Friday, 11 July 2014

Currently reading/ New purchases

Summer is finally here on the West Coast. The past 3 or 4 days have seen bright sunny skies and temperatures in the mid - high 20's.. (Celsius that is... 80's - 90's for those of you working in Fahrenheit still). I know it's not steam heat type temperatures, but that's one reason I moved out here; I prefer medians, winter temperatures near freezing and mild summer temperatures) This is almost too hot for me, I do prefer the nice breeze we had on Monday.. The nice temperatures have made our garden so very bountiful this year. The other day our Day lilies even blossomed. And the wall of hydrangeas look lovely, a nice mix of blues and whites..

So on to books.. Firstly, a bit about the three books I'm currently reading -

Currently Reading

1. Wool by Hugh Howey - This is a SciFi series, the Silo, basically made up of 9 books. The Wool Omnibus, which I'm reading, contains books 1 - 5; Holston, which covers the life of the current Sheriff of Silo, Proper Gauge, exploring the relationship of the Mayor and her deputy as they go into the depths of Silo to find a new Sheriff, Casting Off, that portion focusing on the new mayor, Juliette, The Unraveling, the events leading up to the 'war' and finally, The Stranded, which deals, as far as I know, with the aftermath and maybe the future?? It's an excellent SciFi story so far and there are so many things left to explain what the Silo is/ are and why they are there (wherever that might be) and so on. It's well-written and flows very nicely. Enjoying immensely so far and I've just started Book 5. I imagine I'll have to find the remaining.. :)

2. The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola (translated by Brian Nelson) - I'm getting into this story (a classic) quite well now and finding it very interesting and well-written. I always worry about reading a translation but Nelson has done an excellent job and it makes the book fluid reading. I mentioned this book as a future read in one of my previous Blogs and provided the synopsis so I won't get into it again here. Suffice it to say, it's set in France (Paris) in the mid 19th Century and focuses on the rise of the department store and its impact and effect on the lives of those involved with the store and those on the periphery.

3. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (translated by Don Bartlett) - This is the fourth book in Norwegian author, Jo Nesbo's, Harry Hole police thriller series. I've read one previously, the third book, The Redbreast, and liked very much. Harry Hole is a police detective, troubled and an alcoholic, who is also an excellent investigator. The stories, at least so far, are dark, violent and interesting. In this story, which I'm about 1/3 of the way into, Harry is investigating a series of bank robberies, but also dealing with the death/ suicide/ murder (time will tell) of an old flame in her apartment. The problem is that Harry was supposed to go to her place for dinner, but he woke up in his own place, with a hangover and unsure of anything that happened that evening. So Harry is working to solve what happened with his girlfriend and at the same time trying to solve the bank robberies and prevent his life from unravelling. Interesting stuff.

New Books

I've got to say I was surprised how many new books I've purchased since the last time I listed any. I did return about 20 books to my local used book store, Nearly New Books, but since the end of Jun I managed to buy a few more. Some highlights, if not all, below.

1. The Missing File by D.A. Mishani (Mys) - Police Detective Avraham Avraham knows that when a crime is committed in his quiet suburb of Tel Aviv, there is little need for a complex investigation. He has found that the simplest explanation is always the answer... until now.

2. More Tales of the City by Armistad Maupin (Fic/ Hum) - I have previously read another book in this series, Further Tales of the City, and enjoyed it very much, humorous and light for the most part. "The divinely human comedy that began with Tales of the City rolls recklessly along as Michael Tolliver pursues his favourite gynaecologist, Mona Ramsey uncovers her roots in a desert whorehouse, and Mary Ann Singleton finds love at sea with the amnesiac of her dreams." Fun stuff, eh?

3. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (True Crime) - Truman Capote's investigation of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas and of the two men who brutally killed them on the night of Nov 15, 1959.

4. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (Fic/ Fan/ Mys) - I've heard so much about Jasper Fforde and have seen his books around so finally bit the bullet and bought this one. Sounds strange and interesting. "There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where Thursday Next is a literary detective without equal, fear, or boyfriend. Thursday is on the trail of the villainous Acheron Hades who has been kidnapping characters from works of fiction and holding them for ransom. Jane Eyre herself has been plucked from the novel of the same name, and Thursday must find a way into the book to repair the damage. She also has to find time to halt the Crimean conflict, persuade the man she loves to marry her, rescue her aunt from inside a Wordsworth poem and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare's plays. Aided and abetted by a cast of characters that includes her time-travelling father, Jack Schitt of the all-powerful Goliath Corporation, a pet dodo named Pickwick and Edward Rochester himself, Thursday embarks on an adventure that will take your breath away."

