The first book to kick off your holiday reading list is Fear of Dying by Erica Jong. Some of you more astute readers may recognise her name, in 1973 Erica published ‘Fear of Flying’ it’s portrayal of female sexuality made it a talking point amongst both men and women and it’s often been credited as a big factor in the second wave of feminism.
In Fear of Dying, Erica is looking for some excitement, she wants to feel young and desirable and what better way to feel desirable than with some amazing sex. She signs up to a website and posts an ad anonymously looking for nothing weird with no strings attached, but of course the internet being the playground of many a varied person, it’s not long before she finds herself meeting up with the strangest characters. But sex isn’t the only topic discussed; she also talks about the vulnerability of us as human beings and the way in which hindsight can be a wonderful thing. Using the use of memory she takes us back to moments in her life, that help build a picture of her and her relationship with her parents.
Perhaps I missed the point but I don’t feel I got much from the novel, it’s quite convoluted and although moments were dealt with tenderly, I just felt like it was quite philosophical and as opposed to being relatable it felt much more like a person have a reflective and personal conversation out loud.
Fear of Dying is published by Canon Gate Books and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £6.60) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £8.99)
Next up is the 3rd instalment in the Cormoran Strike series ‘Career of Evil’ written by Robert Galbraith (the wonderfully talented and much loved author JK Rowling writing under a male pseudonym) This kicks off with a woman’s leg being delivered to Cormoran’s partner Robin Ellacott. This throws up many questions, not only who sent it but also how safe is it for Robin to continue working alongside the well-known Private Detective.
There are a lot of relationship dynamics that change in this book, and for those who have read the first two books in the series, you will notice even more that there is still that sense of will they, won’t they, bubbling under the surface. We learn a lot about Robin in this book, and one could almost say she’s a fairly central character; you begin to understand why she fights to stay in her underpaid but beloved job so much. But perhaps the best thing about this novel is how Robert Galbraith has upped the ante and written something a lot darker than the first two (which is saying something in itself) the style of writing is incredibly immersive, and it’s very well paced. There are some truly dark moments, where the author writes a chapter from the perspective of the yet unnamed and unknown murderer, some of these chapters are quite hard to read as they are violently descriptive, but this only helps the reader side with Cormoran as he battles to expose their identity and bring them to justice.
As the tension builds it seems that Robin is the next victim on the murderer’s list, one can’t help but power through the book greedily to find out what happens, and once again Robert Galbraith delivers. Dark subject matters, character developments and plenty of tension, this is one book that will keep you gripped over the long, dark days.
Career of Evil is published by Sphere and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £9.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £10)
The 3rd and final book for you this month is something of a more festive affair ‘How to Stuff up Christmas’ by Rosie Blake. This year Eve is not looking forward to it one bit. Feeling heartbroken and betrayed after discovering her fiancé has cheated on her, she decides to spend Christmas alone, much to the chagrin of her family and friends.
She finds herself enrolling on a pottery course in Pangbourne outside London and living on a riverboat. It will be the much needed break she needs; pretty soon Eve begins to relax but still misses her relationship with untrustworthy Liam. However by being alone Eve realises that she has been missing that little spark of excitement of doing something for herself, being something of a disaster in the kitchen Eve starts making recipes after being inspired by the local, dashing vet Greg.
But Eve can’t figure Greg out, and she’s not even sure she wants to due to her conflicting feelings over her ex. Pretty soon there are mixed signals, miscommunication and plenty of mischief going on with her fellow friends at potter class. The great thing about this book is it avoids too many clichés and things aren’t always as obvious as I thought they would be; which is a pleasant surprise. Charming, genuine and festive, this book is definitely one to snuggle up with over the Winter months.
How to Stuff Up Christmas is published by Corvus and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £2.85) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)