I've had quite a good month with seventeen books read. I started off with a beautiful surreal book by an author that I've read before. I read a chunky sci-fi novel by one of my favourite authors, and then a couple of books by an author that I had the pleasure to meet this month. I finished the month by finally giving in to my curiosity about a trilogy of books that it seems everyone is talking about.
Also, I appear to have a new toy on Typepad. It suggests links for my posts and with one click it adds them for me. How cool is that! So, apologies if my next few book posts get littered with links while I play with it. You know what it's like when there's something new and shiny to tinker with.
In Watermelon Sugar - Richard Brautigan
This was a wonderful book. It was only a short read at around 150 pages and would be classed as sci-fi, I suppose. It was set in a fantastical world where they grew watermelons and used the sugar from them to make just about everything they needed. The sun shone a different colour every day, and people lived in peace and harmony except for a small group who were remembered and talked about in the book. It was the style of writing that was so remarkable. It was just lovely to read, so quirky and so easy to settle into. I loved this one just as much as the other book that I've read by this author so I'm going to try and track down some more.
A dead red cadillac - R. P. Dahlke
This month's Plum-Crazy challenge over on BookCrossing is to read books with the theme of Planes, Trains and Automobiles and as always, we'll be interpreting that pretty loosely. I think Cadillac will do very nicely for starters though.
The book was a Kindle freebie and was a murder/mystery featuring a former New York model turned crop duster pilot. I kid you not. And actually, it was quite good. There were a couple of very minor plot discrepancies and a couple of typos, but overall it was well written and it was quite a good story. It had a good ending, I didn't figure out whodunnit and I'd quite like to read the next one in the series. Can't say fairer than that, can you?
Matter - Iain M. Banks
Banks is one of my favourite authors and I knew I was going to enjoy this. I honestly don't know which I love more, his sci-fi or his contempory fiction. Both are wonderful to read. The detail in the sci-fi is incredible and there is so much back-story assumed but you never lose your way as it's so well told. This is one of his Culture novels and a lot of it takes place in a Shell world which is a marvellous thing to imagine in itself, never mind the rest of the strange tech that you get presented with, and the people who inhabit the worlds that you visit along the course of the book. It was a lovely chunky book at almost 600 pages and I wouldn't have left a word out. A fabulous book and going into my permanent collection.
Cost - Roxana Robinson
This was about a family torn apart by the son's addiction to heroin and was rather good. I found it a little slow to get into but once I'd got used to the pace of the book I enjoyed it a lot. I think I learnt rather more than I wanted to know about opiates and what addiction does to a person, but chilling as some of that was, it was also interesting.
The maintenance of Headway - Magnus Mills
I saw someone talking about this on BookCrossing and couldn't resist ordering it as it sounded so good. It's written from the viewpoint of a bus driver and was alternately amusing and hilarious. At one point I had to put it down, as I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my face. The driver was discussing the problem of people who race to catch the bus, or The Runners, as he called them. I'm smiling now just thinking about it. There was the ongoing question of Thompson, and why he was sacked. It was mentioned occasionally through the book and the answer was so funny when you finally got there. I really enjoyed this. Must get hold of some of his other books and see if they're as good as this was.
Working Stiff - Rachel Caine
This is book one of a new series by Rachel Caine and I was looking forward to seeing how it compared to the other series that I've been enjoying. I'm currently up to date with her Morganville Vampires series and have three books left to read of the Weather Warden series, and love them both. This one was going to be unknown territory. I needn't have worried. It was well up to her usual standard. It's completely different to the other two series with an unusual idea for a storyline. I loved the main character and thought she made a great heroine. There was plenty of action, as there usually is in Caine's books, but lots of time spent on the characters too. I'm looking forward to the next book in August.
