Quick summary of books I’ve tried recently

Sea Creatures

Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel

Five words from the blurb: Miami, domestic, drama, scandal, disappointment

I bought this book to read in Florida, but unfortunately being in this book’s setting didn’t add to its appeal. The writing was nothing special and the characters were so ordinary/flat that I didn’t care about them. Recommended to those who enjoy relationship based reads of a lighter nature.


Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women

Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

Five words from the blurb: women, Middle East, veils, research, intimate

Fascinating insight into the lives of women living in the Middle East. Much of this book feels dated, but I learnt so much that this didn’t matter. Recommended to anyone who’d like to learn more about Islamic women.


Fourth of July Creek

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Five words from the blurb: social worker, American, wilderness, family, conflicts

I loved the first half of the book in which we see a social worker performing his difficult, but rewarding work. The writing was outstanding – Henderson has the rare ability to make even the simplest scenes spring to life. Unfortunately I lost interest towards the end. It became more of a police procedural thriller and much of the initial intimacy was lost. Recommended to anyone who appreciates good writing.


Orfeo by Richard Powers

Five words from the blurb: music, research, police, hysteria, audience

Fantastic writing and wonderfully original concept, but as I’m not very knowledgeable about music I felt that much of the wisdom of this book went over my head. If you’re a fan of music, particularly classical, then you’ll love this.


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  1. Sandy says:

    I’m definitely interested in the Geraldine Brooks book. She really does an amazing job in her research.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Yes, I love her writing. I just wish I’d read this when it was first published as so much as changed in the world since then.

  2. I’m going to look into Fourth of July Creek further, so thanks. Too bad about Sea Creatures; I had that on my wishlist since I used to live in Florida and thought it would be a fun read. I appreciate your candor.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rita, I would describe Sea Creatures as a fun read – I just prefer a bit more depth. Give it a try anyway!

  3. Teresa says:

    I have Nine Parts of Desire on my keepers shelf – one of the few who make the final cut! I have Fourth of July Creek on my “to be read very soon” pile.

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I can see why it’s a keeper – I just wish she’d do an updated version. I look forward to comparing notes on July Creek – I hope you enjoy it!

  4. David says:

    I agree with you on ‘Fourth of July Creek’, Jackie – the writing is great, he has such an original voice. Plot-wise it reminded me a bit of another American book from this year – Peter Heller’s ‘The Painter’ (oddly not yet published here despite the hype that surrounded his debut a couple of years ago). Heller too has an equally distinct – albeit quite different – style, but both feature similar protagonists involved in stories that gain a thriller-like intensity and play out against similar landscapes.

    I’ve had Susanna Daniel’s ‘Stiltsville’ on my Amazon wishlist for years so when I saw you were reading ‘Sea Creatures’ I was keen to see what you made of her writing. I was worried it might be a bit light, so it looks like I made the right decision in never buying it!

    1. Jackie says:

      David, I’ve not heard of ‘The Painter’ so that shows how little attention that book is getting. Not sure it is for me, but thanks for letting me know about it.

      I don’t think Daniel is for you – the writing quality isn’t great. I’d stay away!

  5. I was only thinking the other day about Nine parts of desire and wondering whether it still works of would feel dated. I’m so glad you answered that question. I loved it when I read it which was not exactly when it came out but within a few years. I remember thinking what a shame it was only about muslim women in the Middle East did include those in Asia, but of course the Middle East is where she was.

    1. Jackie says:

      Whispering Gums, I wish I’d read it when it came out. It is such an informative book and I’m really glad I read it, but so much has changed since it was written. I wish she’s write an updated version. Or I agree one about women from other areas of the world would be good too.

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