All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
Five words from the blurb: politics, American, community, corruption, success
I really wanted to finish this classic, but after 6 months I think I must finally admit defeat. I started to read the paperback, but found the dialogue confusing. I wondered if this would be improved by the audio version so I imported a copy from America (at great expense as I really did want to get the best from it) but, although this was an improvement, I still found the story painfully slow. Politicians and their power games irritate me and I’m afraid the period detail wasn’t enough to hold my attention. I listened to 9/18 of the CDs before finally giving up. It’s an important book, but it wasn’t for me.
Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Five words from the blurb: letters, married, family, facts, changes
Dept of Speculation is a slim book in which the story of one woman’s breakdown is explained via a series of passages, most just one paragraph long. I don’t normally enjoy experimental books, but there was something about the writing that compelled me to read on. I loved the inclusion of random facts and sped through the entire book in a single sitting. Unfortunately it had no lasting impact and just two weeks on I’ve forgotten almost everything about this book. It’s an entertaining distraction, but I’m afraid it didn’t have the emotional power I like to see.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson
Five words from the blurb: teenager, dies, heart, transplanted, stranger
The Tell-Tale Heart began really well, with an emotional scene in which a man wakes up after heart surgery. Unfortunately this emotional atmosphere failed to be carried through the rest of the book. It was all a bit predictable and ordinary. There were a few interesting observations about life, but overall it was all too simple and subtle for me.