Another book catch up, sorry!
May was a slightly better effort with 7 books read.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson was a really good read. I have seen the film version (The Haunting) with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta Jones many years ago when it was out at the cinema, and it goes without saying the book is better! I had never read a book by Jackson before and I really got the bug. I loved her gothic storytelling, and the use of the building as a character which maybe sounds odd but if you've read this then it makes sense I swear!
The Martian by Andy Weir finally provided an explanation about the film (which I haven't seen) being nominated as a comedy. It is really rather humorous, and you cannot fail to fall in love with the character of Mark Watney the disaster attracting, wise cracking, regular Joe. I absolutely cannot imagine having the internal strength to survive being left on Mars, and I was on the edge of my seat right up to the end. I also may have cried a tiny bit at the end.
The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kis was a birthday gift, and sadly I didn't really enjoy it all too much. Short stories are always hit and miss for me, but this was just not really my jam. My other half enjoyed it though so not all is lost! Kis is Yugoslavian, and his translated work is likened to Borges and other Eastern European writers I would not be interested in picking up. Mostly it was just a bit boring.
We Were Liars by E Lockhart was one that had been on my radar for a while and finally picked it up at the library. A group of kids spend their summers on their Grandparent's private Island and are spoiled and rich. One of the group suffers from a kind of temporary mental illness and finds it hard to remember what happened on the island one eventful summer. It was a quick read, I didn't work out the ending until quite near the end - an all round enjoyable YA read.
Devotion by Ros Barber was spotted on the shelf at the library and called to me. I totally judge books by their covers (well I get compelled to pick them up) and this had my name all over it! I love the beautiful watercolour skulls in a big way. The story is set in the near future (specifically ten years after the death of Richard Dawkins) where religious fundamentalism is considered a mental illness. The most interesting part of the book is the concept that a medical procedure can give you a religious experience of the "God spoke to me" kind. I really enjoyed the story, a very happy accident!
Clock Without Hands by Carson McCullers is an interesting read, slightly eccentric characters make the novel more interesting than it would be if the characters were normal. Sadly I cannot help but compare all of Carson's work to "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter" which is one of the best books I have ever read, and this book isn't as good. The racial injustices described within the story are still relevant today and really are rather saddening, an odd but poignant read.
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn is a very short story originally published as part of a collection. It is enjoyable, but ultimately I would have preferred it expanded into a full length novel which I think it very easily could have been. It also relies on the atmosphere of the house in which the story finishes off to enable it to have a little bit more punch to it, which I did enjoy especially after the Shirley Jackson.
Overall I enjoyed most of the books I read during the month, and spoiler alert - I got more Shirley Jackson out from the library because I loved her style so much!