First Love but Gwendoline Riley.
The third book I picked out of my book prize box was First Love and my initial impression was how minimalist the cover appeared. Then when I opened it and saw both the line spacing (lots of white areas on the page) and the length (short) I wondered just how minimalist the tale was going to be!
In general I read very fast and book of this length usually wouldn't have taken much longer than my lunch break to read. As this book has been shortlisted for the Bailey's Prize I made a deliberate decision to read this slowly, to read each segment and then take a break to think about what I'd read.
I think that this was the right decision as at first glance this is a slight book, Neve is in a bad relationship and the story charts this but in reading it slowly I also read behind the lines.
Again if I talk about this too much I am aware that I could spoil the book for other readers but I know that if I'd read it at my normal speed I would have come away with only one story from the novel. By reading it slowly I got a more rounded story, but this did change my sympathies entirely... swings and roundabouts I guess!
At first I wasn't sure that such a slender story was in the same league as the other books on the shortlist but this one really has got under my skin and while Do Not Say We Have Nothing remains my favourite read of the year so far this one is a worthy contender for the Bailey's Prize.
Now from the compact to the epic - the 545 page Sport of Kings was the next book out of the box!