Recently Read Recommendations!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately, so I thought I would share some of the books I have read, because I am a giving sort of a gal!

OK, firstly I discovered a totally new writer whilst I was doing research for my first fictional novel.  Her name is Christina McKenna and she hails from a little village in Northern Ireland called Draperstown in County Derry, where my grandfather came from.  She has written a very amusing trilogy of life in the village of ‘Tailorstown’ (fictional but we can guess where it’s based upon!)  I have read the first two books in the trilogy:  ‘The Misremembered Man’ and ‘The Disenchanted Widow.’  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them.  Her characters are so vivid and typically ‘Norn Ireland’ that you can so identify with their sense of humour, (if you are from this part of the world, and if you are not, you will be introduced to a new type of humour!)  I found the narrative to be lighthearted, witty, but also poignant and touching.  I am looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.   You can check out Christine McKenna’s author page here:  Christina McKenna She reminded me a tiny bit of my favourite Northern Irish writer Anne Dunlop, whose books I simply adore and have read several times!

Secondly I read ‘Us’ by David Nicholls.  Now I think this book could be a bit like marmite.   Having loved ‘One Day,’  I was prepared to be underwhelmed, but I must say I adored it.   It is all about a man called Douglas who is desperately trying to keep his wife Connie from leaving him.  His son is about to head off to college, so he plans a trip round Europe for the three of them.  Needless to say, disaster ensues.  I found the character of Douglas to be a bit stereo typically anal (sorry!) and yet I was on his side from the get-go.   Nicholls is a master of good descriptive writing and great characterization, so for me it was a total page turner and  I had it read in a couple of days.  It is a poignant story of desperately trying to hold on to something that is slipping out of your grasp, and consequently you can’t do right for doing wrong, and who among us hasn’t been there?!!

My final recommendation is ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  I am reading this for my Third Thursday book club at the Gutter bookshop in Dublin.  I am a big fan of her writing anyway, but so far I am loving this novel about two  young Nigerians, Ifemelu and Obinze.  Ifemelu goes to the USA to university, and is faced with race and identity issues.  Obinze lives a more desperate life in London.  After undergoing life changing events, and being broken apart through circumstances largely beyond their control, they meet up again in Nigeria 15 years later.  So far I am loving this novel.  Her writing is exquisite.

Don’t forget to read September’s Book club choice ‘The Good Girl.’   Also please do share your comments.  I would much rather this was a conversation than a monologue!    Thanks.

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2 thoughts on “Recently Read Recommendations!

  1. Hi Lynne. Thank you so much for your comments. Wow, I didn’t know you knew Anne Dunlop. I would love to have met her. I bet she’s got a great sense of humour. I have read ‘The Pineapple Tart’ about five times! It is my relaxing guilty pleasure! Would be fascinating to know if there is a connection with Pauline Taylor and the Tailorstown trilogy!! I am setting my own new fictional novel in a small village of Ireland. Having recently discovered the history of my great grandfather (thanks to you!) I thought Draperstown fitted the bill, but I would make it fictional. However more research is now required!! Anyway, all very interesting. Thank so much for following the blog. Justine. x.

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  2. Hi Justine
    I loved “Girl on the train” , The Storied Life of Aj Firkey” & I am Pilgrim. All books I would not have picked up myself. So many thanks for the encouragement.
    I am interested in Christine McKenna’s books for obvious reasons. I too loved Anne Dunlop books.
    She was a patient in the practice but went to Botswana. Her mum is a darling.
    However what prompted me to write is the notion of Tailorstown!!
    My friend and dental colleague Pauline Taylor has a practice in Draperstown.
    She married into the once well off potato merchant family of Taylors!!
    (Many ups, downs and scandals)
    I suppose will have to read it to find out if there is a connection!!
    Love Lynne
    Just about to start Good Girl!

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