Wednesday, 11 November 2015

November reading

I am writing my November book post a little later than usual but I guess that doesn't matter. As always, I am linking up with Laura's 'Year in Books'When I wrote my last book post, I wasn't sure what to read. 

On our journey to London I read 'The Secret Place' by Tana French. I don't know why I decided to read this book, if you read my October reading post, I was not particularly enamoured by the prior novels in the Dublin Crime Squad series. I have met more than one detective over the years but none of them was as unpleasantly driven and/or aggressive as any of the detectives in this series. The book touches upon an interesting subject though, that of the secret life of teenagers. Reading this book and speaking to two friends last week, it appears that teenagers are uncontrollable creatures with lives full of intrigue and a pecking order solely determined by looks and brand culture. It is a bleak picture. I don't think my own teenager falls in that category, he seems fairly normal, on the grand scheme of things. 

Then I listened to the new Margaret Atwood novel,'The Heart Goes Last'. Briefly (and minimally adapted from the Goodreads blurb): 

When we meet Charmaine and Stan, they are living in their car, their only income being tips from Charmaine's job in a bar. They are quite frankly, desperate. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. Charmaine more enthusiastically so than Stan. The costs to Stan and Charmaine seem minimal. Every second month they have to give up their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.
For me, this latest novel is not in the same league as the 'Madd Adam' trilogy, or 'A Handmaid's Tale' but it was a good read all the same. I thought the characters were a bit overdrawn and not as subtly characterised as I would have liked. At times I felt I was in a pantomime (of the British Xmas variety). I am not sure if that makes sense? I am giving you a link to a Guardian review for more information and a more nuanced review.

My science fiction fix of the month was John Scalzi's 'Lock In'. This is basically  a science fiction detective story and is set in the not too distant future. A flu-like virus sweeps across the globe. Most of the affected recover quickly but in a small proportion of patients the disease causes a lock-in syndrome which leaves them fully awake and aware but unable 
to move or respond to stimulus. This becomes know as the Haden Syndrome. As we are in the future, technology allows for the development of highly functional robots into which the locked-in patients can integrate and lead a relatively normal life. Anyways, in this book, Chris Shane, Haden patient and FBI agent, together with Leslie Vann, a veteran FBI agent investigate a Haden related murder that soon turns out to be more complicated than initially assumed. The book was a bit confusing at the beginning because the disease and its consequences and how the robots functioned were not well explained. But fear not, there is actually a novella that explains it all. You can read it here should you decide to read 'Lock-In'. In my audio book, it was at the end of the actual book. Not well planned!

This month, I am going to read Michael Faber's 'The Apple'. The author is new to me. It is a book group choice and I look forward to reading the short stories.

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should really read? Do tell! Have a lovely week my friends. xx


  1. I've just started reading some Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters that were my Mum's - we found them in a book case so I thought I'd take a look at them rather than just pack them off to a charity shop. I actually really enjoyed the one that I started with - it's not the first in the series but I didn't feel that it mattered. I've got about another five or six to read yet and I'm looking forward to them xx

  2. Enjoy! I am reading The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and really enjoying it! xx

  3. You have been busy reading. I have rather more on my to-read pile than I have actually managed to read. I'm reading "Wolf Brother" by Michelle Paver to the children which we're all enjoying. Except the littlest boy has asked for something that isn't scary next time. Oh dear. CJ xx

    1. Don't read the second on e to him then, CJ ;))
      L x

  4. I'm reading The Stranger's Child by Allen Hollinghurst, Runaway by Peter May and Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson.

  5. Last week I read 32 short stories! I had to mark them for a GCSE English course which I am teaching for adults. I might add that some were more engaging than others! I had the almost almighty headache reading different styles and sizes of handwriting but there were some gems in there.Happy reading. Jo x

  6. I must laugh....Last evening I wrote a post about "what I am currently reading". After publishing it this early morning, I decided to pop over and read your latest post. I couldn't believe you also had a book post. This is a first for me. It is always so interesting to see what each of us chooses to read. It's a wonderful freedom that we are lucky to have. Enjoyed your post.

  7. Lock in sounds like an interesting read. I've never read anything by Michael Faber (don't think I've really heard much about him) so it'll be interesting to see what you think of the short stories.

  8. Remember if you want to read Gentlemen and Players I'll happily pass it on. Always interesting to see what else you are reading although I enjoyed the Haindmaid's tale I hated Oryx and Crake. Maybe I should give Margaret Attwood another go!

  9. Hey Christina,
    I have just started 'Everything I Never Told You' by Celeste Ng. My choice for book group is 'I'm The King Of The Castle' by Susan Hill. I really should do a year in books post.
    Leanne xx

  10. Hi Christina thank you for telling me about some great books. I have one of Margaret Atwood' s book on my bookshelf but I haven't read it yet. Have a great weekend, Pat

  11. I do love the Dublin series but I definitely agree about the portrayal of teenagers in her books. I think her own daughter is a teenager, so maybe she is drawing on real-life, but I find some of those characters harrowing to read about. I would really hate to see my children act like them. I'm currently reading This Is Not a Love Story, by Judy Brown, about growing up in a Hassidic Jewish community, and also a biography of Stevie Nicks, my secret alter ego. :)

  12. Sounds like a good mix of reading for the month - I really want to read the new Atwood novel, I'm going to try and reread The Handmaid's Tale as I last read it for GCSE and it will probably be a very different perspective now! Have a lovely Sunday x

  13. I have just finished 'I let you go' which was my book group read for the month. I don't usually like crime novels but found this a very intriguing and thought provoking read. I would recommend it x


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