Fear of flying - Erica Jong
The blurb on the front of the book says "The most uninhibited, delicious, erotic novel a woman ever wrote..." John Updike. Either things have changed A LOT since that was written, or Mr. Updike needs to get out more. I've read more erotic Young Adult novels. Seriously. Having said that, it wasn't a bad read if you ignore the lack of really naughty bits, which I was quite looking forward to *blushes*
Black Dawn - Rachel Caine
This is the book that I bought at the signing at Waterstones and then read the following Friday. Very carefully, due to the beautiful artwork and signature at opposite ends of the book. This one is definitely a keeper. It was also a terrific read. It grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go until the end. It's still rattling around in my head now actually, as I'm wondering what on earth is going to happen in the next book. These books have a habit of doing that to you. They're definitely one of the best vampire series out there. With one of the nicest authors :)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
A week ago I popped into the hairdresser on the way up to the library to return a book. I was hoping they'd be able to sort me out a haircut on the way back from the library but they were fairly busy so I had to spend half an hour browsing in the library to avoid getting back there too early. A hardship, eh? Problem is, I really was planning just to drop off that one book and then scarper as I do have rather a lot of books in the house that need reading. Letting me loose in there for that long was asking for trouble as I'm apparently a book magnet. Four books followed me home. Sigh. This was one of them and I can't say that I'm sorry as it was a terrific read. I did have it on my library wish list so I was planning to pick it up at some time. Just not yet. And I didn't expect it to be quite so good. It was one of those books that once you start reading, you really don't want to stop until it's finished. Marvellous writing.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge - Pakistan)
The thing around your neck - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I've been wanting to read this for a while but didn't want to spend £8 on such a slim book when it came out. It's a selection of short stories by the same author that wrote Half of a yellow sun, which I loved to bits when I read it a couple of years ago. It's one of the books that followed me home from the library last week though, so I've finally managed to read it, and it was excellent. Each short story was similar in that it gave you a taste of what it is/was to be a Nigerian woman. Most take place either in Nigeria or the USA. One story takes place near Cape Town. Not all of the stories have a resolution. Some just give you a snapshot of someone's life but they're all fascinating. Well worth reading.
(country hopping challenge - Nigeria)
The Gathering - Anne Enright
Another of my library books, and another one from my wishlist. A family is pulled together for the funeral of a brother. The relationships between the siblings is explored, as well as the one with their mother. The book also delves into their past. I rather enjoyed it.
(1001 list, country hopping challenge - Ireland)
Fifty shades of Grey - E. L. James
I've been curious about this ever since it rocketed into the book charts and I started selling several copies a day at work. I saw that it was going for a bargain price for the Kindle a week or so ago so I grabbed it while it was cheap. Yesterday I glanced at the first few pages, just to see what it was about and very quickly got hooked. High literature this is not. It is however, entertaining and very, very steamy. I rather liked it *grin*
The accidental woman - Jonathan Coe
I've read a couple of books by Coe, both set in Birmingham, and enjoyed them both. I spotted this in the library while I was browsing the other day and it was one of those books that insisted on following me home. I expected to like it more than I actually did, just because it was by Coe. I'm not even sure how to describe it other than to say it was quite odd.
Fifty shades darker - E. L. James
One of the things that I love about my Kindle is that I get instant gratification. I read Fifty shades of grey. I liked it. I read another book but kept thinking that I'd really like to read the sequel to Grey. So, I just clicked on the link at the back of the book, and less than a minute later I was doing just that. See? Instant gratification. Book two was just as steamy, just as gripping and I'm having to fight the urge to click on the link to get book three, as it got a bit cliff-hangery at the end of this one. How long do you think I'll last?
Cocaine nights - J. G. Ballard
Hmm, I'm not sure about this one. Not one of my favourite Ballards. It was very readable but I just couldn't seem to get that interested in it until about half way through it. And I know that sounds like a contradiction. It was most odd, I'll give the author that much. Also, I was sure I could see what was coming at the end but I was very wrong. That was very good 'cause I like being fooled. See? Not sure.
Fifty shades freed - E. L. James
How long did I last? Oh, about one book and then I caved and got this one, as you can see. Obviously there's more to this trilogy than just the soft porn or I wouldn't have got quite so interested in them. At least I hope so. I enjoyed this one just as much as the other two. The storyline wrapped up very neatly and there were a couple of bonus bits at the end, that I quite enjoyed. Wonder if they're in the print version. Must check in the morning. (having checked, they are)
I've also downloaded a book called A million shades of green that tells of the origin of these books and it looks like a very interesting read to do with publishing and fan-fic. I may read that soon.
American Rust - Philip Meyer
This was very good. The chapters were written from the viewpoints of the different characters, which took you inside their lives and minds. As the book progressed, you learnt more about each one and the unfolding story got more interesting and more tense. I really enjoyed it.