Stumbled through a pile of books across the last couple of months that I didn't hit it off with and which I duly ditched somewhere between page 40 and page 80. I don't get on well with books that are too full of naval-gazing introspection, where 5 pages might focus on opening a pair of curtains (especially if there's no surprise waiting behind them), or where the characters are so insipidly unengaging that it'd be more interesting to watch paint dry than turn one more page in their company.
Instead, I'm always looking for fiction that's entertaining, but fast-paced; has action, but is thought-provoking; that takes risks, but carries me with it; where the language is fresh and exciting, and where I give a damn about the characters.
One of the novels I stuck with recently was Nick Hornby's How To Be Good. It's the first Nick Hornby I've read and it was especially refreshing to come across such a book during this slump and enjoy the superb craftsmanship of his writing - to see how it could be done.
According to her own complex moral calculations, Katie Carr has earned her affair. She's a doctor, after all, and doctors are decent people, and on top of that her husband David is the self-styled Angriest Man in Holloway. When David suddenly becomes good, however - properly, maddeningly, give-away-all-his-money good - Katie's sums no longer add up, and she is forced to ask herself some very hard questions...
Have added recently to my tottering book tower with a couple of titles I've been wanting to read for a long while: Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle and J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey. I'm a BIG fan of Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye - they certainly fulfil all those qualities I mentioned above - and so I'm particularly looking forward to tucking into these two.