I’ve just finished reading Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, the eighth in the Richard and Judy’s Book club list. Set on a tropical island under siege, it tells the tale of Mr. Watts, the last white man on the island, attempts to educate the village children, using nothing more than a copy of Great Expectations and the collective wisdom of the children’s parents. I loved most of this book, you could almost feel the scorching sun on your skin and the sand on your bare feet. The book itself feels nice to hold (unlike the arm breaking The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters which I still haven’t got round to finishing) and the cover art is beautiful. The climax (which I of course won’t tell you what it is) is incredibly moving but I felt what let the book down was that the story continues for about 20 pages after the climax, following what happened to the child narrator afterwards, I would have preferred to have been left with my imagination. Due to those last pages, in my own personal ‘best of Richard and Judy list’, Mister Pip fell from first to third place.
- A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory – every page grips you, scares you and tears at your heart.
- The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon – a very close second, it is deeply and beautifully researched invoking the sites, sounds and smells of the Crimean War.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones – a lovely little story of bravery and island life, let down in my opinion by it’s final 20 pages.
- Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann – the description of the journey across Siberia is epic.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – a very vivid description of life at a terrible period of time in Afghanistan’s history.
- Notes from an exhibition by Patrick Gale – just not my sought of book, far too ‘cosy’.
- Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris – argh this is hard, I liked this book but Notes from an exhibition was more flawlessly written in my opinion.
- The Visible World by Mark Slouka – I’m sorry, but for me this book dragged.