Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Am Reading


So I am writing, but there’s always time for reading. Here, in handy list form for ease of use, are my latest five-star books:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love was a Marmite book. Some loved it, others hated it. I was amongst the lovers. But that aside, the raging success of E,P,L gave Gilbert the money and time to research and write The Signature of All Things, which is the book she was born to write. It is the big, bold, open-hearted story of Alma Whittaker, a nineteenth century botanist whose research takes her in the same direction as Charles Darwin’s. Gilbert says she was inspired by Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, in which the author writes historical fiction with a modern sensibility. This was exactly what I loved about Gilbert’s novel. I also loved it on sentence level. There was deep, deep sentence jealousy.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Lauren is a superbly talented South African writer. Her last couple of books have gone to auction at Frankfurt Book Fair and earned her huge advances. She is a genre-busting wild child, presently sporting pink hair. Her latest is set in Detroit and focuses on the efforts of a female detective to find a serial killer. What starts as a crime novel spirals into a deftly managed horror story. It is vast in imagination and bold in its reflection of the twenty-first century sensibility, replete (in a good way) with Facebook posts, Reddit conversations and journalists manipulating the Internet for cheap fame. Stephen King should look to his laurels.

Eleanor Marx: A Life by Rachel Holmes

Loved this. Marx’s big-hearted youngest child got most of her schooling at her father’s feet, and grew up to be a tireless trade unionist, journalist, writer and campaigner before committing suicide in her forties. She forced the suffragettes to consider working women in their campaigns, forced British trade unionism to be more international and fought on every side for workers’ rights. She is a fascinating human being and Holmes does a great job bringing her to life. If we’re talking modern sensibility, then Tussy (as was her nickname) was the epitome of this with her absolute refusal to countenance the mores of her time.

All my Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

I am an unabased Toews fan. I love everything she writes, mostly because no matter how tragic the subject matter, it is always thread through with dark dark humour. The same goes for her latest novel, about two sisters, emotional refugees from the Canadian Mennonites, who have gone on to make their lives outside the sect – Elfrieda as a concert pianist, and Yolanda as a messed-up normal person. Most of the story is told at Elfrieda’s bedside in a mental institution where she is recovering from her latest suicide attempt and contemplating her next. Witty, tragic, beautiful. This book is hard not to love.



Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

5 thoughts on “Am Reading

  1. Thanks for the suggestions. BYW, I ordered Balthasar’s Gift from Amazon and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I am looking forward to more about Maggie and her life although I would like to think that she will be able to get a handle on the alcohol soon.

  2. Glad you’re enjoying it! Thanks for ordering. Will take a note on the alcohol …

  3. セックスに飽き、互いに空気のような存在になっても多くが離婚しないのは、その頃には子供ができているから、に過ぎない。 それを棚に上げ相手に高きを求めるようだと心を見透かされいつまで経っても独りなんだろな。
    桃栗さん(女性 37歳 O型 東京都) 2014年05月20日(火) 20時36分 人生をじっくり選択中。幸せの形は自分で決めますp(^-^)q♪ 結婚できない男 最終回

    つか、上限つけてる俺はハッピーメールを 祝儀が少ないとか気にする奴は、金持ちになれん 阿部寛結婚できない男
    時には口に出して言っていました。彼に直接言えない言葉。 まぁそれほどの心の狭い男だったというのが分かったから良かったけど。

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