touch with his books. This short one was perfect for a quick read. The book sees Jeremy exploring his in-laws broken marriage. They grew apart after their honeymoon in France in the 1940s. What exactly happened to push them apart?
Is it my new favourite McEwan? No. It’s not as though it doesn’t bring up a lot of interesting themes and ideas. It’s a philosophical and deep exploration of political ideologies in post-War Europe. Too deep, perhaps, for listening to at work. I feel as though I must have missed something.
This should definitely have been the kind of book that I enjoyed. It’s simple and intelligent. It’s set after WW1, which is a time that I find interesting. Then there’s the beautiful language. It’s classic McEwan. The problem is that I just didn’t feel it. I don’t know if it was the framing narrative or the characters. Something just felt off for me. I might try again later though.
Black Vodka by Deborah Levy
Short stories aren’t always my thing at the best of time because I prefer longer form literature. So, the idea of a short story collection that was this short didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. I had to try this though because it’s Deborah Levy talking about love. I was all in.
As with all collections, there are some hits and misses. The opening story was a major high and I loved it. Then it was a bit of a rollercoaster. However, I didn’t really hate the really short stories. Turns out short stories aren’t for me but micro stories are great. If you like closure then these won’t be that good for you. Me? I prefer an open-ending a lot of the time.
The writing here is absolutely beautiful and some of these characters are fabulous. These 10 stories are bitesize pieces of literary joy even if some of them aren’t quite as memorable as the others. If nothing else, this a great collection to get through in a few hours.
Camp Cacophony by Jessica Khoury
This popped up on my Audible feed and I was excited. Magic, music and flutes. My kind of book. It’s the prequel to a series called The Mystwick School of Musiccraft. i decided to try it to see if it was worth carrying on with the others.I’m not sure if this was written before the rest of the series or afterwards. Either way, it was a lot of fun.
Amelia Jones wants to be a musician. In this universe, musicians are magic. Amelia is trying to prepare for an audition for a major magic school but her grandmother doesn’t want her to go. So, Amelia has to promise to go to a sports camp. Magic is banned at sports camp but that doesn’t stop equipment coming to life and attacking the kids. Can Amelia stop the spell?
This is such a sweet little book and it got me really excited for the rest of the series. There’s not a lot of time for much world building but you get the idea. You get to know the characters and learn more about the rules. I’m definitely going to carry on with the series.
Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi
My final book of Monday and it was this little beauty. I know that there was plenty of controversy about this book when it came out because of how autobiographical it might have been. Ignoring all of that, it sounded like my kind of thing. The intimate portrait of a man about to leave his wife. You witness an unflinching portrait of a man who feels trapped in his marriage and wants out.
This isn’t a book for the faint of heart. The unnamed narrator is a terrible guy. He’s cheating on his wife and doesn’t pull any punches. Getting into the man’s head is tough and harsh. The fact that it is potentially based on his real life just makes it more difficult to digest. Still, bad characters don’t make bad books.
Despite all of the ugly truths you’ll face here, the writing is absolutely beautiful. There were so many fantastic quotes that I took away with me. It’s one that I’d love to read again. Next time the physical version so I can pay more attention to the quotes.