In January 2023 I read:
- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (re-read)
- The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton
- Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury (non-fiction)
- Shiver by Allie Reynolds
- Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
- The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
- The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz (re-read)
- In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Jessie Burton is one of my favourite writers and The Miniaturist was a re-read. I wanted to immerse myself in the world of 18th century Amsterdam again before I read the sequel, The House of Fortune. You could, perhaps, read the second as a stand alone but I thought it was better in sequence. Jessie Burton’s prose is superb and she has the ability to transport you anywhere and to any time. I loved the main character and all the historical detail in The House of Fortune, but I preferred The Miniaturist overall.
If you enjoy fast-paced psychological thrillers, I wholeheartedly recommend Shiver by Allie Reynolds and In the Blink of an Eye by Jo Callaghan. I thought both of them were excellent. They had all the elements you look for in crime fiction – a great plot, brilliant characters, a fast paced story and a satisfying ending, but each had an extra element which made them stand out for me.
Allie Reynolds’ book is set in the world of competitive snowboarding which I thought was really interesting and raised the stakes for her characters, while Jo Callaghan teams up an experienced human detective with an AI detective which was something I had never come across before and produced lots of great conflict and a touch of comedy.
Zen in the Art of Writing is a very inspiring book to read if you want to write and I also really enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s book about Norse Mythology.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz was another re-read. This time I am reading it for a book group, so I am keen to find out what other people think about it. It raises lots of interesting questions about writing and stories, and the main character is someone you love to hate. This time around I knew the ending, so it was fun to spot the clues I had missed the first time. I also enjoyed The Recovery of Rose Gold and the way Wrobel alternated between the daughter and the mother’s points of view.
This is the first time I have read Brave New World. The style is quite different from contemporary fiction, so it took a little while to get into, but I enjoyed the moral dilemmas it raised and the acute observations about society, many of which are still relevant today.