Q by Evan Mandery

When I first heard the premise for Q I was torn, a story about an unnamed writer who is visited by his future self and told not to marry the love of his life sounded in equal measures fascinating and worryingly corny.

Fifty pages in and my feelings were edging towards disappointment, I’d failed to connect or emphasise with Mandery’s story. The whole book seemed overly detailed and spoilt by serious bouts of procrastination from the writer. But just when I was thinking of throwing in the towel the story progressed and my interest was slowly piqued.

I began to forgive Mandery for his frequently frustrating writing and instead started to realise that this was more than just your average love story. When our hero is visited by a future self telling him not to marry Q he is off course perturbed and naturally reluctant, he loves her dearly and can’t imagine being with anyone else. But then this future self knows him better that anyone, surely his advice trumps anything else?

And so he acts upon these instructions, only to be visited soon after by another version of himself who tells him he should marry another woman. But then a few months later he his visited by yet another future self who tells him he should not now marry this women. And so the story progresses in this vain.

Off course he is exasperated, he has faithfully followed the advice of his older self, only to receive contradictory instructions further down the line.

I’m sure every reader would interpret this book differently, but to me Mandery seemed to be exploring the rather poignant idea that we cannot, despite our very best efforts, control our lives completely. Nor can we guarantee our happiness. Our hero seems to be so determined to have a happy and succesful life that he follows any of the steps he is told to take. It doesn’t matter that the path he really wanted to take may well of made him sad but also happy in equal measures, he seems to be chasing ultimate happiness.

I loved the idea of the book and the message I took from it. There have being many crossroads in my life where I’ve tried to take the path in life that we will make completely happy, the path that will give me perfection. But after reading Q, a message has remained in my mind. Maybe it is greedy and foolish to try to find ultimate happiness? maybe there is no such thing?

Although this is very much the message that I took from Q, I am aware that this is one of those wonderfully rare stories that really encourages a wide spectrum of interpretations from its readers. I’d therefore love to hear from anyone else who has read this book and find out your interpretation of the story? Did you like the book? What was your interpretation of it?

Reviews that I’ve read of this book promise a heartbreaking ending. This wasn’t quite my experience, I’ve read other love stories that have moved me to tears. Q just wasn’t on that level. But it did leave me with a strong message that still sticks in my mind. A good read for anyone seeking something a little different that will really make you think.

Still here…honest

I can’t quite believe that Autumn is here already, where has the time gone? I feel like recently I’ve being full of good intentions and yet all I’m delivering is apologies. Despite having many wonderful books that I want to tell you all about, time quite literally seems to be alluding me. Every time I sit down to share my thoughts I instead find myself astonished by how much time has elapsed since my last post.

So as the dark nights start to draw in and winter begins to envelop me I’ve made it my concerted effort to sit down with my laptop a lot more and keep you all updated on what I’ve being reading. Off course I know how busy these next few months will be so I can’t make any promises, nor can I set myself unrealistic goals.

What I will do though is start to catch up on some long overdue reviews that I want to share with you. After all I’m still yet to tell you all about the tragic love story buried in Evan Mandery’s Q, or the shocking story of  Warm Bodies, not to mention the other books I read last month, like The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha, or The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson. Or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. All books that fascinated me for different reasons and thankfully all books I’d love to recommend to my readers.

It’s probably helpful really then that I’m experiencing a reading lull, that should surely  free up some much-needed time to write. Usually I hate reading lulls, I always panic, how long will I have these luke warm, apathetic feelings to a pastime I usually can’t live without? But after a two-week holiday of quite literally doing nothing but reading, I actually feel I need a break just so I can remember how much I love reading.

So it’s time to put my books aside this month and catch up with my readers. But whilst I’m having a break from books, what have you all being up to? Have you been having a reading lull? Or is there a book, or several books that you’ve being fully immersed in? I’d love to hear about what you’ve being up to and which books have being keeping your attention.

August rounded up

I must apologise if it has been a quiet month here at I Hug My Books, despite plenty of reading fun behind the scenes, it seems I’ve had little or no time to share my thoughts. On a positive note though, this means that I have many upcoming reviews soon to be published and I can’t wait to let you all know about the great books I’ve recently discovered.

I started August by finishing How To Be A Woman by Caitln Moran, a book I absolutely loved and which had a huge impact upon me. It made me truly rethink so many of my principles and although I didn’t agree with all of Moran’s opinions it did remind me of the importance of nurturing and acknowledging my own feelings.

I then moved onto The Hunger Games, a book totally different to How To Be A Woman but one I still deeply enjoyed. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a book that you can just get your teeth stuck into. I couldn’t put it down from page one and frankly that’s sometimes all I want from a book.

I then moved onto a book I probably would never have read had it not being chosen for my book group. The book in question was Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and my review is soon to be published. I enjoyed this book, but in the midst of a month of brilliant reading, this book finds itself firmly at the bottom of the pile.

Last, but by no means least, I read The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This book links beautifully with Zafon’s other two novels The Shadow Of The Wind and The Angels Game and it took me no effort at all to become addicted to this story. So much so that no sooner had I started it then I had finished it. I must say it’s definitely spoilt my reading appetite, nothing I’ve picked up since seems quite as worthy. Fingers crossed it wont be too long till Zafon’s next offering.

So that was August for me. I’ve just started Q by Evan Mandery, I do hope the story picks up soon, because even though I’m only fifty pages in the story is really dragging. But what about everyone else? What did you read in August? Anything you could recommend? Anything that really got you talking? And what do you have planned for September?