Do I Want To Read?

Despite not being able to buy any books this year (it has almost been six months which I almost cannot believe) I do pop into the odd book shop and have a gander on other wonderful blogs, read the books pages in the press and see what Amazon might be recommending to me right now. Yes it’s once again time for me to ask you all for your thoughts on three books that have caught my eye recently that I am just not 100% sure I want to read desperately or not really that much and who better to ask than all of you?

So here are the three books which have caught my eye in the last week or three…

In doing my research for ‘Reading for Brazil’ (no I won’t stop mentioning it, ha) I came across ‘The Silence in the Rain’ by Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza which is the first in a detective thriller series set in Brazil and just sounds like it’s marvellous, but is it really? “The first in a stunning new literary crime series featuring Detective Espinoza of the Rio de Janeiro Police Department. A handsome young businessman is found dead in downtown Rio, a suicide who left no note, who had everything to live for. But by the time the police are called, all traces of the man’s identity and the weapon have been removed. Then as Detective Espinosa discovers that the man moved in the upper echelons of Rio society, and meets his beguiling and remarkable wife, clues to the way he lived and how he died lead Espinosa tantalisingly close to the truth. But is he on the right track?” It also has one of the most stunning covers I have seen in a long time.

Speaking of covers… that brings me to book number two ‘Chronic City’ by Jonathan Lethem which I have been recommended by Amazon. I don’t think the book sounds 100% me though! “Chase Insteadman is a handsome, inoffensive fixture on Manhattan’s social scene, living off his earnings as a child star. Chase owes his current social status to an ongoing tragedy much covered in the tabloids: His teenage sweetheart and fiancee, Janice Trumbull, is trapped by a layer of low-orbit mines on the International Space Station, from which she sends him rapturous and heartbreaking love letters. Like Janice, Chase is adrift, and trapped in a vague routine punctuated only by Upper Eastside dinner parties and engagements. Into Chase’s life enters Perkus Tooth, a wall-eyed free-range pop-critic, whose soaring conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers and a desperate ache for meaning. Perkus’ countercultural savvy and voracious paranoia draw Chase into another Manhattan, where questions of what is real, what is fake and who is complicit take on a life-shattering urgency. Together Chase and Perkus attempt to unearth the Truth – that rarest of artifacts on an island where everything can be bought. Beautiful and tawdry, tragic and forgiving, Lethem’s new novel is as always, utterly unique.” It sounds a little bit ‘modern’ for me, but I like a challenge. It’s the cover though – I love it!

Finally how could I not mention the winner of The Lost Man Booker Prize ‘Troubles’ by J. G. Farrell. Why is it that a book you weren’t too sure you wanted to read, though I would love to read ‘The Siege of Krishnapur’ which is a later book in this trilogy! Now it’s won this prize I am desperate to read the blinker! “Major Brendan Archer travels to Ireland – to the Majestic Hotel and to the fiancee he acquired on a rash afternoon’s leave three years ago. Despite her many letters, the lady herself proves elusive, and the Major’s engagement is short-lived. But he is unable to detach himself from the alluring discomforts of the crumbling hotel. Ensconced in the dim and shabby splendour of the Palm Court, surrounded by gently decaying old ladies and proliferating cats, the Major passes the summer. So hypnotic are the faded charms of the Majestic, the Major is almost unaware of the gathering storm. But this is Ireland in 1919 – and the struggle for independence is about to explode with brutal force.”

So which of these are you equally keen to read? Should I judge any of them by their covers or are their covers a clever ploy? Which, if any, of these have you read? Do let me know! What books are you ummming and ahhhing about reading at the moment?

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30 Comments

Filed under Do I Want To Read?

30 responses to “Do I Want To Read?

  1. LizF

    The Silence In The Rain sounds intriguing as I know very little about Brazil and I think that the crime fiction from a country can give you an insight into life there – albeit probably the seamy side!

    I read Troubles years ago but I was reading a lot of Anglo-Irish fiction set in that period at the time and I may be getting several books muddled up. I might have to re-read it and see if the passage of time has changed how I feel about it.

    BTW I think that you might find that The Siege of Krishnapur precedes Troubles as it is set in the middle of the 19th century (although can’t remember if any of the characters follow on!)

    • Hahaha I like what you say about the crime side giving you an idea. Its a joke, that doesnt go down very well, between me and my friends about how crime horrific Brazil is. I am trying not to think about it too much though.

  2. I’ve gotta cast my vote for Troubles – that prize did work wonders on me! But not based on the cover, which makes it look a little too fluffy for me.

  3. novelinsights

    Silence in the Rain sounds interesting but you can never be quite sure with crime fiction. Agree with Lija, I’m interested in reading Troubles but the cover is a bit blah. LOVE the cover of Chronic City but a bit bemused by the synopsis – not sure is my thing.

