Monday, 30 October 2017

A Month in Books - October 2017

I hit a milestone on Literary Flits this month - my 500th book post! That's 500 consecutive days of book reviews and spotlights highlighting an amazing array of books from indie author and small press publications to global literature and perennial classics. It hadn't really registered that this occasion was looming or I would have made it more of an Event. Maybe a Best Of selection post or a How Many Have You Read? Quiz. Actually that Quiz might be fun anyway - all the Literary Flits books are Listed By Author Here. Scroll down the page, give yourself 1 point for each  book you've read, and let us all know your score. The nearest to 500 wins the right to be smug for a day!

My 500th post was a review of the brilliant historical fiction novel Money Love Power by Joss Sheldon. I love this indie author's novels - this is the third to which I have awarded a full five stars! Joss has linked to Literary Flits from his website - love seeing  my logo there. It was one of 13 books I read this month. Find all their mini reviews and links to the original posts after the Spotlights below. Clicking on a bookshop name will take you to their website where you can buy your own copy (these are affiliate links). Clicking the book title or cover image will take you to its Literary Flits page.


Author Alert! Do get in touch to buy your Spotlight post(s) soon. I am already booking slots out until February! There's further details through This Link. Alternatively you could win yourself a Spotlight by following me and retweeting my pinned tweet on Twitter! September's winner was Gemma Lawrence who promotes her Tudor histfic The Bastard Princess - don't miss her generous giveaway ...

The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr + Giveaway

The Queen's Mary by Sarah Gristwood

The Bastard Princess by Gemma Lawrence + Giveaway

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Subhuman by Michael McBride + Giveaway

My reviews

I was intrigued by this novel's poetic title and its almost macabre cover art and so had high hopes of it before I began to read. I am glad to be able to say that I wasn't at all disappointed! Through the Sad Wood Our Corpses Will Hang is a beautiful, unpredictable story of frustrated humanity. Almost my Book of the Month!

The Diving-Bell And The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

To say that this is a beautiful, an incredible, a moving memoir is completely true, but doesn't come close to doing the book justice. On the one hand we have memories full of life, colour and detail. One the other I was always painfully aware of the extreme conditions under which Bauby wrote. He brings his predicament vividly to life and manages to allow readers into his world.

The Last Suttee by Madhu Bazaz Wangu + Giveaway

What most impressed me about The Last Suttee was the volume of research that the author must have done prior to writing her novel. Authenticity streams from the pages and I now feel that I have a good understanding of not just the suttee ritual itself, but its religious and historic significance.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

Translated into forty languages and never out of print since its 1923 publication, The Prophet is one of those books that I 'should' have read years ago. I'm not sure if I would have appreciated it so much in my twenties though as I do in my forties. I did not expect his words and ideas to be so easily accessible, to feel how relevant this book is to my own life, or to enjoy the gorgeous prose and imagery so much.

The Running Man by Gilbert Tuhabonye and Gary Brozek

The first thing I think to say about this memoir is that it is not a book for the faint-hearted. Tuhabonye does go into graphic detail of the violence he witnessed and experienced inflicted on Tutsi students by Hutu men. Secondly, this isn't really a running memoir either. Tuhabonye is indeed a runner and now a successful running coach, but that is only one aspect of his life. For me, The Running Man is a richly detailed memoir of a Burundian childhood, one which gives insights into a disappearing way of life.

Tale of a Boon's Wife by Fartumo Kusow

Tale Of A Boon's Wife is a very readable novel set in a wonderfully evoked Somalia. Author Fartumo Kusow has imagined an age-old tale of love across sociological divides and surrounds that narrative with rich details of Somali life culture.

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid

I wasn't prepared for the vitriolic anger of Kincaid's short book, A Small Place, or the sense of guilt on behalf of my country that it would engender. Antigua is one of many nations completely altered by a British empire presence and, as we learn from Kincaid, her people are still suffering the effects decades after their supposed independence.

Money Power Love by Joss Sheldon

Money Power Love is a novel of politics and economics, but don't be misled by that. It's is never dry, dull or boring. Lola particularly is great fun to spend time with and I kept reading pretty much non-stop as I couldn't bear to put the book aside! Another triumph for Joss Sheldon and a novel that I urge everyone to buy for at least one friend this Christmas! My Book of the Month!

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolfe

I put off reading Mrs Dalloway for months because I was somewhat underwhelmed by my previous Virginia Woolf book, The Waves. The two are very different though and, once I got started, I soon found myself engrossed in Mrs Dalloway's world.

The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli

I've been invited to join an Italy Book Tours spotlight tour for Laura Morelli's new novel, The Painter's Apprentice, next month. That story takes place in the same historical Venice setting as The Gondola Maker and, on the strength of this first book, I am certainly looking forward to the next in the series!

Iran: A Modern History by Abbas Amanat

Clocking in at a thousand pages, Iran: A Modern History is easy three times as long as books I usually choose so it is with all credit to Abbas Amanat's engaging writing that I happily immersed myself in this history for the best part of a week. I was fascinated to discover the rich history of this ancient nation and, although I have already forgotten many names, I do feel that I have a stronger understanding of Iran's culture and her people as a result.

Wanderers No More by Michelle Saftich

This interesting Australian historical fiction follows the Italian Saforo family emigrating from their homeland to start new lives at the end of the Second World War. The novel is based on the experiences of the author's ancestors and I liked the insights given into this 1940s mass migration.

The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi

The Stolen Bicycle has a mystical atmosphere to it. Certain scenes seem unbelievable, but were perhaps true; others start out in mundane detail and gradually become more fantastic. I enjoyed losing myself in Taiwanese history and piecing together the lost bicycle years.

That's it for this month and I know I have already got some great books lined up to read and review in November including The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak and Dreams Of Maryam Tair by Mhani Alaoui. There will be a fifth Jane Austen review too! Keep up daily on Literary Flits or I will see you here at the end of the month for another round up.

Don't forget the Giveaways!

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