The Spring Reading List
Now that summer is finally starting to rear it’s head and we are starting to properly bid farewell to spring, it is time to recap on a few month’s worth of reading. 2019 has been the year where I have really taken my Goodreads challenge seriously and have begun to work my way through all of the unread books I have accumulated, as well as getting a head-start on my ‘to-read’ list. From reading lots of books I also have a lot of thoughts and opinions that I have been dying to share, so hopefully this will be an ongoing segment on the blog. Here are some of the more notable books that I have read this year so far, hopefully you will find your next great read below!
The Shape of the Ruins - Juan Gabriel Vasquez ****
This wonderful translation, shortlisted for 2019’s Man Booker International Prize, is based on two assassinations that shaped Colombian history and the conspiracy theories that have surrounded them. It’s a deep and interesting look into how conspiracies are formed and developed, flawlessly blending fact and fiction together to create a novel that is impossible to put down.
I love the International Prize in general as it opens up so many new cultures and ideas that I have never read before in many of my books, this novel was especially refreshing and has left me eager to learn more about Colombian history.
The Water Cure - Sophie Mackintosh ***
This book centres around three sisters who live within a cult-like territory set out by their parents, they are brought up to believe that the outside world is something that should be feared and that men are evil. The ‘action’ starts when their father goes missing and three men wash up on the family’s shores.
I have very mixed feelings about this book, I did enjoy reading it and gave it four stars on Goodreads, but looking back I feel that it was a highly forgettable book. I feel that it is a very simple and obvious sequence of events. It’s a good page turner that I imagine would be a great poolside read on holiday, but definitely isn’t one that I would rush to read again.
Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders *****
This is one of the few books that I have read this year that I have given a 5/5 review for, simply because it is one of the best books that I have ever read. It’s based on a small piece of American history, the death of President Lincoln’s son, and the events that unfold in the cemetery shortly after the death.
This book is not written in an ordinary way, reading more like a play with different characters which some people will love and some people will hate, but I think it makes the book very quick and easy to read. I would recommend reading this in one or two sittings as it is very fast paced and is only split up into chapters, if you read this over a longer period of time I fear you would lose the essence of what makes this such a magical book. It is a heartwarming novel that looks at the relationship between father and son as well as the balance between life and death. A lot of people will not get on with this book because it is so different to anything else, but if you give it a chance it is so worth it.
Washington Black - Esi Edugyan *****
Washington Black is a young slave boy who is selected to be a manservant for his master’s eccentric brother, the adventures that ensue form the basis of the novel’s plot. The book is a mix of historical fiction and a classic tale of adventure, that gives you an insight into the life of a slave while also being exciting and fun to read.
The first part of this book is just great, the plot seems to thin out a little bit as the book progresses but it didn’t really take too much away for me. I love how you really get to know the protagonist and how you clearly see how his early life impacts him throughout the story. I loved it and would definitely read it again, it’s a very easy book to recommend to a large variety of people as it is just so enjoyable to read.
Frankenstein in Baghdad - Ahmed Saadawi ****
This novel is a re-telling of Frankenstein based in Baghdad after the US invasion, it centres around a man who collects body parts and puts them together to make a corpse in the hopes that the government will recognise it as a person and give it a proper burial, but then things start to go wrong when the corpse goes missing.
Aside from the main plot, this novel does a really good job at depicting the terror and destruction experienced by the residents of Baghdad which helps you forge a very strong connection with the book and it’s characters. It’s a deep book that makes you think about the main themes of war, creation, and criminality. It’s an extremely interesting book and one that I would highly recommend.