Low-rated Books I Enjoyed

No book will ever be universally loved. Reading is a very personal experience, after all, and what one person may find amazing, another will surely consider dreadful. Thus, there are obviously books that I liked but that have a relatively low average rating on Goodreads. The last time that I checked, the average rating of the four books listed below was lower than 3.4. Nevertheless, I either remember highly enjoying them or rated them with four starts.

 

Glister by John Burnside

This short novel, which has an average rating of 3.11, is a combination of social commentary, atmospheric mystery, magical realism and science fiction. Boys from the Innertown have been going missing for a while. The official explanation is that they left of their own free will. The only police officer in the town knows what really happened to one of the boys, though. Not all of the mysteries are solved by the end of the book, but the personal story of Leonard, one of the narrators, provides some answers.

 

Felizmente Há Luar! by Luís de Sttau Monteiro

Originally published in 1961, this is a Portuguese theatre play that I read a long time ago at school, If I’m not mistaken, when I was in Year 12. It has an average rating of 3.17. Although it’s based on a failed liberal rebellion that took place in 1817, it has a deeper meaning. The true purpose of the author was to delve into the political repression and the persecution that people endured during the fascist regime of the time, reason why it ended up being censured and forbidden. Light is used as a symbol of the victory against oppression. Continue reading

‘The Devil’s Footprints’ by John Burnside

My rating: 4 stars

Throughout The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside, the past of the main character, Michael Gardiner, seeps into the present. Readers are presented with the memories of a man who is struggling to come to terms with various events from his life and whose mental health is compromised. This short novel doesn’t have a particularly fascinating and exciting plot. It shines thanks to the distinctive voice of its troubled narrator.

There’s a tale in Coldhaven, a fishing town in Scotland, about the devil roaming the streets on a winter night and leaving a trail of dark hoofprints. Michael, the narrator and main character, connects this tale with his own personal story. He recalls reading a piece of news a year before about a woman, Moira Birnie, who drugged her two young sons, drove them to a quiet road and torched the car with the three of them inside. She had started to believe that her husband, Tom Birnie, was the devil, and that the two young boys were the devil’s children. She didn’t kill her 14-year-old daughter, Hazel, though.

Before she got married, Moira had briefly been the narrator’s first girlfriend. But their connection extends to other elements of her family. Michael keeps a dark secret about his association with her deceased brother, which he recalls with unsettling normality. He also learnt that he and Hazel might have something in common – she could be a sleepwalker as he was for a while as a child. He clearly states that he had temporarily gone insane after learning about this possibility. Continue reading

Book Haul – September / October 2019

I was not expecting to buy as many books as I did during September and this month. However, after deciding not to finish four novels in the latest months, I was running out of books to read. I usually keep a relatively small number of unread books on my shelves. I tend to only buy new ones once I’ve finished a few of those that I already owned.

So, I acquired nine new books!

 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Set in Paris and in London, it was described by Dickens as his best story. A French aristocrat and a dissolute English lawyer face chaos and fall in love with the same woman. I’m expecting it to delve into a variety of social issues that characterised the 19th century. Continue reading