Gransnet forums

Books/book club

Hamnet am I the only reader who isn’t over the moon with it.

(28 Posts)
Lovetopaint037 Sat 06-Mar-21 00:49:18

Can’t understand why I am three quarters the way through and I still find it disappointing. I love Shakespeare. I loved Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare and other things relating but I am finding the style painstaking, over elaborate. The minute detailing and descriptions would be fine in parts but it continues and continues. Hamnet’s death is terrible and heart breaking but I am just looking forward to the end. The reviews are wonderful so is it just me?

Sara1954 Sat 06-Mar-21 07:03:43

I loved it, was probably my favourite read of last year.

But I have been very disappointed in books which have been massively hyped, I found The Testaments very dull.

Just goes to show how different we all are.

Mollygo Sat 06-Mar-21 07:20:52

Hamnet is on my to-be-read pile, so it’s good to hear 2 different views. I’ll move it to the top and see how it goes.
It’s true we all have different tastes though.
My most disappointing book from last year was Where the Crawdads Sing.
I persevered for over half the book, hoping I would soon be hooked but then gave up.

Ladyleftfieldlover Sat 06-Mar-21 07:34:55

I found Hamnet beautifully written with some memorable scenes... but it was over-hyped. Now Testaments, I absolutely loved. I have started reading Ishiguru’s latest. Described as a masterpiece, I will wait and see!

Sara1954 Sat 06-Mar-21 07:58:46

I don’t understand why I didn’t really like Testaments, when I have loved all her other books over the years, maybe I was expecting too much.
Molly, I haven’t read that yet, it seems to be a love it or hate it book.

TerriBull Sat 06-Mar-21 08:06:44

Hamnet is on my "to read" list so I have to reserve judgement. I do really like Maggie O'Farrell's books, but know even favoured authors can always produce a work that even the most avid fans can find dull. Kate Atkinson springs to mind, loved "Life After Life" with a passion and hated "Transcription".

Books like dramas that are over hyped tend to be met with great expectations, pardon the literary pun, and I know I for one often feel, what am I missing, can't understand what all the fuss is about. Have just read "Midnight Library" wall to wall accolades and praise heaped on it, 100 pages in I concluded I'm not enjoying this book at all. When I start speed reading I know it's a lost cause for me.

Don't get me started on "The Thursday Murder Club" it seems I'm not alone on GN in finding that book mediocre beyond belief and massively over hyped.

dogsmother Sat 06-Mar-21 08:11:25

I implore folk to seek out Abraham Vergheses book.
Cutting for Stone.
Very few of you will be disappointed.

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 08:28:09

Thank you for that recommendation dogsmother I’ll look it up and get it on my Kindle.

I swerved Hamnet lovetopaint because a couple of my friends put me off ... plus I don’t particularly love Shakespeare!

I enjoyed ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ perhaps my tastes are less cerebral!

Lucca Sat 06-Mar-21 08:37:39


I implore folk to seek out Abraham Vergheses book.
Cutting for Stone.
Very few of you will be disappointed.

I’m not feeling brave enough to start on a 658 page book but will bear it in mind fir the future !!

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 09:11:53


Lovetopaint037 Sat 06-Mar-21 10:26:17

I am pleased for those who loved it. Thanks for the Abraham Vergheses recommendation. I have got Where the Crawdads Sing to read next. Have enjoyed The Secret History by Donna Tart which was my previous read. Yes we are all different and I think it all depends on what kind of mood we are in as to how we respond to a book. I think with Hamnet it seemed so contrived to be elegantly, minutely and slowly descriptive that my feelings for the characters were kept at arms length. Also the connection with Shakespeare was interesting but didn’t add anything to what we know already. Also, I didn’t care for the portrayal of Anne Hathaway as she came over as living in her little world in tune with nature etc. She probably did use herbs as most people did in those days but the trouble with fiction dependant on little known facts it can be taken for the truth.

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 10:30:52

Ooh, I’ve got ‘The Secret Garden’ book on my shelf. I re-discovered it last week when I was having a cull. I shall read it next, after I’ve finished the lovely gentle Anna Quindlan book ‘Millers Creek’ set in America in the 50’s & 60’s that I’m loving and only halfway through. I’ve not come across her before.

