Truth Be Told: Lie With Me

This is the second book of this nature that I’ve read this year, where the protagonist is fundamentally unlikable. I must have an ingrained Disney meter that prefers a book without devious characters reigning supreme, as I found myself disheartened by the character’s flaws and general shifty behaviour.

That being said, Lie With Me is an ideal holiday page-turner as the setting lends itself to being a beach book. Having managed to convince his girlfriend to invite him along on their family holiday to Greece, Paul attempts to turn each situation to his advantage as he tries to play the family. Little does he know that there are other forces at work and his deception is working in tandem with another.

Maybe I’m too much of a goody-two-shoes, but I prefer stories where the characters live happily ever after.

Lie With Me: Sabine Durant

Game On: Ready Player One

I don’t know how I missed the hype on this, but I thought I’d somehow uncovered a hidden gem once I started reading Ready Player One. Of course I had, but what I didn’t appreciate was the immense following the book had already built.

Working in marketing, I am constantly challenged to look at the new trends and fads that are taking hold, which at the moment of course is virtual reality – there’s no escaping it.

Therefore I was taken aback at how relevant this book is, even for the year 2017. With no distinction between reality and the virtual one, this book takes a glance to our future and makes a very justifiable stab at how we may be living.

This in itself is quite a terrifying thought. We are awestruck by the virtual worlds we can create in 2017, and it only takes a couple more leaps-and-bounds before Ready Player One is no longer a sci-fi novel but a factual text.

The fantastic entwining of the past in 1980 and the not-so-distant future of 2044 perfectly shapes the novel. We are able to look back in history and nod at these details, whilst dreaming about the paths we may take in 30 years time.

Having grown up in the 90s, although the references are firmly rooted in the disco decade, I see parts of my childhood creeping into the pages; the etch-a-sketch, Ferris Bueller’s Big Day Off, and a DeLorean with a Ghostbusters logo printed on its famous winged doors.

Ready Player One is an enticing sci-fi adventure, with (geeky) wit, a lot of pop-culture references, plenty of action, and a climatic finale. So it comes as no surprise that we’ll soon be seeing trailers for the Steven Spielberg adaptation, which will no doubt take the world by storm.

Ready Player One: Ernest Cline

Bookworm on the 7.01: Reader on the 6.27

For the past couple of months I have been plugging away at a book that has been a struggle to muster any sort of enthusiasm to read. So it was nice to change my reading fortunes by picking up a book in the morning, engaging with the characters, feeling that my heart had been warmed, and finishing it that same evening.

Sharing the same sweet, sentimental storytelling of The President’s Hat or the Little Prince, The Reader on the 6.27 is a lovely story of how we often stumble across people who share the same loves as we do, in the most unexpected places.

Guylain’s mission to find the woman that he instantly connects with through the writing of her diary, his conversations with his best friend Rouget de Lisle (the goldfish), and his public readings to the old women of a local care home, all provide a child like innocence to the protagonist. Therefore it’s easy to connect with his story and be compelled to keep reading.

Starting my day on the 7am flight to Geneva, I liked to think I was part of Guylain’s audience, as he read the pages of the books he’d saved from the pulping machine, alongside his other early morning listeners.

It was lovely to read a positive story of being passionate about something and sharing it with those around you.

Reader on the 6.27: Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

Second Place for Second Life

Before I start my review for SJ Watson’s follow up to Before I Go To Sleep, I want to emphasise how skilled a writer I think he is. Before I Go To Sleep was poorly adapted into film but the novel was one of the best I had read in 2015. It was suspenseful, tense and the definition of a page-turner.

Flick forward one year and I have just completed his second novel; Second Life. Rather than the mysterious atmosphere created in his debut, Watson seemed to get caught up in minor details that felt heavy and irrelevant. I felt as though I was wading through a secondary plot to find clues to the main story, which seemed to have been forgotten. I was also frustrated by the protagonist, who seemingly fell into an affair without any sort of consideration for the consequences – hey maybe I’m too much of a goody two shoes!

Second Life had an interesting subplot, though I suspect it was supposed to be the main attraction. The element of murder mystery was what kept me hooked rather than the love affair on the surface. It would have been interesting if the other characters had been more developed as I felt disconnected to her family and her friends and as a result felt little remorse to the mistakes they made.

It wasn’t a chore to read this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend. It will be a book I forget, unlike Before I Go To Sleep, which ironically is principally based around the loss of memories. Second Life won’t get a second chance from me.

Second Life: SJ Watson