Monday, 30 May 2016

Reading This Month: May

What a great month for reading! I've been tearing through books this month!

The Death's Head Chess Club by John Donoghue
Set in Auschwitz and Amsterdam in 1962, this is the story of a survivor of Auschwitz brought face-to-face with one of his captors years later. Emil is a fantastic chess player, who was considered unbeatable by his fellow inmates - an idea the Nazis had to destroy. Made to play against the Gestapo, Emil will save the life of a fellow if he wins or die if he loses.

As you can imagine, this was not a fun read by any stretch of the imagination. The horror of Auschwitz, is not shied away from - particularly the attitudes of the Gestapo, which allowed them to commit atrocities day in, day out. But it's such a fantastic story. The idea of goodness is a recurrent theme - who is good and why? Can you be redeemed or forgiven after taking part in such crimes?

I would love to hear what you think of the story, if you've read it.

A Stitch in Time by Amanda James
Not the greatest story I've ever read, I have to admit. It's a love story about Sarah, who is recently divorced and has just discovered she's a Stitch - a person who has to go back in time to mend holes in the past. This can mean saving someone who needs to stay alive or preventing an incident from occurring. She is led through this adventure by Time Needle John, who guides Stitches to their destinies (John is, of course, gorgeous).

It's a fun idea and a fun read, but I do get frustrated with stories like this because the conflict always seems to arise from people just not communicating or from assuming the worst when another explanation could just as easily be correct. I just find it a bit maddening that a chat would have completely removed the conflict in the story and would have made it half as long. 

A Life in Stitches by Rachael Herron
I haven't read any of Rachael Herron's fiction, but after reading this book I definitely want to. A Life in Stitches is a collection of essays about how knitting has helped Racheal through different periods in her life - love, grief, friendship...

As a knitter, I loved this book because it made so much sense to me. A hobby like knitting embeds itself in your life so that your memories become entangled in your stitches. The greatest act of love is a handknit jumper and sometimes garter stitch is the best place to catch your tears. Thoroughly recommend.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
As you probably already know, I'm a big fan of JK Rowling. I am not a habitual reader of crime or thriller type books, but last year, out of curiosity, I downloaded The Cuckoo's Calling to read on holiday. To my surprise I really enjoyed it, so when I was looking for book recommendations recently, I didn't need much persuading to download the next two in the Cormoran Strike series.

While I don't read a lot of crime, I certainly enjoy watching it - adaptations of Agatha Christie are guilty pleasures of mine and don't get me started on my love of Murder, She Wrote... What I like best about this series is Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. As individuals, they're brilliant characters, they have great chemistry and I'm also really interested in the relationship between Robin and her fiance Matt, who doesn't like her job.

The crime, for me, comes second to this. But I did love the whodunnit element in this book. To the point where I got off my bus to work, with 45mins remaining in the book, and couldn't stop thinking about it all day. It is grotesque and fairly disgusting, but it's so interesting and pacey that I just couldn't put it down.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
I dived straight into the next book and once again, the relationships with the lead characters are what intrigues me most as while each book has a different case, the relationships are what tie the stories together.

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