I am linking up with Laura over at Circle of Pines. On her blog Laura hosts The Year of Books 2014 where bloggers share their reads. I have found some great reading suggestions there and I am sure there is a book waiting for you, too.
Let me be honest with you, I have only read one book in October. It was Iain Banks posthumously published novel "The Quarry". I have loved Iain Banks ever since I was introduced to his novels by my then boyfriend now husband during a visit in Portland, Oregon, where he lived at the time. He had to work and I had time to read. I was practicing my English. My first Iain Banks experience was "The Bridge". Although at the time I barely understood the Scots vernacular scattered throughout the book, I was hooked. But I was writing about The Quarry. This book introduces Kit and his father Guy who is dying of cancer. He (Guy) is also a thoroughly unpleasant person. I have been trying to be forgiving because terminal illness does affect people in different ways. But Guy was already unpleasant before he got ill, so much is clear. Self centred and stuck in "his good old times". He is a completely unsuitable father to Kit, who has Aspergers Syndrome, that much is clear also. The entire book describes a weekend during which Guy's old university friends meet up at their house, which is condemned due to its proximity to a expanding quarry. The demolition is imminent and things need to be done before that date. On the surface it appears to be the last of annual meetings, but the real intention of this weekend is to unearth an old video with explicit sexual content that was recorded by the group of friends during their university time and that could, if published jeopardise everybody's life. That's all I am giving away today, you have to read the book yourself to find out more :-) I didn't care much for Guy, or most of his friends but I really took to Kit, who is a vulnerable young man. I enjoyed the writing, I enjoyed the descriptions and dialogues but I am not sure if I liked the plot much. In summary, "The Quarry" probably isn't my favourite Banks read.
I am currently listening to "The Bridge" by Iain Banks, for nostalgic reasons really, and because I like the narrator, Peter Kenny, very much.
All the other fiction I enjoyed this month was read to me. I had plenty of waiting time at airports and flying time and also a few restless nights.
I listened to no less than three of Christopher Brookmyre's crimes novels, the Jasmine Sharp series: "Where the Bodies Are Buried", "When the Devil Drives" and "Flesh Wounds". Normally titles like this would put me off but I have known and loved Christopher Brookmyre's writing for almost as long as I have known Iain Banks'. This series is set in Glasgow. The lead characters are Jasmine Sharp as an accidental fledgling private investigator and Katherine McLeod, a detective with Strathclyde Police. Their cases converge in all three books. Another lead character is Glen Fallan, a former Glasgow thug who takes an interest in helping Jasmine with her investigations. In the first novel, Jasmine investigates the disappearance of her uncle Jim who owns the detective agency Jasmine works for (she starts of in this first book as an unemployed trained actress, earning some money at her uncle's agency whilst waiting for an acting job). Two of the novels deal with Glasgow gangs and drug lords, the other one is more centred around the theatre. I think the novels need to be read in order to make sense and to understand the developing characters and their relationships. I am looking forward to the next instalment, should there be one. I loved the books because I know my way around Glasgow (so does Brookmyre!) and because Brookmyre is an excellent story teller.
I also listened to "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" by Claire North. I think I picked it up because it reminded my of Kate Atkinson's "Life After Life": Harry August lives his life again and again and again. He is always born under exactly the same circumstances. Unlike Ursula in Atkinson's book, Harry gains awareness of his previous life in early childhood of his second life (and promplty kills himself). He does get used to his predicament and amasses loads of knowledge and experience. As you would if you lived your life again and again and again. Harry also has perfect memory, which is good and bad. He learns of other people like him, too. There are quite a few! In his 11th life, on his death bed in hospital, a small girl (on of his kind) passes down a message from the future: the world is ending. But it would be too complicated to tell it all, have a read for yourself, it is well worth it.
I am not sure if I have much time to read a book in November due to my final dissertation deadline. I'll try to read "Empire Antarctica. Ice, Silence and Emperor Penguins" by Gavin Francis. It is the book we chose for our terrestrial book group.
What you have you been reading recently? Any recommendations?
Have a great day! Cx