Apart from one book, which was a re-read, all of the nineteen books that I've read this month were either from the library or on my Kindle. I haven't made a single dent in Mt. TBR. Oh dear. It's getting a bit full now with books on top of books so I really must try and read some of the books on those shelves. The problem is that the library has so many tempting books.
I read a lovely selection in September, most of which I really enjoyed. Under the skin was one of my favourites and I loved the new Jasper Fforde. I also enjoyed the three Koontz books which are a prelude to the new hardback, which Stephen picked up from the library this morning. Hooray!
Explosive Eighteen – Janet Evanovich
I liked this one. It had a bit more to it than some of the previous ones with Stephanie getting accidentally caught up in some sort of plot involving several people trying to abduct or kill her and the FBI trying to get information out of her. Then there was the mystery of what happened in Hawaii, the seemingly constant problem of trying to find a bail bonds office that didn't explode or burn down, and of course chasing skips. Lots going on and great fun to read.
Under the skin – Michael Faber
From the blurb on the back cover, as I can't think of a better way to describe it – "Isserley, a woman obsessed with picking up male hitchhikers – so long as they're well-muscled and alone. But why?
As the novel unfolds and the reason becomes clear, the reader is drawn inexorably into a completely unexpected and increasingly terrifying world."
Sounds intriguing, eh? And you'd think it was a murder/mystery or a thriller of some description, wouldn't you. All I'm saying is that it's so, so much more than that and that the two words on the front of the book, describe it perfectly – "Utterly compulsive".
(1001 list, country hopping challenge – Scotland)
Mrs Harris goes to Paris – Paul Gallico
This was one of the sweetest little books that I've read in ages. On the surface it was the tale of a London Char who takes it into her head to desire a Dior dress so much that she saves up and goes to Paris to buy one. Underneath it's a tale of how good people can be no matter who they are. It's beautifully written, and quite uplifting. I absolutely loved it. There's a second book in the same volume in which Mrs Harris ventures even further so I'm going to read that one too, even though it isn't on the 1001 list.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge – France)
Mrs Harris goes to New York – Paul Gallico
I didn't think this was quite as good as the previous book but I still really enjoyed it. In this one Mrs Harris rescues a small boy who is being abused and attempts to reunite him with his father in the USA. First she has to locate him, but fate steps in when she's offered a chance to travel there. A friend from the first book makes an appearance and once again you get a lovely feel good factor from the book. Sometimes it's nice to read a book that's just gentle and sweet.
The book of illusions – Paul Auster
This was such an amazing book. I've loved all of Auster's books that I've read so far. They all seem to have the power to keep me completely captivated. This one was quite a sad book but intriguing too as you learn about the past with the main character Zimmer. The ending is tense, shocking and in the end quite hopeful. One of those books that stay with you for a while.(1001 list)
Opal Fire – Barbra Annino
This was a freebie for the Kindle a while ago and after Tree said she'd read it and enjoyed it, I decided to read it too. I also downloaded the second book after Tree mentioned that it was free at the moment. It's about a slightly reluctant witch in a small town and has lots of interesting and funny characters in it. The only irritating thing was the fairly frequent spelling mistakes for words like there/their. You get this quite a lot in Kindle freebies and I find it's a distraction when you're enjoying the book. Other than that though, I liked it and I'll read the second one at some point.
White Noise – Don DeLillo
This is the second book that I've read by this author with several more to go as he has quite a showing on the 1001 list. He isn't one of my 'finds', such as Auster or Ishiguro but I do like what I've read so far. This one was about a family in small town America. The theme is fear of death but the book itself is quite amusing. The kids in the family are priceless, especially Heinrich. I loved him, he had some of the best lines. There were some situations that verged on being bizarre, but that were made to seem fairly ordinary. I'm quite looking forward to reading some more by the author, especially as this was quite different to Falling man.
Bloodstone – Barbra Annino
I finished White Noise quicker than I expected and as the Kindle was to hand, I started this one as it was easier than going through the shelves for my next read. Plus, I was curious to see what happened next. It was slightly better than the first one in the typo department and the storyline was quite action-packed too so I rather enjoyed it. Not sure if I'd pay for the third one though. The whacking great cliff-hanger at the end was slightly irritating and too obviously a ploy to get you to buy the next book.