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 10:31:36

‘History’ not ‘Garden’.

TerriBull Sat 06-Mar-21 10:43:56

I feel I should read The Secret History again, it's been mentioned a lot lately on various book threads. I read it when it first came out and that was a long time ago, I remember I really liked it, not so much her middle book. Loved The Goldfinch but that divided opinions. I think Donna Tart should get on with it though 3 books in 30 or so years, isn't a great output shock either writers block or too many distractions. I suppose her books are quite long in her defence, although some argued some heavy editing should have been administered to The Goldfinch, not me, it did meander a bit in the second half, but all in all I thought it was worth the wait. If I'm captured by a book, I don't care how long it is. Have made a mental note of Cutting for Stone.

I loved Crawdads, it was definitely one of my best reads of last year.

Sara1954 Sat 06-Mar-21 10:59:03

I think the Goldfinch would have been better if it was half as long,
I knew from the first chapter that I wasn’t going to get into it, it was so dragged out, I ploughed on anyway, and quite enjoyed the middle section, but certainly well down my list of favourite books, while Secret History has to be near the top.

eazybee Sat 06-Mar-21 11:10:43

Thanks for this.
Hamnet was on our list for my Book group but was dismissed out of hand because it was far too sad to read. Apparently.
I shall read it independently.

Sara1954 Sat 06-Mar-21 11:46:33

Yes do read it, it is a sad book, but not THAT sad.
I read a book recently called The Binding by Bridget Collins. I thought it was wonderful, but some of the reviews were absolutely awful. It was a present, I would never have bought it.

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 12:04:35

I need to post soon on your 50 books thread Terribull. I’m only on book 4. I think I’m spending too much of my time here on GN which I find addictive. I’m seriously thinking of ‘allowing’ myself an hour in the morning and an hour during the evening. Shows how bad I’ve become!

Starting Monday ... 😂

TerriBull Sat 06-Mar-21 12:04:49

Yes Sarah a lot of people say that, and I can possibly see their point, but it's still a favourite of mine.

Whilst on the subject of authors that produce books we all find wonderful and some of their others not so, I adored Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" an all time favourite, closely followed by "Alias Grace" and although I read it long ago also remember thinking "Cat's Eye" was excellent. Thought "The Robber Bride" was okay. Other than that wasn't keen on "The Heart Goes Last". Didn't like "Hag Seed" I'm probably the only person I know who hasn't read "The Handmaid's Tale" but watched much of the tv series.

Sometimes, and I guess many of us are the same in that we expect favourite authors to wow us all the time.

TerriBull Sat 06-Mar-21 12:09:04

Urmston, worry not! I'm only book 8, I may not make the 50. I didn't last year. Humiliating in a way, I started the thread shock That's why I tell everyone not to worry how many they read. It's the taking part that matters, as losers are prone to say grin

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 12:47:52

I read loads last year but we were in enforced incarceration for 9 weeks in Spain, not even allowed out to exercise. When I look back on that time now it seems surreal. But I did read an awful lot of books!

foxie48 Sat 06-Mar-21 15:41:12

New to GN and just found this! I loved Hamnet, loved the first two thirds of Crawdads and have recently re-read Secret History and enjoyed it just as much second time round. Got Cutting Stone on my book shelf but haven't read it so that's one to try. Currently reading Half a Yellow Sun (Adichie) and thoroughly recommend it, picked it after reading Americanah, which is well worth a look. Also recommend The Dutch House (Anne Patchett).

Urmstongran Sat 06-Mar-21 16:28:23

Hi foxie 👋
I loved The Dutch House too. I would also highly recommend a novel called A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Ann Fowler - it was a NYT best seller and definitely one of the best books I read last year!

Sara1954 Sat 06-Mar-21 18:58:30

Hi Foxie
Just saw your name come up on another book thread.
I too enjoyed Hamnet, it’s interesting you enjoy Secret History second time around, I’m always reluctant to reread a much loved book, in case it just doesn’t seem the same.

foxie48 Sat 06-Mar-21 19:46:30

Thanks Urmstongran I'll look our for that. I loved the "Olive" books by Elizabeth Strout, is this similar?