Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reading, lately

Still coasting through a combination of your recommendations (thank you!) and some random picks from the library.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Sort of like a fairy tale. A cranky bookstore owner living on a small island ends up changing his life dramatically when he lets a couple new people in. I was afraid this would be too sweet for my tastes but I ended up really enjoying it.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - This is a side novella in the Kingkiller Chronicle series that focuses on one of the minor characters, Ari. I just didn't love it, partly because I wanted more Kvothe and partly because Ari drives me a little batty, to be honest. Hearing the descriptions of her rituals for her different days made me feel anxious and on edge. But if you're loving the series you could read it to get a fix! But if you don't feel like it, I think you could skip it and not miss out on anything.

The Miniaturist - I somehow thought this was a young adult book and was super confused when things started getting graphic. It is not a YA book (it also isn't a shockingly graphic book once you realize it's meant for an adult audience, so don't get worried / get your hopes up, depending on your view of that type of literature). It's historical fiction set in Amsterdam in the 17th century and I loved the descriptions of life in the city and enjoyed the strange side plot of the glorified doll house but I felt like the "lessons" were a little too pat. I can't really describe it further without giving away the entire plot, but I thought the main character might have more difficulty coming to grips with the revelations, given the time period.

The Burning and The Reckoning - A new (to me) mystery series! Yay! The main detective, Maeve Kerrigan, is a great character and I'll be looking forward to more in the series. These are set in contemporary London, deal with mildly gruesome serial killer plots and have plenty of tension. Thank you, Hayley!

Night Film - This book was so, so strange! I read Special Topics in Calamity Physics years ago, and enjoyed it. Night Film will suck you in, but there were times when I couldn't decide if I was enjoying it but couldn't imagine putting it down half finished. Maybe that's a good thing? I found it deeply creepy. I can read about serial killers all day, but just a whiff of the supernatural and I have to make sure I'm not reading it alone at night. There is a lot of supernatural in here, along with thoughts about perception vs. reality that I found really interesting.

A Dark-Adapted Eye - I've never had much luck with the very popular Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell but one of you kind souls recommended this book written under Rendell's pseudonym. Fair warning - this is not really a murder mystery but more of a psychological examination. You know the murderer and the murderee from the very start of the story, so the tension comes from waiting for the exact events to reveal themselves. I think I anticipated the twist a little too early, which made me get impatient at some points.

The Cuckoo's Calling - Another new to me mystery series that is off to a good start. I checked this out because it is actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, but I had forgotten that by the time I got to it and didn't realize it until I looked it up just now. The main character is a down and out London PI, struggling to keep his business afloat. Knowing who the author is, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that it's extremely readable. This is a fairly light story, so if you like mystery but are not into gore or serial killers, try this one out.

21 comments:

  1. We overlapped by two books this blog post! I really enjoyed Cuckoo's Calling, but The Miniaturist just felt too disjointed for me. One of those story lines alone is interesting enough to sustain that whole book, no need for the rest.

    I just finished up Bitter Greens, which I really enjoyed. Fairy tale re-telling, but more in the vein of historical fiction, with lovely imagery about both Venice and the French court.

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    1. I'll have to check out Bitter Greens! I used to love historical fiction and I haven't been delving into it much lately.

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  2. Have you ever tried the Mrs. Pollifax series for mystery? They are the absolute best! I love them and devour them all the time, I feel like they would make great films.

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    1. I love, love, love the Mrs. Pollifax series and always wish there were more of them. Have you read her other books? I loved the couple of books that featured the clairvoyant and I also liked Caravan a lot. Oooh! And The Nun in the Closet is great too. I guess I love all of her books.

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  3. I'm so happy that you liked the Storied life… As I recommended it, I think! I just retread Life after Life for the second time and loved it so much more this time. Have you read it?

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    1. Yes, it was you! Thank you!

      I loved Life After Life so much. It would definitely be worth a re-read.

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  4. The second one in the Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) series is really good too.

    Have you tried Stephen King's latest detective books (Mr Mercedes/Finders Keepers)? I really enjoyed them recently (more than I thought I would, to be honest).

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    1. Oh yay! I'll have to see if it's available now. I think I'm on the wait list.

      To be honest, I've never enjoyed Stephen King, but I haven't tried his detective books. I'll look them up!

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  5. I felt the same way about Night Film. I could not stop reading it but when it ended I couldn't be sure how I felt about it. Weird and weirdly gripping.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! But the fact that we couldn't stop reading it has to be good, right?

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  6. I loved the first Kingkiller book (Name of the Wind), and have downloaded the second but havent gotten to it yet. Instead, I devoured Tana French's 'In the Woods', which I really enjoyed, and all three books in the Elena Ferrante Neopolitan series (the fourth is coming out in a week!!) The French book is a classic murder-crime novel, but has really interesting insights into the relationships between characters, which I liked. The Ferrante books are just spectacular, and focus on the relationship between two female friends growing up in poverty in early to mid 20th century Italy.

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    1. Is "The French Book" a title, I can't find it on Amazon, who is the author?

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    2. The 'French' book refers to Tana French (the author of 'In the Woods'). If you like a good murder/crime novel, I think you might like that one!

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    3. Yes, Tana French's books are great!

      I haven't heard of Elena Ferrante, thank you!

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    4. Some proof that I'm not the only one in love with the Ferrante novels: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/elena-ferrantes-new-book-art-wins :)

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  7. I loved the cuckoos calling. Can't wait to check out some of these. Have you read, the glory of it all? I'm liking it.

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    1. I haven't! I'll add it to my list, thanks!

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  8. I always come here for your book recommendations. xo, Naurnie

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  9. Long-time reader/first-time commenter, fellow Elmo and Scripps grad...I cannot speak highly enough of the Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante (as other commenters have suggested). All four of the books are incredible (and I so wish I could have a looong discussion about them with Ms. Avitia). You will not be disappointed!

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  10. I wouldn't say I loved "The Slow Regard of Silent Things," but I found it enjoyable. It was nice to get a glimpse into what goes on in Auri's head. Also, I wasn't expecting much Kvothe so it didn't disappoint me that he was barely in there. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of the third book!

    I mainly read in the fantasy genre, and if you like Kingkiller Chronicles, you might like the Stormlight Archive.

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  11. I just finished Station Eleven, and it wasn't what I expected, but fun! I'm just now starting 'The Goblin Emperor' by Katherine Addison, which is pretty good and I would suggest.

    If you like historical fiction, I've always loved 'the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society', even if it is a little light!

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