Second Chance Books, Titles You Just Couldn’t Finish

It’s time to share the shame!

I am sure we have all experienced that awkward moment when a person asks, “Have you read…?” and you are forced to admit, “Actually, I tried but just couldn’t make it to the end. The book actually didn’t interest me”.

When I first started reading, there was no way I would stop reading a book even if I hated it. For months, I would struggle through reading a chapter a night, if I could manage it. Now, I don’t waste my precious reading time on books I either don’t like, or am not in the mood to read. There are too many great books out there waiting to be read, to waste my time on something I am not enjoying.

However, there are a few books I have abandoned and picked up again months or years later and enjoyed reading. ‘Jane Eyre’ was one of those books. Now I have read it I don’t understand why I didn’t enjoy it the first couple of times I tired. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it; I suppose I will never know. Now however, it continues to be one of my all-time favourites.

I won’t go on to share the long list of books on my ‘couldn’t finish list’, I will save those for June’s Online Book Club reading recommendations when we tackle, ‘Second Chance Books’. Keep an eye out for a post in June with a complete list of titles.

If you love reading and enjoy sharing what you are reading with other like-minded people, then follow Parra Reads on Goodreads or add us as friend.

Happy Reading,

Jody

March Reads & April’s Thriller Picks

After I finished writing the blog post for the February wrap-up, and told you all what I was planning on reading, I literally changed my mind as soon as I clicked post. I blame Kate, one of my reading colleagues here at the library, for filling my head with even more reading suggestions.

The books I read this month were….

A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville (Historical Fiction)

This was such a beautifully written book. Although a fictional take on what Elizabeth Macarthur might have thought and said, I found myself believing whole-heartedly that Elizabeth’s voice was real!

What if Elizabeth Macarthur – wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in the earliest days of Sydney – had written a shockingly frank secret memoir? And what if novelist Kate Grenville had miraculously found and published it? That’s the starting point for A Room Made of Leaves, a playful dance of possibilities between the real and the invented. Marriage to a ruthless bully, the impulses of her heart, the search for power in a society that gave women none – this Elizabeth Macarthur manages her complicated life with spirit and passion, cunning and sly wit. Her memoir lets us hear – at last! – what one of those seemingly demure women from history might really have thought. At the centre of A Room Made of Leaves is one of the most toxic issues of our own age – the seductive appeal of false stories. This book may be set in the past, but it’s just as much about the present, where secrets and lies have the dangerous power to shape reality.

Normal People by Sally Rooney (Book to Screen)

I am really struggling to write my review for ‘Normal People’, even after discussing the book with my colleague Sarah. Therefore, I will keep it short and to the point. I loved the writing! Just was not interested in the storyline. I am going to watch the screen adaptation and see if this changes my opinion.

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life-changing begins.

One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon (Chicklit)

Once again, Paige Toon managed to keep me glued to the pages until I had finished the whole book. How can one writer manage to write one amazing book, after another? Magic if you ask me! If you enjoy Chick Lit and haven’t read any of Paige Toon’s books give them a try. You will not be disappointed.

Alice is 18 and about to start university while Joe’s life is seemingly going nowhere. A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and the two of them fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered, suddenly, unexpectedly. Alice heads off to Cambridge and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. Joe is gone; she cannot find him. When she catches the attention of Lukas – gorgeous, gifted, rich boy Lukas – she is carried along by his charm, swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together. Then Joe is there, once more, but out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?

The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman by Julietta Henderson (General Fiction)

I have not finished this one yet, but I am more than half way through and enjoying it. I like the characters and want to know how their story ends.

What do you get when you cross a painfully awkward son, lofty comedic ambition and a dead best friend? Norman. Norman and Jax are a legendary comedy duo in the making, with a five-year plan to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe by the time they’re fifteen. But then Jax dies before they even turn twelve. Norman’s mum Sadie knows she won’t win Mother of the Year anytime soon, and she really doesn’t know, or care, who Norman’s father is. But her heart is broken when she discovers her grieving son’s revised plan – ‘Find Dad’ and ‘Get to the Edinburgh Fringe’. If meeting his dad and performing at the Festival are the two things that will help Norman through this devastating time, then Sadie is going to make them happen. So, mother and son set off from Cornwall, with their friend Leonard in his vintage Austin Maxi, on a pilgrimage to Edinburgh – to honour Jax and to track down a few maybe-fathers on the way…    

We were lucky enough to host Julietta Henderson in an online author talk. You can check out the recording here at parra.city/nswplevents

Now! Down to the business of April’s to be read, thriller list. I am hoping to read at least one of the books listed below.

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The Man Booker winner 2016

Paul Beatty -The SelloutThe Man Booker has announced its 2016 winner today. Selected from 6 shortlisted authors, Paul Beatty‘s The sellout has won this year’s The Man Booker Prize, the first American writer to win the Man Booker prize, for a caustic satire on US racial politics that judges said put him up there with Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift.

From the judging panel:

The Sellout is one of those very rare books: which is able to take satire, which is a very difficult subject and not always done well, and plunges it into the heart of contemporary American society with a savage wit of the kind I haven’t seen since Swift or Twain.” Continue reading