The Recent East by Thomas Grattan

What I expected: a story about someone from East Germany, escaping, and then returning to a united country.

What I got: a dog’s breakfast.

The Recent East by Thomas Grattan is a multi-generational novel that pivots around Beate Haas, who defected from East Germany as a child, and then, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, returns to Germany with her two teenagers, Michael and Adela, to reclaim her parents’ abandoned mansion. The novel moves backwards and forwards in time, from Beate’s childhood to her becoming a grandmother.

Where to begin…? Continue reading

The Top 54 from the Best Books of 2022 List of Lists

Presenting the 2022 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2022-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 54 books.

(This is my annual community service to book-bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on the 52 lists that I listed on Best Books of 2022 – A List of Lists – enjoy!). Continue reading

Best Books of 2022 – A List of Lists

It’s that time of the year when newspapers and magazines publish their ‘Best of 2022’ lists. Lists usually begin appearing early November and keep going until the end of the year – I will keep adding as they are published.

The Best of 2022 According to #ALLTHELISTS will be coming very, very soon – stay tuned! (See previous lists here). Continue reading

A Year of Sample Saturdays – 2022 Edition

I’ve read 78 Kindle samples this year – I reckon that downloading sample chapters is more prudent than impulse buying books that don’t quite pan out after the first few chapters. Continue reading

Cultish by Amanda Montell

I think almost everyone I know has had a brush with pyramid sales multi-level marketing (MLM). Has a ‘friend’ tried to sell you a cleaning cloth, vitamins (that make you thin AND rich), or suggested an evening with girlfriends, trying bras on in the comfort of your lounge room? My standard response is that I’m happy to buy something from a catalogue to support them but there will be no parties (hosting or attending). I loathe the sales pitch that must be endured at these events.

I picked up Amanda Montell’s book, Cultish, because I was interested in her classification of MLM as a ‘cult’. Some might consider that a stretch, but Montell provides evidence and also examines other groups that we traditionally think of as cults such as Heaven’s Gate, Scientology, and The Family, as well as modern, ‘socially acceptable’ cults such as SoulCycle and Peloton. The core of her thesis is that one thing unites these groups – language. Continue reading

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

The story of a family is always a story of complicity.

As always, I struggle to review books that I loved unequivocally. Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood is such a book.

Lockwood’s memoir focuses on her father, Greg, who, despite being married with five children became a Catholic priest (there’s a loophole in the Vatican rules). As Lockwood describes, after years of being a Lutheran pastor, “…he was tired of grape juice. He wanted wine.”

She creates a striking portrait of Greg – a guitar-toting, gun-cleaning man, who has a penchant for cream liqueurs and struts around in his underwear, making bullish demands of his family. Continue reading