I’ve been working through most of the 40+ books I’ve read this year. Finally, the fiction books I’ve read:
The Case of the Guilded Fly by Edmund Crispin
A fun little murder mystery written around 70 years ago; occasionally takes on a slightly darker tone with a ghost story which I probably shouldn’t have read late at night, but on the whole I warmed to the eccentric lead in the book (“Gervase Fenn”) whose unique approach to crime investigation makes him an instant hit.
I read the sequel later in the year (see below).
The Good Father by Noah Hawley
The book is apparently a ‘thriller'; the cover boasts a ‘very big moment’ in the novel which ‘delivers'; I still haven’t worked out where the moment comes up, which slightly put a dampener on the book for me. Having said that, it’s a really interesting insight into the anxiety of a father who is trying to work out the extent to which he can be held responsible for his son’s actions.
Occasionally drifting into the profoundly vulgar, on the whole it’s nonetheless an interesting and gripping read.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Having enjoyed the films immensely, I thought I should finally get into the book. Alas, my experience of it was less than positive. There’s much more going on than the films suggest, and it’s a gripping plot, but I can’t get the film out of my head, and it makes it difficult to wade through some painfully long chases which don’t seem to be taking us anywhere near the inevitable conclusion.
Many will enjoy it, but I’m reluctant to pick up the next in the series.
Buried for Pleasure by Edmund Crispin
Returning to my highly favoured eccentric professor as he continues his crime-fighting career while simultaneously running for parliament. His eccentricities are, perhaps, a little more understated in this novel, but it’s nonetheless an entertaining read. As with all good murder mysteries, it keeps you guessing – and speaks of Fenn’s wonderfully infuriating identification of the killer many chapters before the big reveal!
I’m looking forward to the next.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gailbraith
Famous the moment it emerged the J. K. Rowling was in fact the truth author, the book has an understandable popularity. Highly readable, a fairly gripping plot, and satisfactory (if slightly predictable) conclusion. There were parts I didn’t especially enjoy reading, and I felt it dragged a little towards the middle.
I’m not in a rush to read the sequel, but can see why many have and will.
Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit by P. G. Wodehouse
As far as I can tell, ‘classic Wodehouse’. It’s short, I only read it because it was free on Kindle, but its a great little tale with all of the farce and absurdity we’ve come to expect from Jeeves and Wooster. I guess the formula is in danger of being a bit predictable, but it’s highly entertaining and therefore well worth repeating!
Great little book.
The Girl that Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
Famed for his debut, “The Hundred Year Old Man who jumped out a window and disappeared“, this highly anticipated outing for the author was never going to live up to expectations – and yet, somehow, it was a massively enjoyed follow-up to his earlier farce. As you read many of the absurd events, you know they’ll be relevant later, but the delivery is spectacular. There were many cringe-worthy moments that added to the entertainment, with plenty of slapstick and dark humour thrown in for good effect.
An excellent and enjoyable read.
A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré
You can’t really argue with Le Carré. He simply writes brilliant thrillers – which are somehow less about the resolution and more about the character development. A touch of humour thrown in, although less than what I remember from some of his other work, the main pull of the book is the intrigue that ensues when ‘something goes wrong’.
I won’t ruin it, but suffice to say it continued to cultivate my great appreciation for this author.
The British Museum is Falling Down by David Lodge
A book that I read especially for the monthly “Book Club” I attend. I enjoyed the absurdity of a scholar desperately trying to avoid getting his wife pregnant again while observing the Roman Catholic prohibition of contraception. It drifted fairly inevitably in a less savoury direction towards the end, but was ostensibly fairly clean and cleverly incorporated brilliant allusions to a number of famous literary works. A nice read, but unlikely to be one I return to.
Foe by J. M. Coetzee
Another book that was read for the monthly book club I attend. Again, it was a book I enjoyed in lots of ways – mainly because of its clever transformation of the plot of Robinson Crusoe (rather like what the musical Wicked did to The Wizard of Oz). It was very readable – and remarkably clever.
However, the existential crisis experienced by the narrator was troubling to me – somehow having a rather alarming effect on me as a reader. My other health warning is that the book has grown in such popularity since it was written that it has been translated numerous times, and it was only on my third attempt that I successfully got hold of the book in English!
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher
This is the first of a collection that it appears will eventually include every Star Wars film, and demonstrates a spectacular creativity and originality that I extremely enjoyed. Besides the unlikely combination of Star Wars and iambic pentameter, the author has managed to weave in the kind of soliloquys and asides that you would expect from a Shakespearean play, without making it seem incongruous with the well-established franchise.
Being familiar with the plot, it was the kind of book that I could pick up for a few pages and put down again – so it was a handy little book for “those brief moments” for reading. I utterly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Star Wars and Shakespeare – but I suspect that if you don’t have much interest in Star Wars, the novelty would wear off quite quickly.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series!
The Girl that Saved the King of Sweden pips the others to the post.
It wasn’t especially spectacular in its prose, but I’m a sucker for a good plot, and Jonas Jonasson is the king of farce! It had stiff competition from William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, but I still can’t get over some of the hilarious collections of absurd characters that somehow make sense!
If you haven’t read “The Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped out of the Window And Disappearaed“, I recommend that too!