Book Reviews: Our Favourite reads during lockdown 

At the beginning of “lockdown” , I found it difficult to concentrate on serious books  and was reading easy “beach reads” , but as time went on I went back to being able to read all genre of books . Many reading friends said the same . These reviews are from members of Benvenuto’s 2 book clubs (lending libraries). 

The Levant Trilogy : Fortunes of War (review by Kate Icke)

Olivia Manning

The book which most made me forget my surroundings and general depressing situation during lockdown. A volume picked from my top shelves at home which tells of  WW II in Egypt and the Levant as seen through the eyes of two very different British people.  It is the second part of an opus entitled The Fortunes of War, the first part is entitled The Balkan Trilogy and is worth reading first if possible.  It has been described by Anthony Burgess as the finest fictional record of the war produced by a British writer.  All I can say is that it took my mind off Covid 19 et al and is a jolly good read! 

 

Killer's of the Flower Moon (review by Frances Gironi)

David Grann

Informative non fiction detailing the founding of the FBI by Edgar Hoover. Recounts the long, complicated investigation, and subsequent trial into how the Red Indian Osage tribe were being killed off by a scheming man, intent to gain possession of the oil deposits (the first discovered in N. America) in Oklahoma, the rights to which belonged to the Osage Tribe.

Lady in Waiting : Autobiography (review by Frances Gironi)

Anne Glenconner

I am always interested in inside stories regarding the Royals.  This is the life of Anne Glencomer, daughter of an earl,  married to an eccentric lord.  She grew up in the family stately home, next door to the Royal Family's Sandringham residence, the children were close friends as well as neighbours. Anne's life is full of interesting episodes:   maid of honour at the Coronation, appointed as lady in waiting

 to Princess Margaret, the purchase and development of Mustique into a luxury exclusive paradise island, among other events.

She was disinherited on the death of her husband,  in favour of an employee.

The Hoarder (review by Patricia Macnamara)

Jess Kidd

I’ve read a couple that were ok plus a couple by an author called Jess Kidd, one in particular called The Hoarder, which I think I especially enjoyed as I also have those tendencies .

The Women in the White Kimono (review by Elda Elvedese)

Ana Johns 

It's the portrait of a woman torn between her Japanese culture and her love for an American sailor . I liked this exploration of the cultural divide, set in a remote seaside Japanese village at the end of the World War II.

A Single Thread (review by Ingrid Benvenuti)

Tracy Chevalier

I loved "A Single Thread" very much . I think it is very sensitive and feminine. Beautiful.

An American Marriage (review by Ingrid Benvenuti)

Tayari Jones

Now I am reading  An American Marriage and like it, it is profound. I like the protagonists, it helps me know directly from the people involved, the situations that I know exist in America. Very interesting. In both books the art of sewing has an important role, I love it.

The Heart's invisible Furies (review by Ingrid Benvenuti)

John Boyne

A very interesting and sad book about  what harm that religion can do. Now I am reading a Swedish book, a biography about the first female journalist in Sweden and at the same time an easy reading book in Italian of Lucinda Riley.

Down Under (review by Anne Stubley)

Bill Bryson

Fascinating 

Makes me want to visit the place despite the devastating heat in certain places and tiny if deadly creatures. 

Then she was gone (review by Anne Stubley)

Lisa Jewell

Intriguing story

Keeps you glued 

A mixture of love, and distorted views that lead to devastating results

New Boy (review by Anne Stubley)

Tracy Chevalier

Touched so many points about racism subtle and otherwise 

Love and destruction caused by hate and cruelty

Brought me back to my school days in the States. 

Olive Kitteridge (review by Anne Stubley)

Elizabeth Strout

Basically a book of short stories of different people in a small town in Maine USA.   Usually I don’t like short stories , but I quickly fell in love , or hate, with these characters. All the stories have , either as centre stage or as a supporting role, Olive Ketteridge. Love her or hate her , she is certainly an interesting character. In “normal times” I don’t know if I would have bought this book , but I did and I loved it. 

The Remains of the Day (review by Anne Stubley)

Kazuo Ishiguro

I have had this book on my shelf for about ten years , but never got round to reading it. I was missing a masterpiece of a book . Subtle, as are all this master author’s works, and very much a book which  makes you think . I read one review which said” it calms down one’s soul” – not sure about that but it certainly makes you think . For me it is very much a book about a way of life and politics . Others may see it as a love story. Not the same emphasis on life  as in the film .