|Our books are a bit higgledy-piggledy at the moment|
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I just love Neil Gaiman. How could I not? I like the witty plots, the language and the fantastical ideas this talented man thinks up. Anansi boys centres around Fat Charlie and his increasingly complicated life after his estranged father dies during a karaoke performance. Fat Charlie didn't know his father was a god, and he didn't know he had a brother, Spider. Fat Charlie's features in American Gods, too and I like it how Neil Gaiman created a spin-off of this fabulous epic tale without serialising it.
Slade House by David Mitchell. I found this rather disappointing. I don't know why I bothered, I really only liked one of David Mitchell's books and I can't even remember the name of it now.
It is a ghost story of sorts, involving a pair of somewhat immortal and awfully evil siblings as well as a haunted house that reveals itself only every nine years and only to individuals that are 'different' and/or lonely. Immortality comes at a cost. The book just didn't capture my imagination.
Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. This is a standalone thriller set in Iceland and is a story of revenge and retribution. I enjoyed this book. Here the Goodreads blurb:
A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple return from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea. They have one thing in common: they all lied. And someone is determined to punish them.The Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Long Earth, Long Mars, Long War, Long Utopia and Long Cosmos). This was my science fiction fix for the past two months. I did rather like the series, particularly the underlying idea of infinite universes that can be accessed by everybody with the help of a simple stepper box (powered by a potato, no less). The series is about the slow colonisation of the earths West and East of our own (there aren't any universes in the other directions) and spans maybe 60 years in time, starting sometime in the 2030s. The ability to step from one universe to another challenges stability on the current earth. There is also a gigantic volcanic explosion in Yellowstone park, which changes the climate dramatically and as a consequence almost completely wipes out the political, agricultural and ecological structures of this world and triggers an exodus. Aside from that, there are many wonderful and terrifying worlds to find out about, other sentient life forms to meet (some more familiar than others) and many big and small problems to solve. The main characters are Joshua, Sally, Sister Agnes and Lopsang, a Tibetan motorbike repairman reincarnated into a computer network (sic). Lopsang in particular is a funny character and Sister Agnes is a nun with a twist. The series is bit like Star Trek on foot :-) and I enjoyed it a lot. Escapism at its best.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. I took this book on holiday because it is difficult to concentrate on anything other than the lightest reading when all around you is so exiting. It was a pleasant read but a very predictable one. At the beginning of the book, Sara from Sweden arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa, to meet her pen pal Amy. Books are at the centre of their friendship. Unfortunately, at her time of arrival, Amy's has died and the funeral has just finished. The two women never meet in person but their friendship was strong and Sara decides to stay in the little dying town in the middle of nowhere. She eventually decides to open a book shop selling all of Amy's books (many). On a tourist visa no less... There are tears, a love story and the resurrection of town spirit to be enjoyed if you pick up this light read.
The Darker Side by Cody Mcfadyen. Three words: crude, violent and vulgar. I finished my holiday book too quickly and picked up one at the flat were we were staying, at random. This particular book starts with murder victim 143 (!) and is largely set in Los Angeles. There is not a single likeable character in the book, everyone is damaged, psychopathic or both (and I am talking about the good guys here). It is probably one of the worst crime novels I nearly finished.
The author must assume its readers are dumb, that they enjoy reading vulgarity and can't handle fiction that doesn't involve a completely crazed prolific serial killer and an investigating team that is so severely damaged that under normal circumstances everyone of them would be sectioned.
Unwanted and Silenced by Kristina Ohlsson. There are five books in this series and I have finished the first two. It is set in Stockholm and is thankfully much more pleasant to read than the previous book. Murder is murder of course and the murderers are no saints but in these books, the author is more focused on the why and the social impact of of crime than the unnecessarily gruesome descriptions of murder victims and crime scenes. The investigators are normal people with normal flaws. The main investigator in the above book has been raped and disfigured by a serial killer who then went off the kill her husband and daughter; she also adopted the daughter of a friend who was killed by another serial killer. The girl was tied to the murdered mother and was not found for three days and is seriously traumatised. Do I need to say more? The investigators in Kristina Ohlsson's series have marital problems, loose partners to cancer and have childcare issues. They are likeable but not always and work in an environment where mutual respect and collaboration is valued. In the first book, a child is abducted and murdered, awful really. The investigation focuses on the child's father, a man with a history of partner abuse, but eventually it turns out that the motif rather different and buried deep in the past . The second book focuses on the murder-suicide of an elderly couple and we soon learn that the suicide is staged. The main theme in the book is that of illegal immigration and people traffickers. I am currently listening to the 3rd book in the series.
As always, my 'reading' is a mix of listening and actual reading. What have you read lately? Anything I should read, too?
P.S. I feel the need to apologise for my 'absence' on your blogs, I have been awfully tired lately and didn't seem to have enough energy to leave a comment.