Educated by Tara Westover

Amy EducatedEducated is the memoir of a woman brought up in a family that was isolated by their strong religious beliefs, and fear of intervention, which led to them avoiding doctors and school. Living in rural Idaho, there was so much dirt, danger, and ignorance, as well as emotional and physical abuse, as to make this a most uncomfortable read. Eventually, thanks to a thirst for knowledge and understanding, Tara is able to leave, be educated (all the way to Cambridge, Harvard and a PhD) and be freed from abuse. Though not always a pleasant read, it is a moving account of the hardships of ignorance and poverty, and the power of education.

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My year of rest and relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Amy My Year of rest and relaxationA young, beautiful, wealthy, young woman lives an enviable life in New York City, but is miserable, so, with the help of her crazy psychiatrist, decides to enter drug induced sleep for a year, in the hope she will feel better. Quirky, horrid, funny and terribly black, this won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it.

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Lullaby by Leila Slimani

Amy LullabyThis book starts with a murder scene; the nanny kills her two young charges before attempting to kill herself. What follows is the lead up to the horror, and it is a clever and disturbing look at the struggles of modern parenthood, career, city living, and the fascinating situation of inviting someone into your one to care for your children. I raced through it to the abrupt, but not unsatisfying, end.

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Child of God by Cormac McCarthy

Clare Child of GodI am quite often drawn to books that have unpleasant characters or subject matter, not because I can identify with them but because the lives of the characters or the subject matter is so different from my own experiences. Cormac McCarthy is the unsurpassed master of writing about the human condition and Child of God is no exception. I was so appalled, disgusted, horrified and entertained by Lester Ballard that I couldn’t put the book down. A short but compelling read.

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Invisible by Paul Auster

Amy InvisibleI have long been a fan of Siri Hustvedt’s novels, but this is my first by her husband, and won’t be my last. It begins in 1967 in New York, when a young poet has an encounter with a Frenchman and his girlfriend which gets complicated, then nasty. Two different narrators then tell part of the story, which is clever, intriguing and beautifully written.

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