Category Archives: Do I Want To Read?

Do I Want To Read…?

Do you have books that you think you really want to read but aren’t quite sure? Some books you read about or hear about have you instantly wanting to give them a read and then other books you waver a little. Its not that they don’t sound good it that you just want a helpful nudge either way. Well that’s where my ‘Do I Want To Read…?’ posts come in and today I have three books that I wondered if you could give me your thoughts on plus a few thoughts on the authors too.

First up is a book I heard discussed on a podcast (and more on those soon) though I now cannot remember which one annoyingly. Initially for some reason I thought that I had already read it because the premise sounded so familiar, like bookish déjà vu but I am certain I haven’t. Anyway the book is ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn and from the blurb it sounds utterly brilliant. Has anyone read it that can back my imaginings of the book up?

Libby Day was just seven years old when her older brother massacred her family while she hid in a cupboard. Her evidence helped put him away. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the ‘Libby Day fund’. But now the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary gathering. The Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders, and they think her brother Ben is innocent. Ben was a social misfit, ground down by the small-town farming community in which he lived. But he did have a girlfriend – a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra. Through her, Ben became involved with drugs and the dark arts. When the town suddenly turned against him, his thoughts turned black. But was he capable of murder? Libby must delve into her family’s past to uncover the truth – no matter how painful…

Now the first of two books which I would not only love to hear about but any suggestions of other books by them that I might like and you have read. The first I have read nothing by and yet have always thought I would enjoy and that is China Mieville. I have ‘Un Lun Dun’ by him from the library already, which is young adult fiction, and yet of course it’s the titles I don’t have about me that are calling to me the most. The book that I thought might be a good place to start is ‘The City & The City’ as sounds like it has a crime edge to it.

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Bes el, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, “The City & The City” is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

It also sounds like it could completely throw me, so any thoughts on this would be great. I also really fancy ‘Kraken’ too if any of you have read that, or anything else by Mieville for that matter.

Finally an author I have read one work by, though all I can say about it at the moment is that I thought it was very good and nothing more. Douglas Coupland is an author I had always fancied reading and thought would be too difficult for me but ‘Generation A’ which I read and we have long listed for ‘The Green Carnation Prize 2010’ and another podcast I heard mentioned ‘JPod’ which I think sounds really interesting and maybe that would be a good book to try next though its had mixed opinions on it, what do you think?

Ethan and his five co-workers are marooned in JPod, a no-escape architectural limbo on the fringes of a massive game-design company. There they wage battle against the demands of boneheaded marketing staff who torture them with idiotic changes to already idiotic games. Meanwhile, Ethan’s personal life is being invaded by marijuana grow-ops, people-smuggling, ballroom dancing, global piracy and the rise of China. Everybody in both worlds seems to inhabit a moral grey zone, and nobody is exempt, not even his seemingly strait-laced parents or Coupland himself.

Anyone read that? I did see ‘All Families Are Psychotic’ in the library and couldn’t decide if I would like that one or not. I also wondered if the renowned ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ or ‘Generation X’ should be my next dalliance with Coupland? As you can see I am in a ‘Coupland Confusion’ so any help would be good.

Right… so thoughts on ‘Dark Places’, ‘The City & The City’, ‘JPod’ and any additional thoughts on the authors of the latter two, China Mieville and Douglas Coupland and your experiences with them would be wonderful. I am off to catch up with comments in the meantime, I have been a bit slack, I do apologise.

Oh and before I forget… Do any of you have books you would like to hear peoples thoughts on that you are umming and ahhing about? If so I could compile a selection and do a post on ‘Do You Want To Read…?’ so if you have any books like that let me know those too!

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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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Do I Want To Read…?

I told you that this might be a sporadic series and it has indeed been a while since I last asked you about some books that crossed my path that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read or not. I have read one of them and it will be on the blog this week, so thank you for all your thoughts on that one as it lead to a reading. This time its three books that I know nothing about and had in fact never heard of until a certain website recommended that I read them and now I am in two minds, though the covers are calling me…

  

  • Evelina: Or the History of A Young Lady’s Entrance into the World – Frances Burney
  • Memoirs of Emma Courtney – Mary Hays
  • Cecilia: or Memoirs of an Heiress – Frances Burney

There was another one about two victorian sisters which looked ace as well but I cannot find that title for the life of me which is most vexing as it would be perfect for my victoriana research, oh well. As for these three as I said I know nothing about them but they do intrigue me and I have said I want to read more fiction that isn’t contemporary so these seem like they could be a treat! I haven’t even heard of the authors and I feel like I should have. So those of you who know the classics do please let me know if these are any good as they have stirred an interest from Savidge Reads and I would love your insights.

