The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)

My friend Clare has been telling me for quite a time about a fantastic book she has read. Last Monday she remembered to lend me the book. The book is addictive. I started it Wednesday and I finished all of the 500+ pages in the early hours of this morning (Sunday).

This is a book about a man named Henry and his wife Clare. Henry has a genetic difference to the rest of us which means that he will travel back and forward through time. He has no control over when and where he goes, he has no control over when and where he will return. Clare meets him when she is a little girl and he is a middle aged man. He meets Clare for the first time when he is in his twenties.

If that sounds confusing now, it gets more complicated. The book jumps from time and place, back and forward, loosely in the order that Clare would see it, but frequently in no apparent order whatsoever. That is, until later when the future or past happens and things start then start to make sense. In this book, time is not a linear concept.

For me, the book is definitely an adult book. It travels through a whole life which I think younger minds would struggle to relate too. I’m not just referring to the sexual experiences and detail that feature frequently. Henry and Clare’s life includes the death of their parents, marriage, trying for a baby, raising a child, arguments, accidents, all of life’s pains and pleasures. Time travelling for Henry is as much an advantage as it is his cross to bear. He knows the good things that will happen, yet he also knows the bad.

Clare (my friend, not the character in the book) said that many of her friends haven’t enjoyed it as much as she did. I think that’s because the concept of time in the book is so warped from what we naturally expect. If a book is too hard to read then it loses it’s enjoyment (at which point I remember being 13 and attempting “A Tale of Two Cities” and getting no further than the first few pages). I’d recommend this book to anyone, but I also know this book isn’t going to be an enjoyable read for everyone.

Gallows Thief (Bernard Cornwell)

The second Sharpe book I have read, this was set just before Sharpe’s Trafalgar. I love the character of Richard Sharpe. He may be the hero in the book, but he has his flaws and that causes him trouble. The battles fought are described well enough that you can feel the horror that the soldiers must have felt and picture in your mind the wide battlefield as it changes through the day.

I’ve also noticed that there aren’t that many Sharpe books in the second hand book shops which surprises me a little because the series is relatively new (began 1980’s). I think I’ll soon start buying second hand books from Amazon to fill the gaps.