When a severed finger turns up on Helen Taylor’s doorstep, the police must try to find out if she saw what happened to her recently deceased (and dismembered) neighbour. But Helen has trouble remembering things, and her dead husband, Bobby, talking over her shoulder isn’t helping. So the police call in her sister, Pat, to see if she can make any sense of what Helen says.
I’m going to admit to you now that I hate love stories. Romance novels where the girl meets a handsome millionaire who’s just messed up enough for her to save. Or the strong-willed business woman from the city meets a wild country-man who teaches her about life. Soppy, emotional, sentimental crap, in my opinion, but maybe I’ve just been single for too long. So, romance novels have never made it onto my reading list.
But occasionally a story comes along that, despite its lovey-dovey themes, doesn’t make me want to vomit. Love stories that are a bit less cringe-worthy and a bit more rational.
So, with Valentine’s Day on everyone’s mind I thought I’d share some of these books for those of us that want to partake in the festivities, but not to the point of spewing.
As a book lover, some questions are harder to answer than others. What book do I read next? Do I continue reading that book I’m not really enjoying, just because I’ve started it? Is it okay that I cried more about the death of a fictional character than I’ve ever cried in real life?
I haven’t read much YA fiction in my life. I’ve seen The Hunger Games films, and I’ve read Harry Potter, but that’s about it. So I was wary when my friend recommended Red Rising, assuming it wouldn’t be something I was interested in. But, I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
Red Rising follows Darrow, a Red, the lowest caste in his society on Mars. He mines underground for helium-3, getting the planet ready to be inhabited by future generations. He is happy enough in his life as a Helldiver, surrounded by family.
Translated from it’s original Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa, Michel Laub’s Diary of the Fall follows an unnamed narrator as he recalls the events of his young life.
He reminisces about his grandfather and father, who both kept diaries in later years of their lives. The former, a Holocaust survivor, writes about his false and idealistic way of seeing the world, while the latter, after finding out that he has Alzheimer’s, writes so as not to forget
Liz Nugent is a master of opening lines, and Unravelling Oliver doesn’t disappoint.
I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.
And so we meet Oliver Ryan, a successful children’s writer and charismatic charmer, and his wife, Alice, who illustrates his books. We start the story in the aftermath of Oliver attacking Alice and leaving her in a coma in hospital. Oliver begins to tell his story. Interspersed with the stories of people Oliver knew throughout his life, we discover his tale of abandonment, guilt and entitlement, and learn what drove him to attack his wife.
So 2016 is nearly over (finally) and it’s time to look back on the book-year that’s been. And a great year it has been, especially for Irish fiction (which most of the books on this list are, I will admit).
According to Goodreads I’ve read 33 books this year, and I’ve enjoyed most of them. So it was tough to come up with the best ones for this list, but not impossible. There were definitely a few that stood out more than others, that have stayed with me for the whole year, that I’ve passed on to others and made sure that they’ve been enjoyed by as many people as possible.
So here’s the list of my favourite books from 2016