The Reading List #33
I’ve had so many of these posts ready and waiting to publish. I race through books at such a pace that I need to hold back a little from publishing or this blog would feature book after book after book.
Here’s the latest round-up of four mini book reviews:
The Submission, Amy Waldman
During an anonymous competition to find a designer for a 9/11 memorial, jurors open the envelope containing the winner’s details to find he is an American Muslim, architect Mohammad Khan. Debates as to his suitability or how this will be perceived by the public ensue. I was really impressed by this novel, which explored the feelings of a huge span of people in the wake of such a tragedy. There were different reactions to the competition winner, and an interesting and complex picture of America post-2011 was created. I also found Khan’s story incredibly moving, as he documents a period living under suspicion wherever he walks, whilst himself in mourning for the America he knows and loves.
The Lunch Box Diet, Simon Lovell
I got this free with a magazine years ago and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since. When I finally picked it up and read it, I was pleasantly surprised to find such a handy little guide. It’s based on the concept of taking a full lunchbox to work and grazing from it all day, and contains rules on portion sizes, food types to include, and how to make sure the foods being eaten are well-balanced and varied throughout the week. He suggests different food combinations, and how to make from scratch your own marinades and dressings, all whilst explaining the nutritional benefits of the foods he is suggesting you include. The idea is that it’s tasty, nutritious and sustainable, and it’s an achievable lifestyle change, especially for office-workers. I’m not going to embrace the plan fully, as I have my own routines at the moment, but I certainly took a lot of lessons and tips away from it.
Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld
Identical twins Kate and Violet, now aged 33, couldn’t be much more different: Kate is a wife and mother, Violet single and eccentric. When Violet predicts a major earthquake, which is picked up on by journalists, Kate must evaluate her own life, and her relationship with her sister. The two women were written convincingly, and the relationship between the two sisters was written well – there were certainly parts where I could draw comparison with my own sister and me. Small town life was captured beautifully, and it was a pleasure to read.
May We Be Forgiven, A M Holmes
Harry is envious of his brother George, who seemingly has the perfect home and family, until one adulterous kiss makes George lose control, with awful consequences. Both brothers find themselves starting a new life, and both need to make amends. This was shocking, very realistic, and also written with great humour. The short, snappy sections were a little too abrupt for me at times, but it was a family saga originally and expertly handled.
What should I move onto next?