Wednesday, 3 June 2015

June reading

May was once again an interesting month for fiction, although I have slowed down considerably due to other time consuming stuff. I started reading my May read, 'Traveler' by Ron McLarty but I got sidetracked and never got past the first few pages. But fear not, I have read the book before and remember it well. It is a good sign if I still remember a book after many years. Ron McLarty is not a well known author I don't think. He has also written 'The Memory of Running', a book I highly recommend. In 'Traveler' we meet Jono Riley, a struggling part time actor and full time bartender. The starting point of the book is a letter
Jono receives from a boyhood friend, which informs him about the death of his childhood girlfriend Marie D'Agostino. We read about a childhood in East Providence, Rhode Island, and Jono's recollection of the day when Marie was injured in a seemingly random shooting. The shooter has never been identified.  Jono visits his hometown and embarks on finding out what happened on that day long time ago. Jono's youth is recreated in a series of flashbacks. Childhood friends and enemies are revisited and Jono's adult insecurities are revealed as we move through this moving story. I am hoping to finish this book soonish.

I am still working my way through Margaret Atwood's works. In May, I listened to 'The Robber Bride'. It was a beautifully narrated story of three friends, Roz, Tony and Charis. All three have 'lost' men to Zenia, a true villainess, at some point in their lives. Zenia is what binds the friends together, they have otherwise little in common. After Zenia's alleged death in an in a bombing in the Lebanon, the women continue to nurture their friendship, meeting regularly for a catch-up. It is during one of those meetings when Zenia materialises, very much alive and very much the same. We find out what happened to each of the women in the past in the form of memories, as they each try to cope with Zenia's reappearance. The conclusion is a bit of an anticlimax I think but you'd have to judge that for yourself. At times I felt, the women had rather dated views on many things but I did remind myself that this book was written a good while ago and the women were children of the Second World War. 

I treated myself to the 12th installment of the Christopher Fowler's Bryant & May detective series, 'The Burning Man'. This crime fiction series is easily my most favourite. I like the senior detectives, John May and Arthur Bryant but also the rest of the team. Bryant reminds me a little of a great uncle of mine, in appearance not personality. Scruffy at best. I was sad about Bryant's emerging dementia (he is in his 80s). I am not sure if there will be another installment :-( In the 12th, London is burning, literally and metaphorically. A banking scandal is at the root of riots, violence is escalating. The case opens with a young homeless man burning to death after being caught in the crossfire between rioters and the police. As always, the case escalates and assumes somewhat preposterous proportions. The crimes committed are shocking but Fowler does not dwell on an extensive exploration of the visuals, for which I am grateful. If you are looking for crime fiction that does not rely exclusively on forensic experts, you are in for a treat. Also, the detectives don't struggle so much with their personality and their lives, as so many detectives seem to do. I do love the narrator of this series very much, he is really creating and amazing impression of the characters with his voice.


I finished my May reading with a rather silly (but enjoyable) book. It was Tom Holt's 'Nothing But Blue Skies'. I like Tom Holt but you have to like the weird and unlikely to enjoy his books. I'll give you the Goodreads blurb because I am a bit lazy today 'There are many reasons why British summers are either non-existent or, alternatively, held on a Thursday. Many of these reasons are either scientific, mad, or both—but all of them are wrong, especially the scientific ones. The real reason why it rains perpetually from January 1st to December 31st is, of course, irritable Chinese Water Dragons. Karen is one such legendary creature. Ancient, noble, nearly indestructible and, for a number of wildly improbable reasons, working as a real estate agent, Karen is irritable quite a lot of the time. But now things have changed, and Karen’s no longer irritable. She’s furious.' I am a bit reminded of Douglas Adam's 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy', which is also completely mad. Not quite as good though.


You might have guessed from my photo that my June read is yet another Margaret Atwood novel, 'The Blind Assassin'. I really wanted to listen to this novel but the sound quality is awful, which is unusual. I am glad I listened to the taster!

I am once more joining Laura at Circle of Pine Trees. Laura has been hosting 'The Year of Books' for a long time now and I have found many good reading suggestions on the linkup. Have you visited yet?

Happy reading to you all!

P.S. I am staying in the background for few days, I have an interview presentation to prepare, school and dance shows to attend (end of term in 3 weeks), a dress to sew and friends to meet. I am also solo parenting at the moment because Richard is in Colombia for work (some are lucky eh). I think I might actually have to empty the compost bin, and do some of his other chores, too. 

19 comments:

  1. Great reviews as usual Christina. I have never read The Blind Assassin, even though I have always loved the cover (so shallow!) so I will wait for your review next month to see if I can pluck up the courage to give it a whirl. Sounds like you have a busy few weeks coming up, very best of luck with the job interview, and everything else too! X

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  2. Very good, detailed reviews. I hate it when my husband isn't able to do his usual chores and I have to do them! Actually, most of them aren't too bad.

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  3. The Goodread blurb sounds amazing! I already put that book on my list and will buy it as soon as I finished some books that are lying around here! ;)
    And I love the cover of the Blind Assassin!
    Happy reading!

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  4. Great reviews but I am struggling with reading at the moment, I am easily sidetracked. Good luck with the interview and all the other busy goings on in your life right now.

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  5. Hey Christina,
    I enjoy all of Atwood's novels. After you've ploughed through her, can I recommend Helen Dunmore and Barbara Kingsolver?
    Leanne xx

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  6. I have read so much about Margaret atwood and had many recommendations so I think I seriously need to get on and read some of her other stuff!

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  7. It's a while since I read them but I recall enjoying both The Robber Bride and The Blind Assassin. Have you tried Alias Grace or Cat's Eye - my favourite Atwoods. Good luck with the interview and coping with your busy life that on your own!

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  8. I hope that all goes well with your interview and getting everything else done. I am amazed by how much you read each month, I don't know how you fit it in! Hope that you enjoy finishing May's and reading June's reads! xx

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  9. Good luck with your interview, smile and be happy. I posted your fabric yesterday, it looks great. Jo x

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  10. Good luck with your interview. I'm sure you brood will help mum out whilst you're so busy with Richard away.

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  11. You always read such an interesting books. I'm sure I have read The Blind Assassin but I can't remember it! My son Sam, the writer has a style that is like Tom Holt - a bit whacky and mad and I know he really likes his books.

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  12. I really enjoy seeing your books each month. I wish you lots of luck with your interview!

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  13. I hope everything goes really well with your interview!! Love hearing about your book choices - you always give me more suggestions to dd to the pile.

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  14. Hi Christina, I've just blog-hopped here and have enjoyed looking through your posts. I'm a big Atwood fan, especially her short stories. Good luck for your interview. Sam

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  15. hope the interview goes well xxx

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  16. Hey Christina, I love Margaret Atwood, the last book I read was "Alias Grace" when I was still at University. I haven't read "The Blind Assassin" yet. All the best for the interview, you have a lot going on with that and everything else while the hubby is away. Hope it all goes well x

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  17. I'm another Tom Holt fan, although I must admit it feels like years since I picked one up.

    Hope the interview and solo parenting turn out okay x

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  18. lots of goodies to choose from here.
    i have never read tom holt but you've enticed me to give him a try!

    i wish i had loved blind assassin more, Atwood is an amazing riter, but i struggled to connect to it. maybe it was timing.

    thanks for sharing.

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  19. Good luck with the interview and presentation :) Hope the end of term madness passes smoothly as well. I love Margaret Atwood, I haven't read The Robber Bride but want to now :) I think my favourite is Alias Grace, have you tried that one?

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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