I read some terrific books in February, two of them being courtesy of the Great Transworld Crime Caper, several from the local library, a couple of bookrings and even some from my ever-growing To Be Read pile. I can't decide which one I liked best as they were all so different. The one that surprised me the most was The Power of one, which I thought I'd try but didn't expect to enjoy that much. I got through it in record time as I really loved it. You never can tell…
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon – Donna Andrews
The fourth book in the Meg Langslow mystery series and just as funny and well written as the previous three. I reached a laugh-out-loud moment within the first few pages and it continued nicely from there. Meg agrees to tend the switchboard of her brother's company as a favour. Occasionally the office prankster sails past on the automated mail cart pretending to be dying. Then she realises he's not pretending any more. Add up the collection of eccentric computer geeks, a one-winged buzzard, the therapists that share the office space, and her boyfriend's mother's dog Spike, and you have a recipe for mayhem and delight. I loved this book!
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
This came in from the library and being a rather chunky book I thought I'd better get a crack on with it. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this. I'd read The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men but this one felt very different in tone. Not as depressing as Grapes and much more meat to it than Mice. I can't say I liked it more than the other two though. It'd be like comparing apples and oranges as they're all three so different. I did enjoy reading it very much although the ending surprised me. Not suddenly, like some books do. It gradually dawned on me that it wasn't going where I thought it was. One that made me think. I like that in a book.
Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
I've been waiting ages for this to come out in paperback. I love his Thursday Next books and this new series sounded intriguing. Having now read it, I'm still not quite sure what to make of it. It was set in a detailed and intricate world that was revealed bit by bit. It was extremely clever and there were many little touches in there that kept reminding me that it was by one of my favourite authors. But, I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations. Ok, they were overwhelmingly high expectations, but still…
Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy it. Very much. As I said, it was clever, and it was also very different. I think I'd just built it up too much in my mind and that's not always a good thing.
Sacrifice – S. J. Bolton
This is the first book of three received as part of the Great Transworld Crime Caper. I won't go into detail about the book in this post, other than to say it was well worth reading, as I did a full review for it here.
Moon Palace – Paul Auster
This was excellent! I find Auster very easy to read and very easy to get caught up in. This one was no exception. It was about Marco Stanley Fogg, or MS. It was about Fathers, and chance/coincidence and starting over. It's difficult to know what else to say about it other than that you should read it.
Oh, and I'd love to know what Auster has against banks…
American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
Good grief! That was umm, interesting.
At the start of the book you'd be forgiven for thinking that Bateman is fairly normal, apart from the obsession with what his hair looks like, and who's wearing which designer. Then, you come to a line and you stop. Did I just read what I thought I did? You continue and find more subtle hints of who Bateman really is.
Then, after a while, subtle leaves the building. Actually, it leaves the planet. This book picks you up and gives you a darn good shaking. It is not, I repeat not for the faint-hearted. Not for the squeamish.
It is however, a very good read. If you can stomach it.
The little prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
This was the perfect antidote to the horror of the last book. It was only a small volume but it was incredibly sweet and thought provoking, and it had the most delightful illustrations. I loved it.
We'll always have parrots – Donna Andrews
Book five in the Meg Langslow mysteries and a book that I meant to save until next month. Unfortunately it kept calling to me from the bookshelf and I have no willpower where books are concerned. You may have noticed this. Just the title of this book has been making me giggle so I was expecting it to be as funny as the previous four. Although I did enjoy it, I didn't have any laugh-out-loud moments while reading it, as I did with the others. I think maybe that was because it was set away from the bulk of Meg's family and they do provide a lot of the eccentricity. What I did find amusing was the setting of the fantasy convention. I attended a sci-fi con myself once and some of it was so, so familiar. I too saw a lone Klingon and the odd Stormtrooper. No parrots though. They could only have come from Andrews' imagination. I shall look forward to reading book six – which I will save for next month. Even if I have to hide it.
On the road – Jack Kerouac
I read this for The Big Read challenge and to be honest, I wasn't that impressed. I didn't particularly like Sal or Dean and I didn't identify at all with their situation. It was ok and I found it readable enough but I won't say I particularly enjoyed it. At least now I know what all the fuss was about though and I'm one closer to completing the challenge.
The chemistry of death – Simon Beckett
This is the second book of three received for the Great Transworld Crime Caper. I did a full review for it here so I'll just say that it was an excellent book and I'd definitely recommend it.
The power of one – Bryce Courtenay
I never thought I'd see myself reading a book about boxing, which is what I thought this was mainly about. So once again I have to be grateful to The Big Read list for persuading me to read a book that I thought would be miles out of my comfort zone. I actually really enjoyed it. Yes there was boxing in it as the story was about a boy growing up in Africa who wanted to become a boxer. It followed him from five years old to just before university. There was a lot of boxing in it but more than that there was a terrific story about the boy and his family, his friends and his life. It was well over six hundred pages long and I was gutted when it ended as I really wanted to know how his life carried on.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
If authors are going to write smashing kid's books after I've (allegedly) grown up, then I'll just have to be a big kid and read them anyway. And, with this being on The Big Read list, I had the perfect excuse. I loved it. It was a 'phizz-wizzard', as the BFG would say.
Ten big ones – Janet Evanovich
This was great. I love the interaction between the characters and with this being the tenth book, those characters are oh so familiar now. There weren't any really 'falling off my chair laughing' moments in this book but the whole thing was just generally enjoyable. It was a bit like comfort food.