Our family holiday wasn’t exactly a lie back on the beach with a good book type of break, but that didn’t stop the reads from accumulating. Long flights will do that for you – the Kindle app on my iPad was definitely kept busy. Here’s a look at my October reads, the books I dove into over the last month, and what I thought of them.
Oh My God What A Complete Aisling (Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght)
“Aisling is 28, and she’s a complete … Aisling. She’s living at home in Ballygobbard (or Ballygobackwards, as some gas tickets call it) with her parents and commuting to her Good Job at PensionsPlus in Dublin. Aisling goes out every Saturday night with her best friend Majella, who’s a bit of a hames (she’s lost two phones already this year – Aisling has never lost a phone). They love hoofing into the Coors Lights, if they’re Out, or the vodka and Diet Cokes, if they’re Out Out. Twice a week, Ais spends the night at her boyfriend, GJ’s (Generic John). He’s from Down Home, and was kiss number 17 at her 21st.
But Aisling wants more. She wants the ring on her finger. She wants the hen with the willy straws. She wants out of her parents’ house, although she’d miss Mammy turning on the electric blanket like clockwork and Daddy taking her car ‘out for a spin’ and bringing it back full of petrol. When a week in Tenerife with John doesn’t end with the expected engagement, Aisling calls time on their relationship, and soon she’s surprised herself and everyone else by agreeing to move into a three-bed in Portobello with stylish Sadhbh from HR and her friend, the mysterious Elaine. Newly single and relocated to the big city, the Adventures of Aisling are only just beginning.”
If you’re not aware of the phenomenon that is “Oh My God What A Complete Aisling”, let me introduce you to the Facebook page. Aisling is the quintessential country girl, and I do find myself laughing along with the little references that remind me of people I grew up with, and the other people I see myself fitting in with. As a country girl who moved to the city, I can totally empathise with some of Ais’s thoughts on the world. This book is filled with warmth and feels like a big literary hug. Whether you’re a bit of an Ais, A Niamh From Across The Road or a mad Majella, there’s something in it for everyone.
Rachel’s Holiday (Marian Keyes)
“Meet Rachel Walsh. She has a pair of size 8 feet and such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family has forked out the cash for a spell in Cloisters – Dublin’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, gymnasiums and rock stars going tepid turkey – and it’s about time she had a holiday. But what Rachel doesn’t count on are the toe-curling embarrassments heaped on her by family and group therapy, the lack of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll – and missing Luke, her ex. What kind of a new start in life is this?”
I’ve been a fan of Marian Keyes for years, and recently wrote about how much I’d loved her latest book ‘The Break”. In an interview with the writers of Oh My God What A Complete Aisling on The Women’s Podcast, they cited Rachel’s Holiday as being a major inspiration in the tone of their writing. I’d read the book years ago but had forgotten most of it, which made it a proper treat to get into again. Rachel is a very flawed character, she’s an addict, she’s a liar and the world isn’t really how she sees it most of the time. But as one of the lovely Walsh sisters, she’s got a warm lovely side to her which makes you root for her even when she’s being a total bitch. And you get just as gutted with her when you realise the Cloisters isn’t what she had thought it would be. If you’ve not read it already, I thoroughly recommend it.
Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters (Chesley B., III Sullenberger & Jeffrey Zaslow)
“On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed a remarkable emergency landing when Captain “Sully” Sullenberger skillfully glided US Airways Flight 1549 onto the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew. His cool actions not only averted tragedy but made him a hero and an inspiration worldwide. His story is now a major motion picture from director / producer Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks, Laura Linney and Aaron Eckhart. Sully’s story is one of dedication, hope, and preparedness, revealing the important lessons he learned through his life, in his military service, and in his work as an airline pilot. It reminds us all that, even in these days of conflict, tragedy and uncertainty, there are values still worth fighting for—that life’s challenges can be met if we’re ready for them.”
Just a point to start with: this probably isn’t the best book to read while you’re on a plane, especially when it’s landing and there’s a bit of turbulence. However, I did it and we all survived, so it could be worse. The autobiography of the incredible pilot who saved all 155 lives in 2009 is really interesting, not only for his descriptions of the events themselves that happened on the day, but his entire life story. If you’re into aviation at all, or know anything about the event, it’s a really good read.
Reported Missing (Sarah Wray)
“Four months ago, Rebecca Pendle’s husband disappeared. So did 14-year-old Kayleigh Jackson. Just a coincidence? Rebecca wants to believe so… But as the police start to draw parallels between Chris and Kayleigh, it’s getting harder for her to trust his innocence. Faced with an angry town that believes Chris has abducted the teenager, Rebecca tries to discover the truth. But what she finds shocks her more than she ever thought. How well does she really know the man she loves?”
The synopsis of this book drew me in as an interesting subject – what would you think if your husband and a 14 year old girl disappeared on the same day? In a world where you hear stories of school teachers running off with pupils, Rebecca is left defending the man she loved to a baying crowd who want to know what has happened to Kayleigh. Her own life turned upside down, she tries to find out for herself just what has happened to the 14 year old, and just where exactly her husband has vanished to. It’s a bit of a slow start but I didn’t guess the twists and turns and enjoyed the ending.
Those are my October reads – there’s a few on my Currently Reading list, including “What Happened” (Hillary Clinton) which I’m listening to on Audible, and December Girl (Nicola Cassidy) which I’ll be reviewing soon. What have you been reading this October? Let me know your October Reads in the comments below, or over on Facebook.
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