Foe – J. M. Coetzee
This is Robinson Crusoe but with a completely different twist. It's told from the viewpoint of a woman who is cast ashore on an island with two other inhabitants – a man called Cruso and his slave, Friday. Eventually they're rescued and her story continues in England. It was really interesting for the first two thirds but I felt it got a bit odd for the last third. Overall, I enjoyed it though. It was good to read a new take on an old story and some of it was quite thought provoking.
The elegance of the hedgehog – Muriel Barbery
I wasn't sure of this when I first started reading but after a couple of chapters I decided that I liked it and by the end I was loving it. I really liked the way it was told by both the young girl and the concierge. I loved all of the different characters and I could picture them all in the appartment house as they interacted with each other. Not the ending that I was expecting but then I do like to be surprised occasionally.
The woman who died a lot – Jasper Fforde
You'd think the Thursday Next series would be getting a bit old by now but it really isn't. This was laugh out loud funny with loads of new ideas in it. The cheese gag was still running and that one still makes me giggle, but the image of the three wheeled sports car was priceless, especially as I once part-owned a Reliant. The best idea in this book though, was the SLS – the Special Library Services. Just like the SBS, or the SAS, but for libraries. We really need something like that in real life for people who don't return books that I want to read 😉
A couple of threads from previous books were tied up and nice new ones were started ready for the next book. I loved this and I'm so glad that I read it in hardback as the illustrations were marvellous. I shall pop it straight back to the library now, as there's a rather long queue for it.
I've got your number – Sophie Kinsella
I've been waiting ages for this to come out in paperback so when I spotted it in the library yesterday, I decided to borrow it instead. It was typical of her standalone books, and although I enjoyed it, I did feel that it was very predictable. It wasn't one of my favourites.
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
This was nothing like the film, which is what I've found a lot with classic sci-fi. I thought it was actually much better, but then I say that about most books when comparing them to the films. This was a series of short, linked stories about Robotics. The stories covered a series of incidents that demonstrated the Three Laws of Robotics and how they could be contravened. A terrific read. Thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time.
Beloved – Toni Morrison
This was a fascinating read with lots of different elements to it. Some parts I found slightly slower going, but mostly I really enjoyed it. A very different book.
Odd interlude part one – Dean Koontz
I've just ordered the new Odd book from the library and have also discovered that there are three E-books that lead up to it. At only 99p each, it was too good to resist. This was the first one and just like putting on a comfy pair of old slippers. I love the Odd books for their quirkiness. It ended on a nice cliffhanger, which wasn't any sort of a problem with books two and three sitting on my Kindle waiting to be read.
Odd interlude part two – Dean Koontz
The middle part of the story was just as good and also ended quite cliffhangery
Odd interlude part three – Dean Koontz
The ending was excellent and typically Odd. I loved this and can't wait to read the new book when it comes from the library.
Don't run, whatever you do: My adventures as a safari guide – Peter Allison
A rare non-fiction book for me, courtesy of one of the Kindle sales. I couldn't resist it as it sounded so funny and I do love anything like this. It lived up to its hype and made me laugh out loud several times. It was set partly in South Africa, but mostly in Botswana in the Okavango Delta. Apart from being enjoyable reading about the safaris and life as a Safari guide, it was often hilarious hearing about some of the odd things that happened to him out there. It was written as a series of bite sized anecdotes so you could dip in and out if you wanted or, like me, read it straight through. He's apparently written a couple more and I'm tempted to see if I can get them for the Kindle if they're not too expensive.
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
I've been almost obsessively looking at the trailers for the upcoming film of The Hobbit and practically salivating at the thought of it. The trailers alone weren't satisfying my need for all things Hobbity so I felt that I needed to read the book. Again. I don't know how many times I've read this but I love it so much that it doesn't really matter. My copy is 33 years old now and starting to look a bit battered but I'm rather fond of it all the same. It's also a lot thinner than the ones currently being sold for the 75th anniversary which makes me rather curious. Have they put pictures in? Made the print a lot bigger? Put extra bits in? Enquiring minds need to know. Maybe I'll investigate next time I'm in Solihull and have time to browse.
In the meantime, I really enjoyed my re-read and am looking forward to the film even more now. I think I've figured out where they're going to split the book for the films, which was something that was puzzling me before. I really can't wait for December and the first installment.