I've been reading a little the past two months, but nothing on my usual standards. Despite my best efforts, time has really been against me. Maybe it's the pressure of all the Christmas shopping I am yet to do, or my travelling abroad, I haven't been devouring as many books as usual.
But this Winter, here's what I've been reading, and what I thought of them...
The Girl in the Red Coat - Kate Hamer
This book is gripping. It starts out as a mystery as a woman's young daughter goes missing. But as the book goes on you realise that it's interwoven with spirituality, religion and an unexplained healing power. If you love crime novels, this is a real twist on the traditional whodunnit story. However, the last few chapters feel rushed, as if Hamer was fulfilling a word count rather than concluding her novel with the same pace and attention she had been writing with throughout.
Escape to Wonderland
Okay, okay so I didn't actually read this one. It's a colouring in book based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. But it's so pretty and has been taking up most of my time the past few weeks and deserved a place on my list.
Just Kids - Patti Smith
I don't know how to put into words the effect this book has had on me. Since I finished it not a day goes by that I don't think about it; the people, the places, the art. Legendary singer Patti Smith, also known as the godmother of punk, tells the story of how she left her home and moved to New York in the middle of the 1960s to pursue her dreams. After sleeping on the streets for a few weeks she meets Robert Mapplethorpe. The tagline rings true; "It starts as a love story and ends as a eulogy". And by the time you get to the end of the memoir, you'll be just as consumed by the passion these young people had for each other and for their art.
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter - Kate Clifford Larson
The most famous Kennedy family, producing JFK, Bobby and Teddy, had a few skeletons in their closet. Skeletons they tried to keep locked in there until they made their name, gained the presidency and their parents had passed away. One such skeleton was their intellectually disabled sister Rosemary. Born after having been deprived of oxygen for 3 hours, Rosemary was much slower to develop than her elder two brothers. By the time she has reached her early 20's, her parents had her undergo a lobotomy in the hope of a cure. It left her physically disabled and unable to speak. Larson does an incredible job at piecing together Rosemary's life story through letters and correspondence; despite the fact that most of it destroyed by the matriarch Rose Kennedy before she died to ensure some secrets stayed that way. You can't help feeling angry when reading this book, but perhaps even more angry that Rosemary was not once a off. How many other people with intellectual disabilities were treated this way?
World Gone By - Dennis Lehane
From the author of Shutter Island I expected something dark and twisted and gripping. Not a weak Caspar-like ghost haunting a mob man, which is what I got. The book was slow paced with dozens of characters all dumped on you from the get-go. Such a book would have been seriously popular three or four years ago when Boardwalk Empire was the best show on TV. Now, they feel old and outdated, and basing a book on an ageing mobster is like trying to cash in on a big craze just when the world has already moved on to the next one.
Share with me in the comments below what you have been reading lately! Any book recommendations for me for the next few months?