Tuesday, 6 July 2010


I love being given recommendations for books, so I thought I'd do a post on some I've read recently in case they appeal to you:

The Twin by Gerbrand Bakker. Don’t let the cover picture – a couple of cows – put you off: I’m not sure why anyone would pick up a book with this cover (luckily it had a Dublin IMPAC Award Winner sticker on the front, which made it stand out). Subtle, strange and oddly addictive, this quirky read is a study in loneliness yet very, very funny. Loved it.

One Day by David Nicholls. A fun, easy read tracing a ‘Harry met Sally’-type relationship from its beginnings in the 1980s through the decades. But why’s the main character called Dexter? Despite the irritating bits and the moments where the characters don’t ring true, the book's packed with funny scenes (which are just waiting to be made into a film, like Nicholls’ previous novel, Starter for Ten) and plenty of tenderness, very well handled. Will particularly appeal to those who listened to Tracey Chapman in the 1980s and hung out in Soho in the 1990s.

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. I first read this years ago but it’s always worth revisiting and only takes an hour or two. Evocative, sun-lit and wonderfully French.

Invisible by Paul Auster. Reminded me of The Magus by John Fowles. Brilliantly structured and darkly compelling, it’s hard to put down. Thanks Laura for the tip.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – the story of a young girl’s passage from small town Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s. Beautifully detailed and restrained, and brilliantly evocative of place and period.

The Hidden by Tobias Hill. Ambitious and smart, this book grows darker with every page you turn. The characters remain remote and cold, and I found them hard to relate to or empathise with, but it's a good read, with hints of The Secret History and Lord of the Flies, and a nervy, fast-paced finale.

To Reach The Clouds by Philippe Petit, a personal account of his magnificent death-defying tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

A Gate at the Stairs by Lottie Moore

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