Tag Archives: Me Before You

March (*ahem* and February…) Reading Round-Up

I seem to have gone AWOL the past couple of months, with not much time for reading or writing at all sadly, which is why this is a double-edition Reading Round-Up.

In February, I managed to read a rather depressing sum total of ONE book – Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, although even that is stretching it a little as most of that was listened to in January. I got about halfway through A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry but decided to put it back on my shelves for a while as I kept picking it up for 20 minutes here or there and not really giving it the attention it deserves. I also took part in the Literary Blog Hop Giveaway and sent out my prize of Tigers in Red Weather to a lucky reader. I honestly cannot remember what else I got up to in February, aside from working a whole heap and flat hunting! Thankfully, the flat hunt is now over and March has been a quicker month reading-wise.

Capture

In March, I’ve made it through:

Alex by Pierre Lemaître
Gone are the Leaves by Anne Donovan (out at the beginning of May)
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
(proof copy – out in June 2014)
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

I also managed to attend a great event at the wonderful Looking Glass Books bookshop in Edinburgh’s Quarter Mile, the launch of the 4th edition of The Istanbul Review, a literary journal based in both Istanbul and Edinburgh. Elif Shafak did a reading from her novel The Forty Rules of Love and did an audience Q&A, speaking eloquently on all things from Turkey, free speech, spiritualism, gender equality and writing. There’s a great review of the evening over on the Writer Pictures website.

Shafak’s novel Honour is sitting on my Wish List at the moment – I will be reading it soon I hope. It was such a lovely evening, and if you’re in Edinburgh, do check out Looking Glass Books’ event calendar as there is always loads going on!

I’m currently reading Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch and listening to The Son by Philipp Meyer on audiobook and although both are quite different (The Son is pretty brutal!) I am really enjoying both of them. I haven’t got any major reading plans coming up but I do hope to get around to reading The Luminaries at some point – one of my book club buddies also has it on her bookshelf so it would be great to suggest this as our next title. I’m still half-way through my review of The People in the Photo which I will complete soon hopefully.

In April, I’m looking forward to moving house mainly! I’ve cleared out many books already and I feel that I’ve been fairly ruthless by my standards so far, although my boyfriend may not agree… I’ll also be attending London Book Fair for the first time, and no doubt reading loads in preparation. Another busy month is ahead but I’m looking forward to getting in to the spring. Hopefully the weather in Edinburgh will get in gear soon and catch up!

Happy reading in April x

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Literary musings

Book Review: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 17.04.41

So, our book club has been plodding along with just three members – it’s not so much a book club now, more an excuse to chat about books and find time to meet up for a good gossip.

I’d mentioned Me Before You a couple of times when my friend had asked for reading suggestions as I’d heard it was good – I bought it for her for Christmas and she suggested it as our next book club read. I downloaded the audio version of the book – all 16 and a half hours of it. Needless to say, both of my friends finished the book long before I managed to!

From the back:

‘Lou Clark knows a lot of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.’

I really enjoyed listening to it, the story was good, the characters believable and down-to-earth. It has a good story and deals with some difficult issues – would you want to keep living if you knew you would never be able to walk again, or even lift a cup to drink, make love, dance? This is the plight of Will Traynor, previously a hot shot investor, who now faces life as a quadriplegic. And how do you find the courage to be sure that your life is not enough? To tell a partner that you might not love them anymore? Lou is laid off from her job at the tea shop and has to face the job centre, their suggestions of retraining, working in a chicken factory, and even (I found this a bit far-fetched) as a pole dancer!

Lou eventually takes a job as Will’s companion, asked by his mother to try and cheer him up a bit without knowing quite the magnitude of the task she is taking on. She is also battling with problems at home – at 26, she still lives with her parents in a small house with her sister, nephew and granddad who needs lots of care following a stroke. There isn’t much money to spare in the Clark household so there is an immediate clash between Lou’s life and the type of life Will had been accustomed to, coming from a very wealthy family who take regular skiing trips, go to fancy dos and have thousands of pounds idling in their everyday bank accounts.

To begin with, Will is slightly cold towards Lou, uncomfortable dealing with someone having to help him all of the time. Lou grins and bears it, trying to make the most of it as she cannot afford to lose this job. As time goes on, they grow to tolerate each other, and then their working relationship turns into friendship, as they come to rely on each other more and more.

There is lots going on in the book, but the warmth for the characters carries you through. Lou is the main narrator during the story, and although I found her narration warm and funny, and full of the everyday worries that constantly trouble us, I enjoyed the occasional break in narrative, as one of the more minor characters took over. I wished we heard more from Will though, to find out more about what is going on inside his head, how he copes mentally and emotionally with the consequences of his accident. In some ways this story is more about Lou though, and the profound effect that meeting Will and being exposed to his situation has on her.

It was a good, easy listen, but one that deals with lots of issues – it’s certainly a great book club read as it generates a lot of discussion on how one would cope with becoming quadriplegic. I’m looking forward to discussing this with the girls!

5 Comments

Filed under Book Club, Book Reviews