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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Naomi Alderman - The Power #BaileysPrize @readingagency

This is an amazing book. Clever, innovative, funny, shocking and thought provoking. 15 year old girls suddenly acquire the power to generate and use electricity. They can then pass this power on to other women, thus tilting the balance of power between men and women. Across the world this creates a huge gender change. This story is a story within a story, and the novel is interspersed with hilarious illustrations. At first you feel hurrah, now there will be true equality but then things all begin to go very wrong. Who can forget women rioting in Saudi Arabia or taking control in Pakistan, and the voice of God? That would be Mother Eve.

What do you think would happen if women could and did seize power. A terrifying vision and a salutary reminder of the corrupting influence of power itself.
This would make a fantastic reading group book. I loved it

Friday, 2 June 2017

C E Morgan - The Sport Of Kings #BaileyPrize @readingagency

This is a beautifully written novel, almost painfully so. It screams the new ' Great American Novel'. Indeed it was  a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
I think I have been spoilt by thrillers and crime as I found this very slow, wonderful detailed descriptions. Minutiae but I wanted to get on with the plot!
It covers a lot of American history but I also found myself getting lost. It would have been useful to have dates .

And there was an awful lot about horses........

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Madeleine Thien - Do not say we have nothing #BaileysPrize @readingagency

This is a very rich. textured book. It reminded me of the perennial Wild Swans by Jung Chang.
This book is set in Canada, Hong Kong, and China. In Chinese history it covers the period from the beginning of Chairman Mao up to Tiananmen Square. As such it is absolutely fascinating and a history that I had no idea about. I did occasionally lose track of who was who as it has a it has a large cast of characters. It was moving, funny, and tragic. Not a page turner but a deeply immersive novel.
It is beautifully written and would make an excellent Book Club choice. it will stay with you for a long time afterwards. This will be high on my list.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Gwendoline Riley - First Love #BaileysPrize @readingagency

Well I have to confess to being flummoxed with this book. It is beautifully written but I did not get it. None of the characters were appealing. Nothing very much happened and we were left with huge questions and holes in the plot. Why did she marry Edwyn? Why has she stayed married to him? Why is she so nasty to her mother? Why why why and to be honest I didn't care. Please explain what am I missing?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Linda Grant - Dark Circle #BaileysPrize @readingagency

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Loved the feisty Jewish twins diagnosed with TB. This is 1949 and the new NHS sees them arriving at a former Sanitorium for the wealthy (the poor died). The book reveals the appalling hardships and peculiar cures and practices that went on at the hospital, where until the advent of the NHS Doctor's could and did do what they liked. The Sanitarium is home to an eclectic host of characters. This would make a brilliant Reading Group book as there is so much to discuss. Fantastic story and thought provoking. Quirky and different in places, their continental holiday post Sanitorium is a scream. Then you have the children's ward. Definitely a contender for the prize.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Ayobami Adebayo - Stay with me #BaileysPrize

 This is an amazingly assured debut novel. Set in Nigeria with the backdrop of all the political and social upheavals,. it is non the less a story about a marriage. It is also about obsession the absolute desire to have a child and then the desperate need to keep that child alive.
Ayobami Adebayo takes you on a journey with an incredible sense of place and then draws in your emotions as you feel the pain of Yejide.

She is also a master storyteller. Just when you think you have a handle on what is happening then wow it all changes. OK you settle to the new reality and then she does it again and again. I cannot say too much as it would contain spoilers.
This will make a fantastic reading group book and is unmissable for anyone who likes fantastic writing, with twists and turns that will have you open mouthed.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Bailey's Prize Ambassador #BaileysPrize

So thrilled to be a Libraries Ambassador for the Baileys Prize!