104 in 52 update

Books I have read this month that I can put towards my total…

The Mystery of Mercy Close  by Marian Keyes. I listened to this on an MP3 and thoroughly enjoyed this meandering mystery through the slightly manic mind of Marian Keyes voiced perfectly by Caroline Lennon.  I enjoyed “the mystery” and I was also entertained by the intertwined story of Helen Walsh’s romantic life and fascinated by the author’s  description of her character’s serious depression.  It seemed to go on rather long…but that could have been because I was only listening in 20 minute snippets on the way to and from work. 

Life after Life – Kate Atkinson.  You have to keep an open mind for this one.  Kate Atkinson explores the idea of what would happen if we could re-live our lives over and over until we got it right.  Despite the far-fetched premise of the book this was an absorbing read.  The main character was a strong woman whose future depended so much on what happened to her rather than how she reacted to it that it was almost disheartening.  Kate Atkinson always writes something worth reading whether it is historical fiction or detective fiction.   Look out for it in the Hotreads stand.

And now for something completely different.  As a refresher before I go and see the film version of Mr Pip I thought I would read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens so I can pick up all the references to it in the film.  I never expected to find Dickens so amusing and have thoroughly enjoyed following the life of Pip and meeting the usual cast of eccentric Dickens’ characters.   The Mr Pip book by Lloyd Jones is also recommended – or see the film starring Hugh Laurie.

It has taken me a while to pick up this book despite all the recommendations I have had for it.  It was so engrossing I finished it over one weekend.  In Gone Girl Gillian Flynn gives us a thriller that manages to dissect a marriage at the same time – showing us the darkest thoughts and manipulations in a partnership that has turned into a dangerous game.  No-one is quite as they seem as we explore the internal world of Nick and Ursula and try and fathom the truth from the creative imaginations of the characters.  Gillian Flynn has taken some of the most unhealthy aspects of relationships and amped them up ten-fold to create an atmosphere of paranoia and mis-trust – and I loved it!  Film version is coming in October.

A colleague told me about these things called MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and the website Coursera (thanks Timothy) and I am now doing an Introduction to Philosophy course which has me searching for background information on ancient philosophers.  Philosophy for life by Jules Evans explores the ideas of the ancient philosophers, one per chapter, and discusses how we can use these ideas in our own lives to make them happier and richer.  Jules Evans is co-organiser of the London Philosophy Club, and the founder of http://www.thephilosophyhub.com, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project to research and promote philosophy groups worldwide.  Interesting.