When I was perusing the longlist for this year’s booker prize, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet immediately jumped out at me. Like a sixth sense, I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. The title intrigued me as did the cover. I felt like I need to know more, because this book had to be about more than a murder in a crofting community in Scotland if it was award worth…right? Read more
I can’t believe it’s already August! That means it’s time for Books I Read In July, your monthly instalment of books I rate or hate! This month I had a split personality when it came to reading. I alternated between two serious non-fiction and two fun fiction books. Read more
The books I read in May definitely reflected the changing spring weather. With the sun finally showing himself in England I couldn’t resist books which were upbeat and happy (with the exception of the murder mystery!) Read more
What is it that makes us choose a book do you think? It’s quite an important decision really, if you get it right, think of the hours, days, weeks, of joy you will get out of it. If it’s wrong, well let’s not dwell on that! If you are anything like me, then you’ll like to think you make this decision solely on the contents of the book, its pedigree, its life-changing message, and a whole list of other reasons that make you feel a lot more profound than you actually are. Maybe this doesn’t sound familiar to you and if not I salute you. I really do, because in reality, my decisions on what books I buy usually go more along the lines of; “Ooh! That looks pretty!” I’m a sucker for packaging, which is why penguin’s new cloth bound classics are right up my street, it’s a classic…but it’s pretty! See where I’m going with this? With “An Abundance of Katherines”, however, my reasoning was even more simplistic. It went a little like this;
“THAT BOOK HAS MY NAME ON IT!”
For anyone who hasn’t got a name with approximately 45630 different spellings, this might not mean anything to you. As a Katherine, not a Kathryn, Katharine or even a Catherine, however, it was enough to grab my attention. I didn’t even stop to read the blurb, I ran (ok that maybe an exaggeration) to the till and bought the book, hastily explaining to the cashier that it had my name on it, and that was why I was buying it.
That was a long preamble, but now we’ll get down to business.
I inhaled this book. Like, started this book on Friday evening and finished it around 10 am Saturday morning, kind of inhaled. You may have heard of John Green because of his novel “The Fault in Our Stars” but I highly recommend you try this book over that one. It’s not as heavy, but it still grapples with important coming of age problems like “Do I matter?” The story centres around Colin, an “anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy” and his best friend Hassan, who are in that awkward stage between finishing school and making the next step in their lives. You know, the “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” stage Britney warbled about…minus the cheesiness, and sweeping Grand Canyon shots. Both boys take off on a road trip, of undetermined destination, to help Colin get over being dumped by the 19th Katherine he’s dated, and in the process “find themselves”. It’s kind of like every teenage film you’ve ever seen, only in book form, and well written.
This book was funny, touching, quirky and all that you want in a coming of age type of book. It’s full of quotable lines, and as I read I found myself feeling that it would really translate well into a film. In Colin, I think Green created just the right mix of self absorption and little boy lost, to really get across the difference between being a child, and not being one any more, and how hard the transition can feel sometimes. Colin seemed like an exaggerated version of every teenager (in that he’s a child prodigy) but he’s still faced with the same problem of what comes next. It’s a modern day “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, if you will. I feel an honourable mention must also be made to Hassan whose humorous one-liners really keep the novel going, he was complex enough to warrant his own book I think.
So, maybe it was serendipity that lead me to this book. Maybe books with the name Katherine on are just better than other books, who knows! But I’m glad I bumped this one to the top of my to-read pile.