Thursday, 2 April 2015

April reading

What have you been reading lately? You will know by now that I am a prolific and eclectic reader and listener of fiction and it will come as no surprise that I am sleep deprived as a result!


Let me tell you first, I have overdone the audio books this month. I developed eczema in my outer ears due to excessive earphone wearing. I am now on a self imposed audio diet until the skin inside my ears has calmed down a little. I can't go cold turkey but I aim for less than an hour a day.

I listened to three Jussi Adler-Olson crimes from the Department Q series. I do rather like the main characters in this series, detective Carl Mørck, and his assistants Assad (a mysterious Syrian) and Rose (a goth with 'multiple' personalities). The characters are likeable despite their shortcomings, rough diamonds each one of them. The crimes they investigate are unsolved cases from the past, but there is usually a link to the present time. I listened to the first book 'The Keeper of Lost Causes', realizing that I had already  read this book at some undetermined time in the past. I still enjoyed it although I did experience a weird deja-vu feeling throughout. In this book, the disappearance of a politician five years earlier is investigated. She is presumed dead but as it turns out, she is not (yet). I skipped the second book ('The Absent One') because I remembered this more clearly. At least I think I do. The 3rd book is called 'A Conspiracy of Faith'. In this book, a bottle that holds an old and decayed message written in blood is the starting point for the investigation. It turns out to be a cry for help, written in Danish (but found on the East Coast of Scotland). The 4th book I have listened to is 'The Purity of Vengeance'. I found this one rather haunting. The team investigate the disappearance of several individuals in 1987. These appear unconnected at first but slowly, the connections become clear. What I like about this series so far is that there it is based on the characters and how they investigate complex criminal cases. There is little forensic science, and no forensic pathology whatsoever, which is delightful as so many crimes now are reliant on armies of forensic scientists and there miraculous doings. Did I mention that the series is based in Kopenhagen? I quite fancy a visit to this city actually.

I also listened to 'A Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood. This is a truly disturbing book and I think it would be appropriate to use the term dystopic to describe the world in which Offred lives, a world which she describes beautifully. It is a scary thought to live in a world where a woman is but a womb, easily discarded. I did enjoy this book a lot.

I have also read two paper books in March. I finished my March read, 'Angel' by Elizabeth Taylor. This is from the blurb: 'Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .' Angel is different, that much is true. She is a thoroughly unpleasant woman living in a reality that is far removed from the rest of the world. She is utterly single minded, determined and selfish, possibly deranged, too. Not someone you would like to share your life with. Those around her seem spellbound however and I didn't find them likeable either. The story takes the reader from Angel's young womanhood to the day of her death, we learn how Angel achieves just what is promised in the blurb but eventually, all her fortune is gone because Angel's writing is no longer popular and the upkeep of the house is well beyond her means. Both facts Angel is most capable of blending out. I should maybe feel pity for her but I can't. I must admit I was glad when I could put this book aside. 

My other paper read I enjoyed very much. So much so that I spent three nights reading well past midnight. The black bags under my eyes are proof of it. It was 'Children Act'  by Ian McEwan. I am not normally a big fan of McEwan's fiction but I did love this book. The main character of this novel is Fiona Maye, a High Court judge presiding over cases in family law. She is diligent, fiercely intelligent and well respected. She is also totally immersed in her work, her relationship with husband Jack suffering greatly as a result, and he temporarily moves out, their relationship is strained to the point of breaking. One particular case, that of 17 year old Adam, is of particular interest to Fiona. She takes an interest in Adam, who is a Jehova's witness and refuses a blood transfusion essential for his survival. He is suffering from a rare type of leukemia. The matter comes to court because Adam is not 18 and court has been asked to rule whether or not he will be treated against his and his parent's will. Fiona visits Adam in hospital, before she makes her ruling. I don't want to give away any more, you must read the book, you will enjoy it. It is gentle and forceful all at once. 

For April, I have David Baddiel's 'The Secret Purpose' on my nightstand. I am looking forward to reading this book, I have very much enjoyed a previous novel by this author, 'The Death of Eli Gold'. 

As always, I am joining in with Laura at Circles of Pine Trees. If you are looking for a good book, this is a fantastic linkup to explore! 

