Three months in and I'm not finding a female-only reading list a chore - I wish there were more hours in the day for them all. I am however keeping my Amazon wishlist updated with any books I've got my eye on by male authors...sorry chaps, you'll have to wait for 2015. So this month I've read...
1. Heartburn, by Nora Ephron
If you're interested in any of the following: heartbreak, love, marriage, cookery, food, New York or laughing - I insist you stop whatever you're doing and hot-foot it to Waterstones now. I loved this book. It's a novel, but closely based on Ephron's own experience of being dumped by her cheating husband while being 7 months pregnant. If that sounds rather bleak, you just haven't seen it through her words yet, as one of the former journalist's major gifts was an ability to make you laugh and break your heart at the same time. Foodies will love it too, as there are plenty of recipes straight from a New York kitchen - I haven't tried any yet, but they mostly seem pleasingly simple (I do love the slap-dash 'cup' measurements of Americans). Follow up by watching the film, which stars Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, or even When Harry Met Sally, which had a screenplay by Ephron and is imbued with the same warmth and complexity.
2. The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah
I'm not much of a crime/thriller fan, but if I'm ever seized by the urge for mystery I turn to Sophie Hannah, who knows how to write a complex plot without sacrificing depth of character. I particularly enjoyed Little Face - about a mother who swears that her baby has been swapped, despite no one else seeing a difference - which I read a few years ago, so I picked up her latest work eagerly. The Carrier is much swampier than the former, featuring an enormous cast who don't seem particularly well developed. I found it hard, after a long day, to return to it and remember exactly who was who, or to be certain which of them I was meant to care about. On the other hand, the mystery at the centre - why an innocent man would plead guilty to having murdered his wife - was a strong one, and when I gave up proper chunks of time rather than a sleepy 15 minutes to dedicate to reading, it rattled along nicely. One for a long train journey or flight.