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