5. Ratlines by Stuart Neville (Thriller) - I've read one other Stuart Neville thriller previously, The Ghosts of Belfast, which was excellent. I've had difficulties finding others of his books so was thriller to find this one, his fourth book. This is the synopsis, "Ireland, 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land ancestors, a German national is murdered and Lieutenant Albert Ryan is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following WWII. A note is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Skorzeny, Hitler's favourite commando: We are coming for you. Soon Ryan discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators all presided over by Skorzeny. As he closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before?"

6. Winter Frost by R.D. Wingfield (Mys) - I've read 3 of the Inspector Frost books now and I want to have the complete collection (Wingfield only wrote 6 Frost mysteries). The books are excellent, different in some ways from the long-running TV series, but I enjoy both. Winter Frost is the 5th book in the series. "Denton is having more than its fair share of crime. A serial killer is murdering local prostitutes; a man demolishing his garden shed uncovers a long buried skeleton; there is an armed robbery at a local mini mart and a ram raid at a jewellers. But Detective Inspector Jack Frost's main concern is for the safety of a missing eight-year-old. Nine weeks ago, Vicky Stuart didn't return home from school. Then another girl is reported missing. Her body is found... raped and strangled. Frost's prime suspect hangs himself in his cell, leaving a note blaming Frost for driving him to suicide. Subsequent evidence points to the man's innocence. Coarse, insubordinate and fearless, DI Jack Frost is in serious trouble."

7. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy (Mys) - Silly enough, I needed a book by an author whose name ends in 'E' for one of my challenges. I've enjoyed the movies based on his books, especially LA Confidential, so when I saw this, besides the great cover, I thought I should check it out. "On Jan 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia - and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history. Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. but both are obsessed with the Dahlia - driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches - into a region of total madness."

Well, that was supposed to be it, but I spent an hour downtown today with the missus and while she shopped in Hot Chocolates, the best chocolate shop/ bakery downtown Courtenay, I checked out Second Page Used Books and found 3 more books.. :)

8. Dead Cold by Louise Penny - You may have noticed that I often collect series without having read any of the books. This has worked out for me for the most part; the odd series has been disappointing and the books have been returned to my local sight unread. This is a series I've not read any of yet, but have at least seen the CBC TV movie based on the first book, Still Life, the first Chief Inspector Gamache mystery, set in Quebec, Canada. Dead Cold is the second book in the series. I have three now and look forward to starting them. "Deep winter, and an electrocuted body lies in the snow beside a frozen lake, a cloud of footprints around it. It's the perfect crime; no witnesses, no clues. But when Chief Inspector Armand Gamache starts to untangle the victim's troubled past, he discovers a secret history filled with enemies and dark secrets. As a bitter wind blows across the landscape, something even more chilling is sneaking up behind Gamache..."

9. Cold Streets by P.N. Elrod (Vampire/ Mystery) - The Vampire Files books are part vampire story, part hard-boiled detective story, a la Dashiell Hammett. Jack Fleming is a vampire and detective who lives in Chicago during Prohibition and finds himself involved with a bit of everything. This is the 10th book in the Vampire Files series. "Everyone - the famous and the infamous - is braving the cold streets of Chicago to catch the talent at Lady Crymsyn, Jack Fleming's swank new nightclub. Like the mobster in town from New York City, looking to muscle in on the local gang boss - who happens to be a friend of Jack's. And the rich-kid -gone-bad who's on to Jack's unnatural secret - he's hanging around with blackmail on his mind. bullets will fly. Blood will flow. And it will become clear that the simple life of a club owner is not in the cards for a vampire with a thirst for justice. "

10. The Door into Summer by Robert Heinlein (SciFi / 1957) - One of Robert Heinlein's earlier forays into Science Fiction. I used to read everything by him at one time, loved his ideas, his humour and his story - telling. I was pleasantly surprised to find a book I hadn't read and the story looked very interesting. "On the enlightened planet Earth it is no longer necessary to kill an enemy to get rid of him. It's just a matter of the 'long sleep' - a freezing process that keeps him in suspended animation for as long as necessary; a month, a year, a century. This is the story of a victim of the 'long sleep', a man who awakens in the future bent on revenge and finds himself trapped by the passage of time."

So there you go.. almost time for Jeopardy and Blue Jays baseball. I hope you find some of the story lines interesting enough to try the books out. Enjoy your summer!

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