Here are the books I read in September 2018…
Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
I’m not normally a fan of short stories, but this collection is so cohesive, with the theme of memory linking them all together. I’d never read any Doerr works before, but now I’m interested in tackling The Light We Cannot See. Some of these stories are disturbing, for example the first story is about stealing people’s memories and selling them back to them like drugs. Who are we without our memories? Highly recommended.
Firmin by Sam Savage
This is a brilliantly inventive tale about a rat who lives in a bookshop. He discovers that by eating his way through the pages of books, he learns how to read. Follow his story as he literally digests literary knowledge, that gives him insight into that most mysterious of species; human beings.
Note: Firmin may look like a children’s book, but it is most definitely only suitable for grownups!
The Art of Dying by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick
This is a fascinating slice of non-fiction, investigating what happens to people at the moment of death. Using lots of anecdotes from real experiences, this is presented as an argument for people’s spirit living on after death. It is not presented in a religious context; rather, preparing loved ones for death, in a humanist way. Thought-provoking stuff, with convincing examples of people’s experiences.
Man Up by Jack Urwin
Another dose non-fiction. This book examines modern masculinity, through the lenses of men’s mental health, the military, childhood, body image, relationships, sex, aggression, and social conditioning. This is one of those books that everyone should read, but as good as it is, I did find myself skipping pages of text, looking for solid conclusions among the longer chapters. Having said that, it covers important issues about masculinity, especially relevant in this age when mental health has become much more of an open topic. As a father of two young sons, this book is an essential read.
The Fall by Diogo Mainardi
Translated from Portuguese, this book is described on the back cover as “a moving portrait of a relationship with a child and a place. It is a rare book: by turns heartbreaking, angry and lyrical.” I can’t argue with that, really. This book is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and will stay with me for a long time.
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