I've read 19 books this month, several of which were excellent. I've probably read a few more than I would have because I've had to cut down a bit on the stitching and internet time due to a problem with the thumb on my right hand. It hurts. It hurts more if I stitch for more than a couple of hours and also if I use a mouse. I think I may have overdone the Angry Birds on Facebook…
A million shades of green – Sean Black
This tells the origin of the Shades of Grey books and was quite good. They started off as Twilight fan-fic, which is fairly common knowledge, but this tells a little more about the whole affair. It's only a short read but I found it to be rather interesting.
At the mountains of madness – H. P. Lovecraft
I rather enjoyed this. It was a good suspense-filled horror story. Much more subtle than some of the modern stories and leaving plenty to the imagination. It starts off with hints of something gone badly wrong and leads you up to the full horror. Marvellous stuff. Sometimes you just can't beat the older stories.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge – Antarctica, Genre challenge)
The Nose – Nikolai Gogol
This was very short but very enjoyable. One man cuts his loaf in the morning to find a nose inside it. Another man wakes to find his nose missing and later sees it wearing a uniform and getting out of a carriage. And bizarrely, the book is not as odd as I've just made it sound…
Spring flowers, Spring frost – Ismail Kadare
This is the third book by Kadare that I've read after discovering him via the 1001 list. I really enjoyed this one as it was partly about the Kanun, the Albanian Blood feud, which intrigued me so much in the first book that I read, Broken April. I loved the way this one was written with some of the chapters going off on a sort of tangent.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge – Albania)
Nearly departed in Deadwood – Ann Charles
A cosy mystery set in Deadwood and featuring a would be real estate agent. She's trying to make a sale in order to keep her job, while at the same time solving a mystery. Of course she is. There's plenty more going on with several men in the picture, all of whom have something mysterious or suspicious about them, so plenty of suspects for her. It wasn't bad but although I quite enjoyed it, I didn't love it. I have the second book, as they were both free downloads for the Kindle so I'll give that one a read too. I doubt I'll be buying book three though.
Awakening – S. J. Bolton
I read the author's first book, Sacrifice, last year via theTransworld Book Club and loved it so much that I bought this straight afterwards. I then got distracted by other books and it's been sitting on the TBR bookshelves ever since. I was looking for something to read last night, and even though I now have over 400 books on The Pile + Kindle, (600+ if we're counting shorts), I couldn't settle on what to read. Then I spotted this and I remembered how much I'd enjoyed Sacrifice. This one was just as good. Not a book you'd want to start if you had somewhere to be though. I was reading until fairly late and my eyes were trying very hard to close but every time I got to the end of a chapter, despite my intention to close the book and sleep, my curiosity would get the better of me and I'd think, "Just one more chapter." And at the end of that one…
I think the reason that I like mysterys, thrillers and detective novels so much is that I'm curious by nature and they appeal to that side of me. This book had me hooked from the start as it teased and tantalised, giving you just enough information to keep you guessing and to keep you reading. I loved all the facts about snakes, I loved the characters in the book and I loved the various twists and turns. The ending was excellent. I'm definitely going to get the next book and this time I won't wait so long to read it.
Black Water – Joyce Carol Oates
This was a rare re-read. I have lots of books that I keep on my permanent collection bookshelves with the intention of reading them again 'someday', but with all the new books that I keep accumulating the chances of that happening are fairly unlikely. This one is just a thin book and I really did want to read it so I snuck it in while my Kindle was charging as I was halfway through a book on there.
The first time I read this I raced through it as I was almost mesmerised by it but this time I slowed down and savoured it more. I enjoyed it even more because of this and now have the urge to pick up one of the author's other books and luckily I have three on Mt. TBR.
The book is a work of fiction but is based on the events that happened on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969. It's moving and thought provoking and brilliantly written.
Take the monkeys and run – Karen Cantwell
I spotted a humorous mystery type book going free for the Kindle on Pixel of Ink a couple of days ago. It looked rather good so I grabbed it. It turned out to be book three in the series, which I discovered before starting to read luckily. I investigated further and the first two books were available for £1.91 each. Not a bad price, as they did look good, so I downloaded the samples and started reading the first one. The sample was quite a generous size and by the time I came to the end of it, I pretty much had to download the full book as I was rather enjoying it. There were monkeys, a corpse-less head in a mysterious house, and a very funny main character. The rest of the book was just as good so as soon as I finished it I bought book two without even looking at the sample. Fingers crossed it's as enjoyable.
