Reading Lately – September 2017

Welcome to my first reading update of the new season, and with Autumn upon us, I thought I would take the chance for a seasonal revamp! Those of you who know this post as Reading, Watching, Listening to Lately might have noticed that I’m also now joining in with the Little Loves link up, where you’ll find out a lot more about what I’m reading, watching and listening to every single week. Rather than boring regular followers with repetition, I’ve decided to go with a simple, more in-depth reading update on here at the end of every month. The upside of this for me is that a shorter update means I might actually get it done before one month runs into the next one. The downside is that someone might quote me on that when I don’t!

The first book I delved into this month was The Blackhouse by Peter May, part one of the bestselling ‘Lewis Man’ trilogy following Fin Macleod, a detective sent back to his home on the Outer Hebrides to investigate a murder. Crime isn’t normally my favoured genre when it comes to novels, but I was particularly keen to read this book after our holiday to the Outer Hebrides earlier in the year. It was lovely to be able to picture the locations while I was reading, and I’m pretty sure the boatshed where one of my holiday snaps was taken marks the exact spot a pretty murky incident happens at the very beginning of the book. Thankfully for my delicate nature, there isn’t too much other murkiness in the story (apart from a pretty lengthy post mortem scene in an early chapter). The rest is a fantastic story about past demons, lost love, and the harshness and beauty of island life. I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in the trilogy. Peter May is one writer who knows how to keep you turning those pages until the very end.

Peter May Book
The Blackhouse
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The scene of the novel’s opening at Port of Ness

My second book for September was The Power by Naomi Alderman, a hugely thought-provoking novel about how the world might look if the female of the species held all the cards. In the book, women develop powers that allow them to hurt others with electricity – powers that snowball to envelop the realms of religion, politics and the gender status quo. The book is framed as a sort of historical novel, re-telling events leading up to a global cataclysm which leaves women squarely at the top of society. And if you think that sort of change might lead to a kinder, more gentle world to live in, then think again. There are some horrific scenes of violence against men in the book and some scenes that might leave you questioning whether ‘history’ itself is an illusion. It was an unforgettable novel and one that will keep my mind ticking over for quite some time to come. Mostly the book was a reminder that the ownership of power, rather than the person wielding it, is our biggest problem. That people do bad things when they are in a position to abuse it, has never seemed quite so clear as here.

The Power Book

My final book for September was The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena, which tells the story of a couple who go to a dinner party at their neighbours, and return to find that their baby (whom they had left alone in the house), has disappeared. The rest of the book unravels the mystery of what happened to their baby, and along the way points the finger at just about everyone who could be involved. It’s a pacey, page turning thriller with a present tense narrative which took a bit of getting used to – but there’s no doubt that keeping pace with each character gives the novel a tense and urgent edge. The story winds through all sorts of issues around marriage, family relationships and post-natal depression. And as with all good thrillers – in The Couple Next Door, not everyone is what they seem.

The Couple Next Door Book

That’s it for my round up of what I’ve been reading this month. I do hope you’ll join me next month for more updates, reviews, and stories from my shelf!


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