Thursday 27 January 2022

What I've been reading - the January edition

 When I was at school we used to play a game called 'consequences'.  Each person has a blank sheet of paper, then you write a phrase as the first line to a story, turn over the top of the paper so the sentence is hidden and pass it onto the next person.  That person adds another sentence, folds over the paper and passes it on the next.  The last person starts their sentence 'and the consequence was ...' and writes down something that might have happened.  No one knows what the others have written and it used to have us all in giggles as the stories were read out at the end.

This game came to mind when I started reading this month's choice of book for our book club: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley.   

Monica owns a cafe and finds a notebook which has been left behind by a customer.  Hoping to be able to track down the person who has lost it, she reads it and finds that it wasn't accidentally lost but deliberately left behind by Julian, a 79 year old widowed artist.  He has written a resume of how he lonely he is feeling, and asks the person who finds the book to add their story and pass it on. 

'Everyone lies about their lives.  What would happen if you shared the truth instead?' 

 And so the journey begins.  As more people find the journal and add their stories to the notebook they don't realise that the honesty of their stories will impact on future people who find the book.

I really enjoyed this book and loved the way the character's lives became intertwined; it's one I would definitely recommend.  


Anyway, that book only took me six days to read, so I needed to find another!  One of the bookclub members, Joanne Tracey has written a book called The Little Cafe by the Lake.  That seemed a good enough reason to read it!

I was interested to see how this one would be as it is an Australian author and set in New Zealand so a little different to normal.  

I didn't realise that it was part of a series but is easily read as a standalone book.  I soon got to grips with the family dynamics of the people involved in the story.  We, the readers, were introduced to the extended family whose lives are jogging along quite nicely and then there is the arrival of Gary, who had been previously married to one of the characters.  Why has he returned?  How will his return impact onto the family?  

This was a nice easy read and it reminded me of the TV series 'Chesapeake Shores' and there was the added bonus of some delicious recipes at the end.  By coincidence, I have previously made the chocolate dessert dish that is part of that chapter and can confirm that it is delicious!  


That left me with a week of the month left with no book to read - well we couldn't have that could we?  So I picked a random book from the kindle special offers and came up with this

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins.  

Twenty one years ago Dr Carter and his wife were murdered by their young daughter.  Sara spent the next eight years in a secure unit and is now living a new life under an assumed name.  No one knows the truth about her past and she is horrified to learn that after all these years her elder sister Shannon has agreed to give an exclusive interview about the case.  

Brinley Booth is a journalist who has been sent to cover the story at the village where the murder took place but no one that she works with realises that she knows the area all too well as she was a close friend of the two daughters before the murder took place.  While she desperately wants to put the past behind her, should she share the inside information that she has to further her career?  

Throughout the book are a series of messages between two people - but you are left guessing as to who the characters are who are corresponding with one another. The answer to this is key to how everything unravels at the end of the book.  

I found this book to be a bit challenging in places, it's definitely not a 'feel good' read but it kept me reading and there is one big twist at the end that makes you realise that not all the secrets have been revealed!  


So that was three very different styles of writing this month.  My favourite of the three was the Authenticity Project I think.  We are currently voting for the next book to read in our online book club; I'm looking forward to seeing what is on my kindle for the start of the new month.


Ruth said...

Book 1 sounds like something I would enjoy, thanks for the recommendation ... now scuttling away to order it ...

Gail Is This Mutton? said...

I've read When I was 10 but somehow forgot to review it!
I remember Consequences very well - I still play it with my mum, and we keep lists of people we're going to use, so that we don't forget!
Thanks for the book recommendations, I haven't enjoyed my last 3 books very much so keen to find something new.

Patio Postcards said...

I like the sounds of the first book & I will check that our library has. It sounds similar (but not the same) to the book The Keeper of Lost Things (a delightful read IMO).

I've never played consequences.

Jennifer said...

Sounds like some really good suggestions! Have you been reading by the fireplace....or did you get the heat back on?? Here's to a snug weekend ahead!

Susanne said...

I am waiting on ebook of The Authenticity Project at my public library, but now I may have to see if the others are available too. In the meantime, I am catching up on a series I started last year.

alexa said...

I always enjoy your book reviews and have sneaked off for a moment to put The Authenticity Project on hold in our local library, so thank-you!