    I’m trying to decide whether to get on and read Red April, or squeeze another book in before hand (perhaps a lightish one) or just give The Passage my attention for a few days.

    • I love the cover for Chronic City too but find myself thinking the same as you with the blurb, hmmm.

      I am slightly sulking that Spark didn’t win the Lost Man Booker as The Drivers Seat is so brilliant, never mind though. Have you finished The Passage yet? I am still half way!

  4. I would go for Troubles, I read The Siege of Krishnapur many moons ago, I remember enjoying it enormously (after a slowish start)

    Agree about the cover, very wishy washy, but at least there are no legs or feet in it!

  5. I’d love to read the Brazilian crime novel – sounds wonderful and what a cover.

    I love Jonathan Lethem – I haven’t read this one yet, but the reviews were rather mixed. ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ though is absolutely marvellous – the story of an orphan with Tourettes and his coming of age.

    Troubles has gone straight near the top of my list too. I absolutely loved ‘The Siege of Krishnapur’, which is a little slow burning at the start as Tracey says, but is actually funny as well as serious and full of stiff upper lip.

    • I have never heard of Lethem I was just drawn to the cover as with the Brazilian crime novel. I am looking forward to Troubles if I ever get a copy, I have heard a rumour I might on Thursday when I am at a BBC thing.

  6. farmlanebooks

    I’m tempted by Troubles. The cover doesn’t appeal at all, but I do want to finish reading all those Booker winners.

  7. I would read any book with a spiral staircase on the front! But I must say the blurb didn’t appeal to me – sounds like it might be grisly…

  8. I’m also tempted by Troubles, but might be fun to try a Brazilian read too! (I know, very not helpful of me.)

  9. I haven’t read any of them. But, if you must buy one, Kimbofo mentions a L4.99 deal for all three books by Farrell, including Troubles.

  10. Bet

    Simon, you wrote, “I came across ‘The Silence in the Rain’ by Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza which is the first in a detective thriller series set in Brazil and just sounds like it’s marvellous, but is it really?”

    THAT is a good question, and one I ask myself every time I try a new (to me) mystery novelist. I love mysteries and have been very frustrated in the last few months as I see friends and bloggers recommending various ones… but when I try them, I can hardly stand the writing style, or the sameness of the detectives (it seems to be a popular trend to have a detective who doesn’t eat or sleep properly and has totally failed at his or her private life). I did strike gold a few weeks ago with Karin Fossum, but that was the first in a loooong time. I suppose I need to go back to Dame Agatha! I have read just about everything by PD James and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine. RR’s older works seem so much better than her newer ones; she just doesn’t seem to be able to create (any more) the exquisite and unbearable tensions that made Crocodile Bird, Grasshopper, and No Night is Too Long so un-put-downable.

    I am currently reading The Help, which is surprisingly good. I say that because I am rarely impressed with American fiction that ends up on the best-seller lists (non-fiction is another story).

    Of your 3 books, I would most want to read Troubles. ;-)

    • Mysteries can be utter hits or utter misses for the very reasons that you mention so I too am always a little wary of that enre, apart from series I have tried and already love. I think this one appeals because the setting alone is completely different from anything I have read in thta genre so far.

  11. Have you seen this movie?
    Fitzcarraldo (1982)

    It’s Brazil-related.

  12. The Silence of the Rain is where I would head first. Without a doubt. And you really have not bought books in six months?

  13. Norman

    Simon,

    Greetings from Australia. I am a new reader of your splendid blog. “Troubles” has been on my list for some time and I am now “forced” into reading it. I am especially interested in novels which I can only describe as examining the Male version of Anita Brookner’s characters [I have already posted about her on your site] – that is, men of a certain age who have lost their way, given up hope or just accept the general tragedy of ageing with stubborn stoicism or sad irony. This is an unexplored genre. I seek recommendations from you and your bloggers. Where are the novels dealing with lonely, single men in cardigans?

  14. Eva

    I read Silence of the Rain back in March, and I was so excited, since I love mystery novels. :) The first 60 or so pages was good, with a definite ‘film noir’ flavour, and a seemingly bookish, quiet detective. But then, for no apparent reason, the narrative switched from third to first person, and being inside the detective’s mind made him seem SO stupid, I could barely make myself finish it. And then the ending was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read (I even described it in white font on my blog, my outrage/disbelief was so great, lol). So, um, I can’t say I’d recommend that one, which is a disappointment. ;) (Also, while the reader knows from the beginning that the supposed murder was actually a suicide, the detective doesn’t know, and somehow the whole mystery dynamic thing got thrown off by that.)

    Haven’t read the other two you mentioned, so no long winded advice on them!

    • Hoorah Eva you are back am so pleased to hear from you. I nearly sent you an email and then thought you might not want to be pestered, is lovely to see you back on the blogosphere.

      Silence of the Rain sounds a bit hit and miss, yet I still want to give it a whirl, hmmm we will see.

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