Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Mini Book Reviews - Part Two

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race - Reni Eddo-Lodge
I went to see Reni Eddo-Lodge in the book festival, which was a fantastic experience. There isn't a lot to say about this book, aside from the fact that I think everyone (especially, of course, white people) should read this and learn. I definitely don't know a lot about racism in Britain, or the history regarding race and racism, and I think it's important that everyone does learn more about it since we can't learn from history if we don't pay attention to it.

The Island of Dr Moreau - HG Wells
I really was only interested in this because of the references to it in Orphan Black, and I honestly wasn't that impressed by it. It was interesting to read it while thinking about how it connected to Orphan Black, but I just couldn't really engage with the characters or the world enough to really care about finishing it, and it became a bit of a chore to go back to it. I can see it being the kind of book that becomes more interesting to me when I read more literary criticism of it, but purely at face value I just couldn't really get into it.

Are You My Mother? - Alison Bechdel
I felt fairly let down by this one, at least compared to her other graphic novel Fun Home. It was interesting in parts, but at times it just felt circular and repetitive, and I just wasn't that engaged with it.

Ghosting - Jonathan Kemp
I picked this up on a whim from the library without knowing anything about it going in, and I'm really glad I did -- it was a brilliant book, and I really enjoyed the plot and the writing style. It was also wonderful to read a book with a compelling female lead character written by a man, as I don't feel like I come across it often.

The Doll Funeral - Kate Hamer
I downloaded this on the Overdrive app one afternoon so I'd have something to read on the bus home (as I'd just finished Ghosting on the bus to work, and didn't have another book with me). I didn't even realise when I picked it off my 'wishlist' that it was by the same author who wrote The Girl in the Red Coat, which I read not too long ago. I liked The Girl, although it did disappoint me at the end, as the ending felt rushed and kind of unfulfilling. However, I did think that I could see Hamer becoming a strong author in future books, and I do think this was a stronger novel, although I didn't find the premise quite as interesting as The Girl. I don't know if it's just because I read another novel earlier this year, Himself, which had a similar premise, but I just wasn't entirely on board with the premise. It was executed well enough, though - but the real stand out for me was the plotting, and the way Ruby's family history and her mother's story was woven together. I don't want to say too much about my slight criticisms, as it would essentially give away a major plot point - although I would say that while it felt stronger and more complete than Hamer's first novel, I did feel like there were a few of the non-fantasy plot points that were more difficult to believe. Still, it was an enjoyable read, and I think I would be interested in reading Hamer's future novels.
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