What I've Been Reading Recently

Kindle and Smarties

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth*
Anna and Luke both have very early onset Alzheimer's but that hasn't stopped them from falling in love. Eve, the cook in their residential facility, is a newly single parent trying put a scandal behind her. What could have been a schmaltzy tearjerker turned out to be empathetic, witty and engrossing - I very much enjoyed this one.

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro
I put this on my wishlist a couple of years ago after I read a glowing review on another blog (possibly Sometimes Sweet?). It was... okay. I expect if I was still a young, aspiring novelist I would have lapped it up; I'm not, so I found all the "writers are so special and delicate" stuff slightly irritating. But I did really like the autobiographical snippets - the opening up about tough moments and deep fears and unresolved frictions.

A Wilder Life by Celestine Maddy*
This book looks beautiful: gorgeous photos; seasonal suggestions; appealing recipes and that general Kinfolk-y vibe that so many of us bloggers love. It's just... well... it wasn't really relevant to me. Even with my stay-at-home, intend-to-potter-in-the-garden lifestyle, it was too aspirational for me; every season includes a reminder to look after your hens (Your hens! As though we all have them!) and too many of the recipes and crafts involved a lot of faffing around and much acquiring of tools. I can't imagine many people having the time or the resources to complete more than a couple of projects.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell
A few years ago, Steve and I visited a friend in Copenhagen and, ever since then, a part of me has wanted to move to Denmark. Helen Russell and her husband did just that. This is her story of discovering why Denmark routinely ranks as the happiest country in the world, just how good a Danish-made Danish can be but, also, that even this apparent utopia has its imperfections. It was helpful to hear that Denmark isn't a complete utopia... but I still want to move there. I loved Helen's very self-deprecating Brit abroad writing style and have high hopes that a second book will follow.

*Provided by publisher or agent for review

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