The sense of an ending – Julian Barnes
People keep buying this at work and it's got a really nice jacket. That's pretty much all it took for me to want to read it. I'm an easy sell when it comes to books. I got it out of the library last week and read it this morning. I just have one question. Why has it taken me so long to read another book by Julian Barnes? I'm sure I enjoyed Flaubert's Parrot a few years ago but I don't recall liking it quite as much as I did this. From the first paragraph it just felt 'right', which I know isn't very descriptive but it sums it up. It's a short book at around 150 pages and is well worth reading.
Citizen Insane – Karen Cantwell
I couldn't resist seeing if book two was as good as the first one. It was. Barbara Marr is a hoot. She's nothing special. She's just terminally curious and that sort of gets her into 'situations'. It doesn't help that she's surrounded by some rather interesting people. Loved all the film references that were scattered about too.
Making money – Terry Pratchett
I like to keep a selection of books in my bedside cabinet along with my Kindle. When I ran out last week I grabbed an assortment to fill it up and this morning I chose this one from the pile. Sometimes you just feel like laughing, don't you. I was familiar with Moist von Lipwig from watching Going Postal when it was on TV, although I haven't read that one yet, so I thought this would be one of the better books and I wasn't wrong. Lots of Vetinari in it, and I just love him. Lipwig is one of my new favourites now and you just have to love Mr. Fusspot. Oh, and Mr. Bent's secret was a doozy!
I've also just done a bit of research to check if there are any Discworld books left that I haven't read and happily there are loads. I'll be adding them to my library wishlist then 🙂
Affinity – Sarah Waters
I've read a few by this author now and really enjoyed them so when I spotted this in the Oxfam shop, I happily added it to my TBR pile. It managed to wriggle its way to the top yesterday and I've just finished it this morning. My verdict? Completely brilliant! It was set in Victorian times, but was set around the world of spiritualists and prisons. The writing was wonderful with two stories being told at the same time so you gradually came to realise just what had happened previously, and therefore, what was happening now. All very subtle and clever.
Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
I've read a few of Atwood's books and have enjoyed all of them so far. While I liked this one, I didn't enjoy it as much as the others. I thought the ending was a bit odd.
Divergent – Veronica Roth
I saw a review for this over on Epbot. The Review compares it to The Hunger Games and as I enjoyed that, I thought I'd give this one a try. I'm glad I did as it was excellent. I've just ordered up the second book from the library so hopefully it'll be as good.
Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell
This is a Kurt Wallander novel and is the first book by Mankell that I've read. At first I didn't think much of it as I thought the writing style wasn't very good but I got drawn in fairly quickly and needed to know who committed the horrific murder, and why. I soon became convinced that I knew what the key was but I was very wrong. I quite liked it but I don't think I'll be rushing to read any more of the series.
The Redbreast – Jo Nesbo
This is the first of the Harry Hole books. Harry Hole is your typically dysfunctional detective, this time from Norway. You know the usual type that you find in fiction. Drinks a lot, loner, drives an old banger. That sort of thing. Despite that, I rather liked it. The writing was good, and the story was nicely tangled and took a bit of thinking about. There were flashbacks to WW2 and what happened in the past was all tied up with the present. One thread of the story wasn't resolved which of course has left me wanting to read the next book, and quite possibly the one after that. Luckily, I bought the first four books at Costco some time ago so that won't be a problem.
(country hopping challenge – Norway)
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
I loved this! It was beautifully offbeat and the writing reminded me slightly of Scepticism Inc by Bo Fowler which is another book that I love. I guess at its heart it was an anti-war book as it told of the fire-bombing of Dresden and compared it to Hiroshima. This was all mixed in with the life story of a planet-hopping, time-travelling optometrist. I did say it was offbeat…
Cannery Row – John Steinbeck
A shorter Steinbeck than the others that I've read and interesting in that it was more of a snapshot of a small California town rather than a story. I enjoyed it very much. It was peopled with some fascinating and wonderful characters. I'd have loved for it to carry on for longer.
Home – Marilynne Robinson
This nearly fell foul of the fifty page rule in that after fifty pages, I was getting a bit bored and was tempted to abandon the book. I can't remember the last time I did that. It annoys me if I start a book and fail to finish it. As there had been several moments where I'd been quite interested in the characters and their stories, I plodded on and at around page seventy it clicked. I won't say it was the most riveting book that I've ever read but it was ok. I more or less enjoyed it and I liked the way you gradually found out more and more about what had led both Jack and Glory to their childhood home.