Happy Reading my friends! xx

20 comments:

  1. I have had a lazy time of it lately with reading, I have read several magazines as they don't need any concentration. Now things are back on a bit more of an even keel I am hoping to get back into it.

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  2. I really liked The Children's Act too, but then I generally like Ian McEwan's books.

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  3. Haven't read The Children Act as I haven't much liked recent McEwan but your comments making me reconsider.

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  4. I have always enjoyed McEwan, but haven't read this latest one. I'm glad that you enjoyed The Handmaid's Tale. Yes it is disturbing, but so, so wonderfully written. Atwood is such a hero of mine. Must do my post soon.
    Leanne xx

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  5. Oh and I also wanted to add "ouch" I have Kindle finger, so I feel your pain.
    Leanne xx

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  6. You are such a prolific reader. I love Ian McEwan and have read several of his books. I haven't read the one you mentioned here but it keeps coming up as a suggestion in my Amazon browsing. I just finished reading a biography called Empty Mansions, about a very wealthy heiress who left empty estates all over the US and chose to live in seclusion in a hospital for the last two decades of her life. It was such a good book. I have some novels to read next, I'm trying to fit in more fiction. I'd read biographies and memoirs by the dozens otherwise. :)

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  7. I'm feeling a little guilty because I always read you blog but never comment,and it seems like you are apologising for reading and not commenting. So just to say I find your blog interesting and entertaining to read,but to be honest I don't think blogs need to be a two way thing and sometimes the thought of having to make a comment is quite stressful,when I only read blogs to relax.I certainly don't expect you to respond to comments.I hope you don't mind that people read and don't respond-it seems that some people out there find this quite rude.

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  8. I haven't read any of Jussi Adler-Olson's books but I just googled them and I think I might enjoy them - thanks, another series to add to my to-read list.

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  9. Wow, a lot of reading! Happy Easter! xx

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  10. The Handmaids Tale is one of my favourites, disturbing and thought provoking.

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  11. I hope your 'listener's ear' clears up soon!, that is true dedication to audio books! I listen to audio books quite a lot too, but almost never through ear phones. You have read loads of books this month, the detective ones sound good. I will make a note of them, thanks for the recommendation X

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  12. Hope your ear is better soon! The crime series looks good, I might try that. Have you read 'Sweet Tooth' by Ian McEwan? I really enjoyed that - I'll have to check 'Children Act' out. I love Margaret Attwood, she's possibly my favourite contemporary author. We read The Handmaid's Tale at A Level and the whole class was stunned by it, lots of food for thought.

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  13. I have been listening to many audiobooks and loving them. Thank you for the great suggestions. Hugs to you and Happy Easter Weekend,
    Meredith

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  14. I've never listened to a book before! It doesn't appeal to me at all, I know that if I was just listening, my mind would wander and I'd think about other things and lose track! The crime books sound interesting. I couldn't put 'Perfect' down last night and read about half it it! I'm enjoying it so far, some things I predicted early on and I have ideas for how it might go but we'll see - I'll let you know how it goes when I finish it (which won't be long!).

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  15. I hope your ears get better soon Christina! I haven't read anything by Baddiel but Miss M is reading The Parent Agency, a children's book which she says is very funny. xx

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  16. I really like the idea of audio books. Where do you get them from? Are they iTunes downloads? I thought you were on my blogger reading list but you don't seem to be so I shall add you now so I don't miss anything else :-) xx

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  17. Sore ears would be terrible; I sleep with my earbuds in (very bad show, I know) and really can't sleep without now! Hope they get better soon.

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  18. The Handmaid's Tail is an amazing book. Very disturbing I agree. It was the first book I read by Margaret Atwood, it was made into a film many years ago, I have read most of hers and have loved them all. I also love Ian McEwan I shall look out of the book you have just read as I have not read that one yet. Hope your ears recover soon!

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  19. An interesting selection Christina. I read A Handmaid's Tale many years ago but can't remember too much about it.

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  20. I have been waiting for the Ian McEwan book to come out in paperback, so am pleased to read your good review. I'll add it to my reading list!

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Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment, I love to hear from you, I really do. I sometimes reply by email but I am not all that reliable... Christina xx