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On Our Bedside Table: 2 Thrillers, 1 Debut Novel, 1 Feel Good Novel and a Trick

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On Our Bedside Table: 2 Thrillers, 1 Debut Novel, 1 Feel Good Novel and a Trick

Nutreats
Book Recommendations October

Our Book Recommendations October 2020 Part 3 are here.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Reviewed by Zissy

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

In a Nutshell

This thriller follows the two main protagonists from 1931 all the way to 1992. Harper Curtis is a violent drifter who in 1931 stumbled on a house with a shocking secret. It opens onto other times, like a magical time machine. He uses that to stalk his “shining girls” across decades to cut the fire out of them. He seems unstoppable and untraceable until Kirby Mazrachi, one of his victims survives and sets out to find him. Her search turns obsessive to the point the police will no longer talk to her. Her only ally is Dan, the ex-homicide reporter, now burnt out, who covered her story.

 

Bookclub Notes

Lauren Beukes’ thrillers came highly recommended and after reading my first one, I see why. I was gripped within a few pages and read the book with my heart in my stomach and eyes bugged out. It’s a mind twisting, stomach churning, dark thriller that doesn’t let up until the final page. It’s being turned into a major TV series which I already know I won’t watch, it’ll give me nightmares; but as a book it was just the right amount of scary and creepy that makes a thriller truly thrilling.

 

A line that stuck with me

There are only so many plots in the world. It’s how they unfold that makes them interesting.

 

Not to Mention by Vivian de Klerk

Reviewed by Zissy

Not to Mention by Vivian de Klerk

In a Nutshell

Katy Ferreira is about to turn 21. It’s a time that should be a celebration but it’s not for her. Katy hasn’t left her house in 8 years, her bedroom, in fact her actual bed in 2 years. At 360 kilograms she simply cannot. To pass the time, Katy does the crosswords in the Herald newspaper her mother brings to her along with all her favourite foods – biscuits, pies, chocolate and fizzy cooldrinks. All the while praying for the much-needed insulin and a solution to her plight.

Eventually, Katy begins to compile her own mega crossword made up of clues that hint at what her life is like being the “fat girl”, emotional eating, her lonely childhood and declining health. What begins as a crossword turns into a diary-memoir that uncovers dark family secrets and Katy’s own voice.

 

Bookclub Notes

I read this after the Shining Girls, and I bring that up because a line that stuck with me from that book was “There are only so many plots in the world. It’s how they unfold that makes them interesting”. That line kept on popping up in my mind as I read Not to Mention because the plot was unlike any other I’ve read. Yes, I’ve read books that have an under or overlying theme of weight and the loneliness of being the fat person; but never one with a plot and character like this one. It’s a completely original storyline and one of the few books I’ve read that revolve around one person (and in this case happen in just one room) that truly captivates you. It’s an astonishing, tragic and downright compulsive read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

It’s the debut novel from Vivian de Klerk, a professor emeritus of Linguistics at Rhodes University. You can feel her love of words and word games woven in the story and she uses it brilliantly in Katy in a way that makes her endearing, witty and bright.

 

A line that stuck with me

From head to toe, watch for the signs. If you don’t use it, you lose it.

 

Written in Blood by Chris Carter

Reviewed by Feige

Written in Blood by Chris Carter

In a Nutshell

Professional pickpocket Angela Wood steals a bag to teach a man a lesson. When she opens it, she discovers a journal belonging to a serial killer who will stop at nothing to get it back. When the journal lands up on detective Robert Hunter’s desk, he’s on a race against time to stop the killer before he strikes next and Angela is at the top of his list.

 

Bookclub Notes

This is an incredibly gripping read and thrilling thriller. Despite the ending being somewhat predictable, it’s a true page turner that makes you want to find out what happens next.

My only word of caution is that you should enjoy serial killer style thrillers if you’re going to pick this up. If you tend to shy away from dark reads, this will probably be too much for you as there are a lot of disturbing and gory scenes.

 

A line that stuck with me

Not so much a line but the dedication of this book really made an impression on me. Not only did Chris Carter dedicate the book to everyone who lost their battle with COVID-19, but the main dedication was to his late partner Kara who passed away last year. He said that it was very difficult to finish writing it. For anyone who has lost someone close to them and is familiar with the foggy state that follows in which merely existing feels like a gargantuan task, it’s mind blowing that he was able to push himself to complete it and complete it well.

 

The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble

Reviewed by Feige

The Family Holiday by Elizabeth Noble

In a Nutshell

The Chamberlain family used to be close until Daphne died. Widowed Charlie can’t help but remember the happier times when his wife, the backbone of the family, was alive. He tries to bring his drifting children together by planning a family holiday for his eightieth birthday. They all say yes and set out on a 10-day journey rediscovering who each of them are. Will it bring them closer together or drift them further apart?

 

See Also

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Bookclub Notes

The family Holiday is a very pleasant novel that has a good mix of reality and fantasy. Elizabeth Noble tells the story from each character’s point of view and somehow manages to create characters that are intensely likeable despite their flaws. There’s no one that you won’t be routing for.

 

A line that stuck with me

How would you say goodbye to someone if you knew it really was goodbye?

 

The Trick by William Leith

Reviewed by Feige

The Trick by William Leith

In a Nutshell

William Leith writes about rich people for a living. By reflecting on his time spent with the mega wealthy like the real Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, Howard Schultz, Leon Max, Alan Sugar, Felix Dennis and others, he sets out to discover what makes them wealthy and why he is not. It’s a story about money and what it means and takes to be rich.

 

Bookclub Notes

First and foremost, it must be said that William Leith is an exceptionally good writer. He gripped me from page one with his humour and astuteness and despite the book feeling like it was a rollercoaster through his very plagued mind, the brilliance carried on throughout the 212 pages.

This book reminded me of the movie Inception (which I loved) in an odd way. To me the book is about thoughts in his head, but William Leith doesn’t just have thoughts. He has thoughts that have thoughts that have thoughts. It is such a tangled web that it is amazing that he is able to weed through the maize of thinking and get back to the point. It made me question whether my mind is too calmly simple while simultaneously being relieved that it is.

The ending is profound, simple but brilliant and makes the entire journey more than worth it.

 

A line that stuck with me

I’d love to quote some of the ending (which I keep on sharing with anyone who will listen) but I don’t want to ruin it for you so instead I’m sharing the introduction passage that drew me in.

 

I’ve never told anyone this, but I have a mental disorder in the area of finance. I am driven by a mechanism designed to prevent me from being rich; worse it masquerades as a mechanism designed to do exactly the opposite. It is an enemy agent, it lies deep in the wiring of my brain, and I don’t know how it works. I know I need to dismantle this mechanism and replace it with a new one, before I die a pauper’s death.”

 

Shop our Book Recommendations October 2020 Part 3

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