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So here’s the thing. Every time this week I have sat down to read a book I have fallen asleep, regardless of the time of day and (mostly) regardless of location i.e. I haven’t fallen asleep on public transport. Yet. Well, not because I was reading anyway.
But I’m still ahead of my target to read a book a week so I’m not panicking. Also yet.
Of course not reading – or, to be more accurate, not finishing – books hasn’t stopped me from bringing more into the house (mostly but not exclusively invisible Kindle books). This week I have managed to get a hold of:
- The Verse of Sibilant Shadows by JM Guillen – almost entirely because it has a really cool title
- The Case of the Imaginary Detective by Karen Joy Fowler
- The Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson
- The Girl Who Wasn’t There by Ferdinand von Shirach
- The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher
- The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
And despite the fact that I have made no or little progress with the three books I was reading this time last week I have started a fourth – Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris, largely because I am so taken with Bryan Fuller’s TV series Hannibal (which is based on the characters and bits of the plot but isn’t a direct adaptation) that I thought I would pick up the only book in the series I hadn’t yet read, especially as it was kicking around.
Hopefully a better story to tell next week 🙂
I am making good progress with The Shining but wasn’t able to make it to the book club meeting which was probably just as well; enjoying it hugely – I just love Stephen King, always have.
I have continued to add to the Invisible TBR pile that is my Kindle app with the following:
- Shutter Man by Richard Montanari – the ninth Byrne and Balzano book, a series i have become mildly obsessed with this year;
- Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand – acid folk band recording in country house with dark secrets;
- In Plain Sight by Dan Davies – the life and lies of Jimmy Savile, an exploration of the dreadful sexual crimes of a man who was once really huge on UK TV. reading this because of an long-standing interest in true crime but also it has been nominated for a major non-fiction award;
- The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons – another gothic historical literary chunkster featuring Sherlock Holmes and Henry James;
- Open Season by Archer Mayor – this is the first of 23 or so Joe Gunther mysteries set in New England; I know nothing about this author but it was mentioned in an article about S3 of True Detective and where it might (should) be set and it sounded intriguing.
Must do better 😀
Astonishingly, I have actually finished a book, albeit a relatively short one and assisted by being on a train for a few hours but it’s an achievement nevertheless and I am hopeful that my reading slump is over. I still have the other three books I mentioned last week on the go but haven’t yet identified a new book in the hard copy fiction category; still mulling that over.
The book I did finish was The Collini Case and my review is here.
As I mentioned last week I am re-reading The Shining for a book club and I had forgotten how good it is; really enjoying it, which is just as well as the meeting is on Thursday and I have to finish it by then.
I’m also still buying books, though not as many as in previous months which is probably just as well. In fact only three purchases since my last post; a book of short stories by Paul Cornell on Kindle, the Emma Trevayne novel I heard her read from at the end of last month and a novel by Louise O’Neill, again on Kindle and picked up only this morning after reading a reference to it on the Book Smugglers website.
Hoping to continue making reading progress this week 😀
In some ways The Collini Case is both really easy and really difficult to describe. A young defence lawyer, Caspar Leinen, gets his first opportunity to appear in court when he is assigned the case of an Italian citizen, Fabrizio Collini, who has brutally murdered a prominent German businessman in one of Berlin’s swankiest hotels. I know how swanky it is because both Michael Jackson and I have stayed there, though obvs not at the same time; it’s just lovely and luxurious. Anyway, advert over, back to the point. Leinin finds out that he has a connection to the murdered man (confusion over names causes this) and tries to recuse himself from the case, but ends up taking it forward and is appalled by what he finds.
Why did I want to read it?
I love courtroom stuff and legal arguments and such like, plus I had read a couple of reviews which made it sound intriguing.
What did I think of it?
This is a book that really grabbed me and I read it in two sittings. It manages to be both very simple and very complex, because it hinges on the motive for the murder and some aspects of German law. I was aware that the author, who is an acclaimed lawyer himself, wrote the book partly to bring to everyone’s attention a particular issue which he felt needed to be addressed, and although the actual details were fascinating the campaigning part of the book (if I can even call it that) was well handled and didn’t get in the way of a tragic and compelling story of the legacy of the Second World War. Anyone who knows anything about that period and sees that the murder victim is an elderly man will probably guess what the murder may be all about but there is so much more to it than that.
This all sounds very cryptic but it’s a really fast and cleanly written story and it’s worth discovering for yourself.
I was going to do a whole what I read during July post here but to my shame realised that I haven’t been reading very much at all and in fact haven’t finished a book since 17th June. So I looked at those books I had started and decided to put them aside for the moment (they all looked great and I want to read them when my brain is working a little better) and pick others that I could come to fresh and hopefully kick-start my reading mojo again.
I’ve long recognised that my ability to read is at its best when I have a range of books on the go at once and can dip in and out as I please, so I have come up with the following:
- Non-fiction – Inventing the Victorians by Matthew Sweet “delving into such Victorian passions as advertising, interior decoration, sex scandals and serial killers”
- Kindle – Osiris by EJ Swift – book one of the Osiris Project, dystopian sci-fi (and I have met the author who is just a lovely person)
- Hard copy fiction – The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach – a legal thriller translated from the german; I’ve seen several good reviews of this and have the added frisson of having stayed at the hotel in Berlin where the murder takes place
- Re-read – for the Horror Book Club meeting in August I am re-reading The Shining by Stephen King. It’s been a while so looking forward to re-acquainting myself with young Danny Torrance.
And though I may not be reading I am still buying books; I had an especially productive spending spree after the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club meeting on Tuesday last, where there were readings by Sophia McDougall, Emma Trevayne, Gareth Powell and Alex Lamb. All very different but all very enjoyable.