What I've Been Reading Recently

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong*
Ruth is thirty, her fiance has just left her and she's moving home to help care for her father, who has dementia. This is written in a very light, readable diary-style and the characters were fully formed enough to feel familiar. At times, it was funny; at times, it was touching; at times, it made me cringe a little (because what diary wouldn't make a reader cringe now and then?). Sometimes it felt utterly insubstantial but, underneath Ruth's throwaway observations, there was a hefty subject matter being danced around just enough that it couldn't be missed. Certainly worth a read.

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran
A collection of Moran's columns with a few TV articles bunged in, too. As with the previous collection, Moranthology, there were pieces in here which made me roll my eyes and go, "Yeah, yeah, you've met celebs. Whatevs." and there were pieces which made me (metaphorically) punch the air or feel newly enraged with our country or want to take to my laptop and batter out an article of my own. For me, the latter outweighed the former by a long way.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
Ugh, I hated this SO MUCH. I only finished it because it was for my book group and everybody dislikes That Person Who Doesn't Actually Read The Book. Perhaps it wouldn't have irritated me so much if I hadn't read the author's smug introduction about how important this book is and how deserving of its fame, but I can't imagine having read it and not thought it was televangelist-style victim blaming nonsense. If you don't get the thing you want most in life (a baby; a cure; a father who loves you; whatever) it is NOT because you didn't listen to the omens in a bird song.

Out of Time by Miranda Sawyer
Music journalist, Miranda Sawyer, writes about her hedonistic youth, her looming future, parenting small children and her slow, creeping midlife crisis. In amongst all that, she talks to various experts about why people struggle with middle age and whether there's anything that can be done to ease us all through this time. It's a sometimes rambling book but, oh, it struck a lot of chords. I loved it.

100 Essays I Don't Have Time To Write by Sarah Ruhl
The cover of this book promises 100 tiny pieces about "umbrellas and sword fights, parades and dogs, fire alarms, children and theater". Which sounded right up my street. I didn't realise it was going to be "umbrellas and their role in theatre productions and sword fights and their role in theatre productions, parades and their role in theatre productions and dogs and their role in theatre productions, fire alarms and their role in theatre productions, children and their role in theatre productions and theater". My interest in the theatre really isn't great enough to see me through 100 essays on the subject. There was a lot of flicking forward to find references to the author's kids' entertaining behaviour.

The Lake House by Kate Morton
I loved this. I fully expected to love this because I've loved all of Kate Morton's other books. And I did. It's a big book but I raced through it in a couple of evenings. It's a fantastic mystery - I was never more than twenty pages ahead of the lead character when it came to figuring things out and I really, really, really wanted to get to the bottom of what had happened. Read this one.

What I Do: More True Tales of Everyday Craziness by Jon Ronson
A collection of columns and articles by Jon Ronson, most of which are stories of his general tactless incompetence and some of which are fascinating pieces of journalism. Hit and miss.

*Provided for review

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