Monday, July 12, 2010

Hanging out in the teenage section of the library

I’ve been finding myself stalking the teenage section of my local library lately…..sadly there hasn’t been much of a crowd as it seems teenagers in my area don’t read that much!

The good thing is that the books I’m after are all always available.

Just finished the Chaos Walking Triology by Patrick Ness. The books entitled, The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men tell the story of Todd and Viola as they battle to save the world around them from destruction.

It’s a dystopian narrative, but an absolutely riveting tale that twist and turns. There were a few absolutely heart rendering moments in it too. The whole series has been one of the most thrilling and inventive reads of this year so far.

You know books that you desperately rush to read to the because you need to find out what happens.....all the while also realising that you don’t want it to end either? Well, once you start this trilogy you will not be able to put it down.

Another teenage series I've returned to is Eoin Colfer's fantastic Artemis Fowl series. The latest, Book 7: Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex comes out on August 3rd.

In preparation, I've just re-read Book 5: Artemist Fowl & The Lost Colony.

And would you believe I let one pass me by??!! So just about to start Book 6: Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox.

The books are so much fun! I love the geeky humour in them and the whole relationship between 'mud men' (humans) and the fairies.

So all I can say is visit the teenage section of your library/bookstore - some brilant reads await you!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Page turner - The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

What a rip roaring page turner! I was absolutely enthralled by Wilkie Collins masterpiece of detective fiction - The Moonstone, published in 1868.

Yes that's right, 1868!!! Bloody hell, talk about a novel lasting the distance.

The Moonstone has been called the "first detective novel" and was deemed, in Collins' time, a "sensation novel". It's the classic who dunnit, that created the who dunnit genre: a diamond with a tainted history goes missing in a house full of guest. Everyone one of them a suspect.

Not going to give anymore away but once you start reading it'll keep you guessing right to the end.

And oh yeah it is funny too.

Wilkie Collins kept popping up in a number of books I was reading, from The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher (Kate Summerscale), Drood: A Novel (Dan Simmon) so I thought it was time I read his book.

Collins was best buds with Charles Dickens. Funny thing is I have tried to read Dickens but just could get into him.

Whereas Collins is now my favourite.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 10 Reads - Part 2

Life of Pi - Yann Martel

Why did I wait so long to read this brilliant book?

I got this Man Booker prize winner as a present in 2002 and for some reason just let it sit on my bookshelf........for quite a while.

So, some seven years later I finally got around to reading it and absolutely loved it.

It’s the story of 16-year-old Pi Patel who is adrift trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

This book is magical realism at its best - completly taking you away on this amazing journey. It is a real feat of story telling. And there is just a wonderful humanity in the book as the story connects religion, science, families and faith.

Shōgun - James Clavell
Clavell can sure tell a story! This blockbuster, at over 1000 pages long, had me staying up until all hours the night for marathon reading sessions.

Shogun is the engrossing story of a shipwrecked British sailor, John Blackthorne, who ends up playing a central role in the power struggle between two daimyos Toranaga and Ishido.

The characters are not only believable, but the narrative twist and turns quite breath taking. Indeed, plots and counter plots and political manuoevring between the characters makes it a gripping read.

But be warned, if you start this book it will take over your life.

The Sweet Life in Paris - David Lebovitz

I have previously blogged about The Sweet Life in Paris and how Lebovitz's funny and insightful take on living in Paris. Having visited and stayed with family in Paris, he is soooo spot on about their little quirks and contradictions!

Lebovtiz is the David Sedaris of food writing. Enough said.

On the topic of list and of course being a huge list maker myself, I found the Guardian's Top Ten Series fantastic. Check out for the instance the Top 10 Vampire books or Top 10 Victorian detective stories.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Top 10 Reads - Part 1

Vampires and Food.

Yep, these were the two major themes in my reading last year.

Thanks to a little gentle prompting from Tseenster, here’s my (belated) top ten reads of 2009 (in no particular order)

Vampire Tapestry – Suzy McKee Charnas
One of the best vampire books.…..ever. A contemporary vampire who disguises himself as an academic! I loved the concept: Dr Edward Weyland, by day a mild mannered sociologist in a mid western University, by night a voracious hunter of humans. What better disguise for a vampire, after all one could argue that some forms of academia are a form of vamprisim?

This book is a riveting thriller that explores the shifting relationship between predator and prey, it's a world where humans are not the top of the food chain but mere cattle. It’s clever, subtle and exceptionally well written.

In other words it’s a vampire book with brains! I loved the way your sympathies constanly shift in the book with a ultimately suprising and moving ending. Oh yeah the skewing of academia is soooo spot on.

I only accidently found this book on Amazon's "Customer's Who Bought this Item also Bought' application. This books definitely needs to be promoted so much more! So I actually got my library to order this book in.

The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood
Master story teller at work here.

No-one does dystopian future narratives like Atwood. She is able to so brilliantly create an imaginative world in which you actually care about her characters. I loved the gene-spliced life forms like a 'liobam" and wonderful word play, for instanced a spa called “Anooyoo”.

A funny, sly, disturbing and also sad and scary read.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher or, The murder at Road Hill House - Kate Summerscale

Am not usually a ‘true crime’ fan but I kept seeing so many great reviews of this book that I thought I’d better check it out.

And the reviews were right! This is a brillant page turner that provides a thrilling account of the murder of three year old Saville Kent. The story takes so many twist and turns that it is hard to believe it was happened in ‘real life’.

But was is also thrilling in Summerscale's account is how she links this case with the rise of detective fiction itself - with the figure of Detecive Jonathan Whicher the model for Wilkie Collins's policeman in The Moonstone and Dickens when he was writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

More to come;-)