Monday, June 20, 2011

Holiday Reading

I was pretty tired when I went on holiday this year so the reading recommendation list has slightly more lowbrow on it than usual. That said there are a few books I'd be happy to endorse and lend if required. The scoring system is nothing to do with literary quality but merely an assessment of how much I enjoyed each book.

John Grisham
The Appeal
A small town firm of lawyers takes on a multi-national to claim compensation for victims of a pollution scandal. When they win, big business fights back in the only way it can - by trying to buy the result of the appeal. Well plotted and good page-turner. May well have some basis in truth.
(6/10)

James Lee Burke
Pegasus Descending
A well written piece of southern states crime fiction. Nicely drawn characters.
(7/10)

Douglas Coupland
All Familes are Psychotic
All Coupland's families are anyway. A bunch of crazies convene to watch the only sane member of the family take off on the Space Shuttle. Three books in a row based in the southern states but the only one in which people actually get thrown into the swamp.
(6/10)

David Nicholls
One Day
Incredibly moving. There was a lot of fuss about this book when it came out and I now see why. The narrative device is to visit two people, who meet at university, on the same day every year from then on. If you've lived in the UK for the last twenty two years it's your history too. Well observed and beautifully written.
(9/10)

Caryl Phillips
The Nature of Blood
Overlapping tales from down the ages about blood links, racism and human spirit. Central story is based on a holocaust survivor. Glad I read it but tough stuff.
(7/10)

R.J.Ellory
A Simple Act of Violence
Ellory came to fame when Richard and Judy promoted A Quiet Belief in Angels on their Book Club. This is a crime novel about a murder which reverses the usual format. This looks like the work of a serial killer but investigation casts doubt on the theory and points to an even more sinister truth. I was greatly entertained.
(7/10)

David Mitchell
Ghostwritten
Mitchell's intellect, imagination and span are enormous. Just stops short of showing off in the way that, for instance, Umberto Eco or Thomas Pynchon often don't. These nine overlapping tales will have you picking back through to make sure you picked up all the links. Reminded me a bit of the film Babel and the style is like Peter Carey at his best.
(8/10)

John Grisham
Theodore Boone
Picked this up in a small bookshop when I was without reading matter. It is in an adult book cover but is, in style, a book for teenagers about a 13 year old who wants to be a lawyer. Fun little tale to give to the twelve year old in your family for Christmas.
(5/10)

Jonathan Coe
The Rain Before it Falls
Coe is a lovely writer and here he seems to try to mimic a female style (Mrs WWA thought so too). A study of melancholy over several generations using the device (a little over-used these days?) of something found left behind after a death.
(6/10)

I resolve once again to try and read more female writers over the coming year. Any recommendations?

1 comment:

Mr Gnome said...

Barbara Pym. I didn't 'get' her at first. And then we clicked. She's the absolute real deal - and very, very, very funny. In my opinion, of course.