[Book Club] [Book Review] Milkman by Anna Burns

milkman

Milkman by Anna Burns is a story about gossip and rumours. This is what is is on the surface, but once you dig deeper into the story it is a story about how one young girl copes with stalking, the circulation of gossip and how this affects her, and the change in perception of those around her to what is happening to her.

Personally, I really enjoyed Milkman. There were so many different aspects and layers to the novel that really stuck out to me, and made me want to keep going. The writing is eloquent, and is gritty and to the point. The story jumps back and forth and sometimes rears off into other directions to display the the subconscious and how we might wander off with our thoughts.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fact that there was no names. Everyone was referred to by their status, either in relation to the community or their relation to middle-sister. This was really interesting to me, it displayed the ambiguity to the story, and raised a level of ‘this could be happening to anyone’.

Another aspect of the novel that was really well handled was the disassociation that took place. Middle-sister, as the novel progressed, became more and more ‘blank’ per say, and the writing style depicted this well.

On the cover of my novel, it tells me that the novel is hilarious, and whilst I might not agree with hilarious, the novel does have it’s funny moments. My favourite moments perhaps being the phone call between Ma and third brother-in-law at the start of Chapter 6, where they’re arguing over middle-sister and running. The writing surrounding both characters in most occasions is absurd, and writes to prove the absurdity of the situation, highlighting Anna Burns’ ability to move across writing styles throughout the novel.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Milkman. I found it a really intriguing novel, and there are so many things I could talk about with this novel, but I struggle to find the words for.

What did you think of Milkman? Let me know in the comments!

[Book Discussion] The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall

the christmas forest

The Christmas Forest by Rebecca Boxall is a Christmas tale of love and friendship. Enid has Asperger’s Syndrome and has been talking via letter to a man called Fred.

The story focuses around Enid planning a trip to Australia to finally meet Fred for Christmas, supported by her sister Bess. But will it happen? That is the big question that hangs for a large part of the novel. Enid’s friends are unsure, Enid is sure, Fred is sure, but who will win out?

Despite the short nature of the novel, The Christmas Forest is a pleasantly good read. The plot moves fast enough to keep you interested, and Rebecca Boxall writes wonderfully. Asperger’s Syndrome does take a centre role in this novel, and Boxall handles it with care and it is well researched.

The narrative is sweet, and is definitely one I would recommend for the Christmas season.

It is interesting to note that Boxall has written Enid with Asperger’s, as a lot of research shows that it Asperger’s is usually diagnosed in males. Boxall is bringing to the forefront women with Asperger’s and allows the reader to submerge in Enid’s plight and characteristics.

All in all, I would definitely recommend The Christmas Forest. What did you think? Have you read it?

Let me know what you thought in the comments!

[Book Discussion] Red Phoenix by Larry Bond

red phoenix

Red Phoenix by Larry Bond is a military fiction book. It follows the story of war between North and South Korea told mostly from an American perspective.

The book is okay. I had a few quibbles with the book, the characters are very stereotyped, the Americans are big, brave and macho. The South Koreans are obedient, the North Koreans are evil, etc.

One of the only prominent females in the book, Anne, started off really well, but in the end followed a very typical ‘I’ve found a man, and I love him and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.’

Also, if I hear the phrase ‘frozen rice paddies’ one more time, I think I might just have to lash out.

Despite its faults, the book is entertaining. The beginning is intriguing, it kind of wavers towards the middle, and then picks up again toward the end.

The biggest success, for me, was that the book made me want to read more about Korean history and the history of the Korean War. It’s a perfectly decent book, and I can see why people would like it, and I did enjoy reading it, but it is also not typically a book I would have stuck with.

The book was also very well executed, it followed a lot of characters and different countries. They were all set up well, and once you learnt names and places you remembered them well.

My two favourite characters of the book were definitely Kevin Little and Lieutenant Rhee. They were the two that really stood out to me, and I found myself really wanting to find out how everything was going for them more than anyone else.

What did you think of the book? Let me know in the comments!

[Book Discussion] Whistle In The Dark by Emma Healey

Emma Healey’s Whistle in the Dark is a thriller about a young girl called Lana who goes missing for four days but claims she doesn’t remember what happened to her. Her mother is convinced something happened during her time away and will stop at nothing to find out what that was.

At the heart of it, Whistle in the Dark is a tale of a mother in search for answers. It deals with frustration, grief, loss, happiness. As the story unfolds we learn more and more about the family, we learn more about Lana and her struggles, we learn about Jen’s struggles and the way the family is coping.

The thing I liked the most about this book was the characterisation. The characters were relatable, and I could understand the story from both points. Jen’s struggles were especially poignant, her feelings of self-worth, her loss and her struggle to understand were all feelings I feel like we’ve experienced in our lifetime. It was hard to read how much she cared, but was afraid of showing it. It was hard to read how much she was trying, but then Lana was struggling, too. It is a story about learning to communicate at its heart.

The plot of the story moved really well, and the writing really gripped me. I was hooked from start to finish and constantly curious as to what had happened. The way the novel ended was both harrowing and not what I had expected.

In short, I enjoyed the novel. I thought it was exciting and gripping!

What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Your May Book Thoughts!

Hello!

This is just a small prompted reminder that it’s almost the end of the Month!

Wow, this month has gone by super quickly! I hope everyone’s enjoyed Practical Magic! I’ve submitted my post on here, and it should (fingers crossed!) appear on the 31st of May!

This month has been a massive learning curve for me and this book club, and hopefully, I can make next month more interesting for everyone. I know this month might have been slightly disappointing, and I’m slightly disappointed in myself at how this month has gone. As they say, life sometimes gets the better of you.

I’ve started planning out some stuff for next month, and the winner of the June Book Poll (if you haven’t already voted, you can find the poll on this post) will be announced soon!

I’m quite excited for next month! I will be on holiday for the first two weeks, but I’ll try and get a few posts in for when I’m away!

Halfway!

So, by this point in our month, you should be at least half way through the book!

Unless you’re a fast reader and already completed, then congrats!

I hope everyone is enjoying or has enjoyed Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic. I’m just over halfway myself and I’m enjoying the book quite a lot!

Since this is our first month as a book club, I’m still in the process of figuring out which way is going to work best.

There are currently two options you could go for, that I think will work best.

First option:

Do you have a wordpress blog of your own? Then simply write the review on your own blog with the title of the book in the subject, then in the tags put ‘longreadersbookclub’ so I can track it and reblog it onto this site.

The review should ideally be 100-300 words, but if you have a lot to say, then please do so!

An example of the title would be something like [Book discussion] Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic. But go crazy!

Second Option:

Don’t have a wordpress blog? Or simply don’t want to post it yourself? Then, drop me an email (longreadersbookclub@gmail.com) and I’ll post it onto the blog myself.

The format should be similar to this, which can be found on the Contact page:

Subject:

[Book Review] Month and Book Title + Author.

Body of email:

Name

Social Media (If you want to!)

Did you like the book?

100-300 words on your thoughts of the book.

 

If you could post your discussion by the 31st of May, 10pm BST that would be wonderful, but for people in later timezones, then I’ll look for anything on the tags on the 1st. So, please don’t think I’m ignoring you!

I’m not anticipating a lot for the first month, which is fine, but hopefully we can inspire some great discussion this month and over the coming months!