For those of you who are more into your contemporary, I am pleasing both parties to day I hope, I finally opened the parcels that I mentioned on Saturday’s post that had been awaiting me at the sorting office for a few days. They contained these delights…

  • The House of Special Purpose – John Boyne
  • Baba Yaga Laid an Egg – Dubravka Ugresic
  • The Sea’s – Samantha Hunt
  • The Oxford Book of Death
  • Glasshopper – Isabel Ashdown
  • The Einstein Girl – Philip Sington
  • The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
  • Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas
  • The Lonely Polygamist – Brady Udall
  • Half Life – Roopa Farooki
  • A Preperation For Death – Greg Baxter
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet – David Mitchell
  • The Clay Dreaming – Ed Hillyer
  • The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Shadows in the Streets – Susan Hill
  • The Swimmer – Roma Tearne
  • The Great Perhaps – Joe Meno

Let me know if you have heard good things about any of the titles or authors, if you have read any, any you are already sick of hearing about and any you would really like to hear more about, that would be marvellous.

That’s all from me, after a marvellous discussion round at mine for the latest NTTVBG and ‘Skin Lane’ by Neil Bartlett (which I think is an amazing book) I am quite, quite tired and have rather a lot of virtual tidying up to do, I am quite sad it was my last hosting session though. Right, I am off, thoughts on the above books please!

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Do I Want To Read…?

I was actually planning today on simply doing a post saying that I was going to have a ‘blogging day off’ then just as I was settling down to sleep last night an idea loomed in my head and I thought ‘if I don’t do this ASAP then someone else will’ and so I thought I would introduce you to what will be a rather random little series simply entitled ‘Do I Want To Read…?’ With it I will highlight a book or couple of books (like today for example) every now and then that have caught my eye but I am on the fence about reading/asking for as a birthday present/getting from the library etc and so want your thoughts either if you have read them or have heard about them. So lets crack on.

The first book is ‘1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die’ compiled by Peter Boxall. I love a good list of books and indeed I love books about books and so when I saw this at the library the other week I almost had to take it out. Two things stopped me. Firstly I had reached my limit and secondly it is massive and weighs a tonne. I do always ponder with these 1001 things before you die series of books ‘how did they choose that list?’ or ‘what gives that person the authority to decide?’ Do you know what I mean? I also fear I’d start to read the book only to worry that I might never read all 1001 and then panic and go into some kind of bookish despair or get very cross I don’t have lots of them in my TBR. Then again I do love reading about books and it might introduce me to some lovely rogue reads, you can see my quandary I am sure.

The second book currently hovering on my radar I am blaming on Novel Insights as she emailed me with the subject ‘Walpole’ and the message “kind of want to read the book and visit strawberry hill and go to the exhibition as he sounds weird and a bit crazy!” There was also this link here. Well with all of that it was only natural that ‘The Castle of Otranto’ by the slightly crazy and intriguing sounding Horace Walpole is now firmly in my book thoughts. I like the premise “A haunted castle and a ruined bloodline Manfred, wicked lord of Otranto Castle, is horrified when his son is crushed to death on his wedding day. But rather than witness the end of his line, as foretold in a curse, he resolves to send his own wife to a convent and marry the intended bride himself. However, Manfred’s lustful greed will be disturbed by the terrifying omens that now haunt his castle: bleeding statues, skeletal ghouls and a giant sword – as well as the arrival of the rightful prince of Otranto…” I also want to read more gothic books but then I saw this quote “a series of catastrophes, ghostly interventions, revelations of identity, and exciting contests. Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos” and I thought it sounds a bit, well, dare I say O.T.T and pretentious? So now am not sure?

Can you shed some light please dear readers? Have you read/heard about either of these? Is there a book that you are umming and ahhhing over at the moment that you need help to decide if you read or not?

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