My Week in Books: 18 October 2017

This Week in Books is a weekly round-up hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found, about what I’ve been reading Now, Then & Next.


A similar meme,  WWW Wednesday is run by Taking on a World of Words.

Now: I’m currently reading Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, a book I’ve borrowed from the library. It was awarded the Costa Book Award 2016 and won the 2017 Walter Scott Prize. It was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017.

Days Without End


After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. Then when a young Indian girl crosses their path, the possibility of lasting happiness seems within reach, if only they can survive.

I’m enjoying this book, narrated by Thomas McNulty in his own style of speech, grammatically incorrect and in Irish and American slang – surprisingly easy to read.

Then: I’ve recently finished reading The Last Hours by Minette Walters, which will be published on 2 November in hardback and as en e-book. My review will follow soon.

The Last Hours


June, 1348: the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in the county of Dorsetshire. Unprepared for the virulence of the disease, and the speed with which it spreads, the people of the county start to die in their thousands.

In the estate of Develish, Lady Anne takes control of her people’s future – including the lives of two hundred bonded serfs. Strong, compassionate and resourceful, Lady Anne chooses a bastard slave, Thaddeus Thurkell, to act as her steward. Together, they decide to quarantine Develish by bringing the serfs inside the walls. With this sudden overturning of the accepted social order, where serfs exist only to serve their lords, conflicts soon arise. Ignorant of what is happening in the world outside, they wrestle with themselves, with God and with the terrible uncertainty of their futures.

Lady Anne’s people fear starvation but they fear the pestilence more. Who amongst them has the courage to leave the security of the walls?

And how safe is anyone in Develish when a dreadful event threatens the uneasy status quo..?

Next: I think I’ll read The Fear Index by Robert Harris. This is another book I’ve borrowed from the library and having dipped into it I’m itching to read it.

The Fear Index


His name is carefully guarded from the general public but within the secretive inner circles of the ultra-rich Dr Alex Hoffmann is a legend – a visionary scientist whose computer software turns everything it touches into gold.

Together with his partner, an investment banker, Hoffmann has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, enabling it to predict movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions.

But then in the early hours of the morning, while he lies asleep with his wife, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of their lakeside house. So begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.

His quest forces him to confront the deepest questions of what it is to be human. By the time night falls over Geneva, the financial markets will be in turmoil and Hoffmann’s world – and ours – transformed forever.

Have you read any of these books?  Do any of them tempt you? And what have you been reading this week?

22 thoughts on “My Week in Books: 18 October 2017

      1. The same thing happened with this group as with my other group who discussed it in July: for the first time we all agreed that a book was superb, but we still had things to discuss. Usually when we agree about a book (whether we love it or hate it) we have a very poor discussion, but we were still hard at it after ninety minutes last night. None of us could credit a Booker jury that didn’t think it was worth a place on the short list. As our most critical member said, “I kept waiting for him to trip up, for there to be something that wasn’t perfect, but there was nothing; he sustained it through every last word.” I would definitely suggest it. And if you’re worried about the sexual side then challenge them to see it as anything other than a magnificent story about what love really is. Do let me know what happens.


        1. I’ll suggest it – the way we chose books is by a draw, pulling one title out of a pile of names – so it could be ages before this one gets chosen!!! But as and when we do discuss it I’ll let you know. The best discussions we have are when we’re divided about a book and I think we could very well be divided about this one.


  1. The Last Hours sounds good. I recently re-read The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, in which a time traveller is accidentally sent back to the time of the Black Death. Amazingly part comedy, it’s very good if you want a companion book on the subject.

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  2. Great book choices! I loved Days Without End, I thought it was brilliant. I’ve just started The Last Hours and really enjoying that too as I love my historical fiction. And I love Robert Harris’s books – I’ve got Imperium sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.


  3. Nice selection – I’m keen to hear how you get on with The Fear Index. I’ve been tempted by that one since you mentioned it a few days ago. It’s been years since I read any Minette Walters – she’s kind of dropped off my radar. So again I’ll be interested to learn how you got on with it…


  4. I like the sound of The Last Hours too. Oddly I’ve not read a single thing by Minette Walters, though I have seen – I think – TV dramas of her work.
    I’m just reading a gardening/travel book by Monty Don from Gardener’s World. And Jacob’s Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill.


    1. I think I’ve read one book b Minette Walters years ago. The publishers’ blurb says writing historical fiction is a ‘new direction’ for her.

      How are you getting on with Susan Hill’s book? Is it anything like Howard’s End is on the Landing – I enjoyed that one.


      1. Getting on very well with Susan Hill’s book. Yes, it is very similar to Howards End, with a bit of countryside observation included. Some are not so keen on that side of it but her book The Magic Apple Tree was all about living in The Cotswolds through the seasons of one year and I *loved* it. So the nature stuff is fine by me.

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  5. Ooh, I didn’t know about The Last Hours, Margaret! I like Minette Walters’ work quite a lot, and this seems like something both different and very interesting from her. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I think I may have to check it out!

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  6. I am very tempted by The Last Hours by Minette Walters. I’ve just finished a comforting re-read of The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. Next I am looking forward to continuing my R.I.P reading with Assassination at Bayou Sauvage by D J Donaldson.


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