I read a great many books and I get them from many places. Second hand on Amazon and eBay are both good places to look, and I often find really interesting stuff from charity shops. In the U3A book group that I’m a member of, we have taken to looking in charity shops for our choices. The chances are that whatever we find will be cheap for the other members to buy.
The Hundred Secret Senses – Amy Tan
Stunning reissue of an international bestseller, from the author of ‘The Joy Luck Club’ and ‘The Bonesetter’s Daughter’.
Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her day and night with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the world of Yin. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.
For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia’s failed marriage. But just when she cannot bear it any more, the revelations of a tragic family secret finally open her mind to the startling truths hidden in Kwan’s unorthodox vision of the world.
This is a book that travels between time zones as the story unfolds and it kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I found Kwan pretty irritating for quite a long time, but gradually began to see her viewpoint. There just seems to be superstition and pointlessness to what seem to be her ramblings. But soon, they begin to make much more sense
This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell
I really enjoyed this one. So much so that I went on eBay and bought almost Maggie’s back catalogue for a couple of pounds each.
There is a great deal of time switching in this novel, so much so that I was frequently disoriented, and it was difficult at times to remember if certain things had happened yet or not. But it was worth staying with it.
Claudette is unpredictable, volatile and reactive. She seems grossly unreasonable, but as we get to know her better, her motivation comes through. Daniel on the other hand is a philanderer who seems amoral, and later, a much more appealing character emerges
Beautifully written, Maggie’s style is wonderful, her characters full of life and complex inner emotions
SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA NOVEL AWARD – A RICHARD AND JUDY PICK 2017
A top-ten bestseller, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE by Maggie O’Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. ‘A complex, riveting novel of love and hope that grips at the heart’ The Sunday Times
A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her family, and what made her walk out of her cinematic career when she had the whole world at her feet?
Her husband Daniel, reeling from a discovery about a woman he last saw twenty years ago, is about to make an exit of his own. It is a journey that will send him off-course, far away from the life he and Claudette have made together. Will their love for one another be enough to bring Daniel back home?
Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult
I always enjoy a Jodi Picoult book. Her characters are so believable and I really feel like I know them by the end of the book. When I started this one, I wouldn’t have believed that I could have any empathy at all for a ‘shooter’, but I did. I would love to know the motivation of a few real life people in this circumstance. Is this atypical, are ‘shooters’ victims too? Some background reading might be coming up
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
‘Incredibly thought-provoking Sun
After years of cruel bullying from his classmates, Peter Houghton snaps one morning, and in nineteen minutes, ten residents of the town of Sterling are dead. When the case goes to trial, the reeling town is determined to seek justice for the innocents Peter killed.
But as the trial unfolds, Peter’s testimony casts light on the terrible role the residents of Sterling have played in turning a sweet, loving boy into a killer, and it isn’t long before Sterling’s illusions of innocence find themselves shattered forever. . .
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – Samin Nosrat
Now this one is not a novel, and not particularly cheap either. However, I’m really glad I got it. It explains the effect of salt, fat, acid and heat on food. Sounds simple, but my goodness, I’m learning so much! Why things happen the way they do, and all via the authors experiences, so it reads very like an autobiography.
Wondering what to read next? Here are some books I've been reading lately, and enjoyed. Click To Tweet
Sunday Times Food Book of the Year and New York Times bestseller
While cooking at Chez Panisse at the start of her career, Samin Nosrat noticed that amid the chaos of the kitchen there were four key principles that her fellow chefs would always fall back on to make their food better: Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat.
By mastering these four variables, Samin found the confidence to trust her instincts in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients. And with her simple but revolutionary method, she has taught masterclasses to give both professionals and amateurs the skills to cook instinctively.
Whether you want to balance your vinaigrette, perfectly caramelise your roasted vegetables or braise meltingly tender stews, Samin’s canon of 100 essential recipes and their dozens of variations will teach you how.
So that’s a few of the books I’ve read recently. Would love to know what you’ve been reading and what you thought of it
Thrifty Lesley has an associated Facebook Group. Do come over and say hello if you haven’t already joined. I’d love to see you
I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community