new releases, reviews

Autumn Preview: Update!

A quite while back now (September, yikes) I had a little look ahead to some of the books that I was excited about this autumn.  And now I’ve read a few of my picks, I thought it was time to give you an update in the form of a bonus post…

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (6 October)

I was worried about hating this, but this is neither good Semple or bad Semple – it’s somewhere in between. But the good news here, is that I’ve worked out what I like about Maria Semple’s writing and what I don’t.  I don’t like being inside the head of her female leads – they’re self-centred, middle-aged quirky-to-the-point-of-irritation and they drive me crazy.  But viewed through the eyes of someone else (more normal) they can be funny and touching.  And that’s why I liked …Bernadette – because she’s not there for most of the time and it’s Bee who’s trying to work out what’s going on.   This didn’t make me tear my hair out like This One is Mine did, but it did make me vaguely annoyed.  So lesson for the future:  if Semple’s next book is written from the perspective of  a woman with children then I won’t bother reading it.

The Wangs vs The World by Jade Chang (3 November)

Well I liked this, but I didn’t love it.  May be I was reading it too soon after Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, or maybe the fractured elbow was impeding my sense of humour.  I think my problem is that there wasn’t a family member that I loved – and I wanted to fall in love with one (or more of them).  Each of them has a frustration (or two) about them which stopped me from embracing this as fully as some of the people I’ve heard recommending it have.  It’s a good road trip book and it was funny in places, but it wasn’t hilarious.  And I really wanted it to be.

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch (3 November)

I loved this so much. So much.  There’s magic, and the super-rich and posh school kids and all sorts of new complications.  If you like the other books in the series, I suspect you’ll like this – but the overarching story is not finished yet and there is a frustration that comes with that, along with a delight that there should/will be more from Peter and the Folly.  I read it too quickly – once I started reading it that is – and now I suspect I may have a long wait until the next installment appears.  I’ll have to console myself with the graphic novels in the interim.

I still haven’t read Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson (22 September) or How to Party with an Infant by Kuai Hart Hemmings (8 September) because I haven’t managed to get copies of them yet, but I live in hope that one or both of them may appear in my Christmas stocking…

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