Adding 2013 sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Already the first month is over. Five books were demolished this month. Smashed through like a ball through a school window. Pulverized like an apple in a blender. Or, more accurately, read with interest while laying down spread eagle in a pair of cotton pajamas. Whichever you’d prefer.
1. Fall of Giants by Ken Follet
I rated this 4/5 stars. I’ve heard a few people say recently that Follet can’t write well, but that he can weave an amazing story. I’m not too sure I agree with the first part of that description, but the second half is certainly true. Detailed, inter-woven character lives. Vast time span. Great historical fiction. However, this one didn’t quite have the evil characters I’ve come to expect from a Follet book. There were certainly some poor decision makers, but nobody who had me yelling ‘die already, bastard! Die!!’ at the pages. It was actually a nice change of pace. Follet writes both interesting male and female characters, and won’t shy away from giving female characters strength and humanity.
Also, the first book I’ve read about war time that I’ve actually enjoyed and finished.
2. The House of Memories by Monica Inerney
I read this book in about two days – a definite page turner. There was an awesomely comforting characters in Lucas, and the author did a nice job of changing your attitude from hating Jessica to feeling sorry for Jessica, to understanding Jessica and finally to liking her. I wasn’t too impressed by the prose, especially since the main character providing the POV was supposed to be a successful editor. If you’re writing a character who is meant to be a master of the English language then you really need to write with perfect grammar, perfect word choices (no ‘got’s’!) and style.
I was impressed though by the diary entry chapters – they sounded exactly like mine when I was thirteen; it created a great connection to the book. I rated it 3/5 stars.
3. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
The saucy surprises continue with Dahl. What a cheeky, naughty minded man. I rated it 4/5 stars as well, partly because the story itself just surprised me – but then, it is about the character Oswald. Let me just explain some of the plot for this one: recent high school graduate Oswald, son of some rich, upper class parents, hears a story about a beetle that when dried and crushed up becomes a powder that will give any man or woman a burning, desperate desire for sex. Oswald goes in search of the beetle, finds it, and basically becomes the original seller of Viagra. He then joins forces with a scientist and a beautiful vixen girl to steal er, parts of famous men from all over the world. Fun, manages to never be distasteful despite the themes, very funny. Pure Dahl.
4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
I had already seen the movie before I began this, but that didn’t take away any of the fun of reading the book. Sometimes I like knowing what will happen, and the movie was so brilliant that the lighting, sets and some characters from it became my minds eye. The story had some moments that made my stomach churn, though this was also in part to having a stomach bug at the time. Don’t read Fight Club when feeling nauseous, too many references to human fat. The book took little time to read due to the short length, was written fantastically and had some hard-hitting slogans throughout. The book will hopefully make you look around your home and realise that you are not your choice of couch while also showing you not to join any project mayhems. I rated it 4/5.
5. The Hound of the Baskervilles (a Sherlock Holmes tale) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
My first Sherlock Holmes tale! As high school students would say, it was quite ‘old timey’ in style. This older way of writing can be hard to focus on properly due to the long sentences and character’s inability to just get to the point but once you’re used to it, it reads well. I always wanted to read this particularly story, and was frightened by the idea of the hound as a child. I’m glad I chose to. I rated this one. The moor, the figures, the atmosphere, the house – shivers. Amazingly eerie. 3/5.
What books did you read this month?