Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho

My first, and I think my last, taste of Paulo Coelho. Just a little too whimsical for me, with the none-too-subtle subtext telling the reader that they should make the most of their life in a rather patronising Pollyanna style. A few interesting character and a sympathetic slovenian setting just about saved it, as did the slight 191 pages.

Glad it was a flat-clear-out-loan from Hazel.

Buy it: Amazon link

The Bookseller of Kabul – Asne Seierstad

An inspired birthday present from Karen, read in a flash. I’d been put off from buying it by the later reivews, which emphasised the misogynic aspects of Afghan society. I’m glad Karen got it for me – it’s a good read and provides insights into history, society, culture and personal relationships, told through tales from a family’s life over the past 20 odd years. It’s an uncomfortable read at times – but then the Khan clan live in a very different world from mine.

Buy it: Amazon link

Back When We Were Grownups – Anne Tyler

Another Anne Tyler classic: a window into the world and thoughts of Rebecca Davitch – all american mom, step-mum, grandmother and the centre of her married-into family – as she wonders whether she made the right choice between college sweetheart Will and long-dead husband Joe.

I think of Anne Tyler is the american equivalent of Anita Brookner – although I’m not sure if that would hold up to literary criticism!

Buy it: Amazon link