3, 2, 1, Go!

I’m feeling ridiculously pleased with myself today because I’ve come up with my very own book meme! My plan is to reflect on my reading at the end of each month, highlighting:

three books that have stood out for me for whatever reason;

two blog posts from other bloggers that I would like to share; and

one book that I hope to read in the following month. Here goes:

3

Due to having a virus this month, I have only recently been able to concentrate enough to read. Fortunately, I still have three great books to highlight. One is Danya Kukafka’s Girl in Snow, an intense and character-driven thriller set in Colorado where the main question is not ‘whodunnit?’ so much as ‘can anyone ever really know anyone else?’ or ‘is obsession love?’. This is an impressive debut novel and you can read my review of it here.

An essential read, particularly for readers in the UK, is Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey, a Scottish rapper who also goes by the name of Loki. Poverty Safari is in part a memoir of his childhood (very different from, and much more dangerous than my own Scottish working-class childhood) and it is also a searing examination of the effects of poverty. I disagree with some of what he writes but his writing grabs the reader’s attention and demands a response. See here for my review.

My third book choice will be of interest to Christians: New Testament scholar Klyne R Snodgrass’s book, Who God Says You Are, is I think hugely important for Christians and church leaders. Snodgrass does not hesitate to point out the wrongheadedness of those who think becoming a Christian need not entail any meaningful change in their lives and he exposes the hypocrisy of those who believe that they can somehow be Christian and racist. My review is here.

2

Again, because I have been floored by a virus, I haven’t read many blog posts this month. One I was enchanted by was a photo-post by author Guinevere Glasfurd, of her residency at a writer’s colony in New Hampshire. Her photographs are stunning, showing snowfall of fairytale depths, and the post includes a link on how artists can apply to stay at MacDowell Colony – you can look at the post here.

Another fascinating post for me is on the Leaves and Pages blog about Alan Garner’s The Owl Service. Despite knowing no Welsh mythology, this book was an absolute favourite of mine, that I read probably annually between the ages of about 10 and 14. I remember feeling very proud of myself when I realised that the domineering figure of Alison’s mother never actually appears on the page, with all her directives and force coming from ‘off-stage’ (but it may have been my second or even later reading before this occurred to me!) What makes this post so special for me is that it shows the actual plate design that inspired Alan Garner, a design that I pondered over a great deal as a young teenager – you can see the post and the plate here. Hmm, dare I re-read this book as an adult or would I find myself disappointed in The Owl Service?

owl service

1

In February, I am really looking forward to reading The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson. So far my Scandic crime reading is limited to Jo Nesbo (which I enjoyed until I overdosed on his books by reading too many too quickly) and the Lisbeth Salander books by Stieg Larsson (managed to stagger through them despite increasingly disliking them). I was lucky enough to win a copy of The Darkness on twitter, courtesy of Penguin UK, and I’m hoping it will be amazing – I’ll let you know!

20180120_055034.jpg
Grr, couldn’t get tweet to embed fully, this is a screenshot

Go!

Over to you! I’d love to know your book and blog suggestions. If anyone would like to take part, please feel free to name your choices in the comments section, or send me a link to your 3, 2, 1, Go! blogpost.

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