Four books reviewed in three sentences each

I come across books in different ways and the last four books I’ve read are a perfect example: Gone Girl was lent to me by a friend; Colum McCann’s book was in my house for four years before I read it; All the Days and Nights I first read in 2003 (I date the inside of all my books when I buy them – NERD!); and I recently bought This Book Will Save Your Life as I’m now on a mission to read everything A.M. Homes has written.

Although I’ve read many books this summer I haven’t reviewed them all. Sometimes it’s because I didn’t like the book (as detailed in this post) and sometimes it’s because I have nothing revelatory or especially insightful to add to the conversation. The last four books I’ve read are widely known but worth mentioning here nonetheless. You may have already heard about them or indeed read them, therefore I’m keeping these reviews short, but if you haven’t I’d recommend them all.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I don’t usually read novels in the suspense/thriller genre but a friend of mine lent this to me and remembering that it is important for any writer to read widely, I decided to give it a go. Let’s just say the considerable hype is deserved – it’s a well written, brilliantly paced book with more than a few surprises and an ending I didn’t expect at all. Flynn has much to teach other writers with regards to constructing a tight plot.

Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann – I’m a disgrace as I had this in my shelves since 2009 and only got around to reading it a week ago. The book is comprised of chapters from interlinked people in New York City in 1974, taking Philippe Petit’s Twin Towers tightrope walk as the focal point. While the writing is great throughout I particularly loved the parts written from Petit’s point of view.

This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. HolmesI reviewed May We Be Forgiven on the blog already and I loved so much that I immediately went out and bought This Book Will Save Your Life, which is another winner from Ms. Homes. Richard Novak, the central character, goes on a kindness spree after a health scare, determined to bring new meaning into his life. Given the fact this takes place in L.A. the ground is fertile for zany episodes like a high speed car chase, an encounter with feral chihuahuas, and a sinkhole that threatens to swallow Richard’s house.

All the Days and Nights by William Maxwell – William Maxwell was the fiction editor for the New Yorker for almost forty years and worked with writers such as Nabokov, Salinger, Updike, Cheever and Welty. He was also a wonderful short story writer and novelist in his own right. Rereading this story collection reminded me of his genius for the tiny details that describe a life – he just makes it seem effortless.

William Maxwell taken by Irving Penn.
William Maxwell (Photo credit: Irving Penn)

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