I’ve only read ten books this month but most of them were excellent. I managed to get two of the additions to the latest 1001 list from the library and loved them both. I also read two by George Orwell. Both predated 1984 and Animal Farm so I was curious to see what they would be like. While they didn’t have the same impact that the two more famous books did, I enjoyed them very much. After waiting months, the second Richard Castle turned up. I read it while picturing Nathan Fillion as the main character. Of course 😉
Naked Heat – Richard Castle
I’ve had this on reserve at the library for months! It’s very much in demand, but finally I got my hands on it. It’s the second in the series of books that are supposedly written by Rick Castle, the author in the TV series. I just love the series so I had to read the books by the fictional author too, just to tide me over while the series is off air. This one was just as much fun as the first one. It’s not necessarily the best written book that I’ve ever read, but it was a light and easy read and I enjoyed it.
Steps to the Altar – Earlene Fowler
I shall have to think about getting my hands on some more of these soon as I only have one more left to read now. In this one there was a lot going on, with a cold case, marital problems and a wedding or two to plan. An excellent book, and I’m now trying very hard to resist reading the last one on my shelf. Must save it for a while and read some of my other books.
Coming up for air – George Orwell
I loved the way this was written. The best way I can think to describe it is chatty. It’s as if the narrator is just telling you about his week over a pint, for most of the book. It’s set a couple of years before WWII and the looming war is what is on most people’s minds. It was written just before war broke out so Orwell’s perception of the war and what might come after it is interesting. Shades of 1984 and Animal Farm, which were yet to be written. Very enjoyable, and well worth reading.
Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
This was quite amusing, in a wicked dark sort of way. It was set in late 50’s London and was about a group of elderly acquaintances and relatives. They start to get mysterious phone calls all saying exactly the same thing, “Remember you must die”. They all react differently, and secrets start to emerge. I don’t think it’s my favourite by the author but I did enjoy it.
There but for the – Ali Smith
I liked this one. It was just a little on the quirky side. There’s a dinner party. One of the guests, who is a stranger to the hosts, shuts himself into the spare room. The hosts discover this in the morning when they discover that the door is locked and there is a note requesting food, but giving no explanation. The book follows several of the characters in the book, all of whom are connected with the man in the room in some way. I loved the style of writing, with the puns and the word play, and I enjoyed the varied characters, especially Brooke. Something slightly different.
Bitter Blood – Rachel Caine
Fantastic! This was book thirteen in the Morganville Vampire series. I’ve really enjoyed these books and have looked forward to this one to see what would happen after the threat to the vampires was eliminated in the last book. Could it possibly settle down and get a bit boring. Oh no, not in the slightest. Tension, danger and thrills all the way. Can’t wait for the next one, especially after the way this one ended.
Waiting for the barbarians – J. M. Coetzee
For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is. But when the interrogation experts arrive, he is jolted into sympathy with the victims and into a quixotic act of rebellion which lands him in prison, branded as an enemy of the state. So says the blurb on the back, and that sums it up better than I could to be honest. It’s told by the Magistrate and seems to be about a man who won’t or can’t ignore what is happening around him, and everything else follows from there. Mostly I enjoyed it, but there were parts where my attention wandered because the style of writing didn’t capture me as much as some authors’ books do.
Nemesis – Philip Roth
This was superb. I read it in one sitting. It was set partly in Newark and partly in a summer camp in the mountains, during WWII. The Newark setting was familiar from at least one other of Roth’s books, but the topic was something completely new to me. Polio. Specifically, a polio outbreak during the hot summer. I had absolutely no idea that polio was still such a killer then. The book was about a particular character and how the outbreak affected him, his family and his friends. It was compulsive reading and I enjoyed every moment of it. I was straight onto Google once I’d finished to find out more as it was one of those books that leave you curious.
The cat manual – Michael Ray Taylor
A fairly short read on the Kindle. It was very similar to a book that I read some time ago, which claims to have been typed by a cat and gives instructions to cats on how to train humans to be subservient to cats. It wasn’t as good as the one that I read before but it was diverting enough for the hour it took to read it.
Keep the Aspidistra flying – George Orwell
I rather liked this, despite wanting to give Gordon a good shaking now and then. He wants to get away from money, you see. He thinks that if he can avoid getting a ‘good job’ and not fall into submission to the money-god, he can write his poetry and maybe live off that. He finds that the slide into the edge of poverty destroys his ability to write and he loses all self-respect. I thought the people who stood by him showed amazing amounts of tolerance.
I have another Orwell on reserve at the library, which I’m looking forward to. I’m finding his early books to be very readable.