Monday, March 26, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. For this meme, bloggers post what they finished last week, what they're currently reading, and what they plan to start this week. 

Finished this week:
Nineteen Seventy-Seven 
Synopsis here
I really liked this book, but if reading  about violence and racism will bother you then I don't suggest it for you. This is a continuation of the Red Riding quartet , I read 1974 a couple of weeks ago. The same two characters narrate the story, a copper and a jaded journalist, at times it is hard to distinguish who is speaking.

This is a gritty look into a very bleak world that is corrupt and violent.
I am looking forward to the next book, Nineteen Eighty .

Also finished this week:
The Gallows Bird (Patrik Hedström, #4) 
From the book jacket:
The new psychological thriller from No 1 bestselling Swedish crime sensation Camilla 
Lackberg. A woman is found dead, apparently the victim of a tragic car crash. It's the 
first in a spate of seemingly inexplicable accidents in Tanumshede and marks the end of 
a quiet winter for detective Patrik Hedstrom and his colleagues. At the same time a 
reality TV show is being shot in the town. As cameras shadow the stars' every move,
 relations with the locals are strained to breaking point. When a drunken party ends 
with a particularly unpopular contestant's murder, the cast and crew are obvious 
suspects. Could there be a killer in their midst? As the country tunes in, the bodies 
mount up. Under the intense glare of the media spotlight, Patrik faces his toughest 
investigation yet!

Having read Lackberg's previous three books in this series I feel like I am visiting old friends. I did feel that this plot was a little tighter than The Stone Cutter.
The story is built around a reality TV show which is being filmed in the area. I felt these characters could have been a bit more developed, rather than having them hanging on the sidelines.
I will continue reading her as I really enjoy the setting in Sweden to the point that I had to look at a map to figure out where the various towns are located. Also as I said, I feel like Patrik and Erica are old friends, I was pleased they enjoyed their wedding. I am happy that Anna is back and as always love reading about the crazy stuff the chief of police Mellberg gets himself into.

Started this week:

From the book jacket;
When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a "quantum foam wormhole" and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, very afraid. If you aren't strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visit begins, you'll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civil war, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords and peasant bandits all eager to cut your throat. You'll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzling pitch over castle battlements. On the social front, you should avoid provoking "the butcher of Crecy" or Sir Oliver may lop your head off with a swoosh of his broadsword or cage and immerse you in "Milady's Bath", a brackish dungeon pit into which live rats are tossed now and then for prisoners to eat.
This is the plight of the heroes of Timeline, Michael Crichton's thriller. They're historians in 1999 employed by a tech billionaire-genius with more than a few of Bill Gates' most unlovable quirks. Like the entrepreneur in Crichton's Jurassic Park, Doniger plans a theme park featuring artefacts from a lost world revived via cutting-edge science. When the project's chief historian sends a distress call to 1999 from 1357, the boss man doesn't tell the younger historians the risks they'll face trying to save him. At first, the interplay between eras is clever but Timeline swiftly becomes a swashbuckling old-fashioned adventure, with just a dash of science and time paradox in the mix. Most of the cool facts are about the Middle Ages and Crichton marvellously brings the past to life without ever letting the pulse-pounding action slow down. At one point, a time-tripper tries to enter the Chapel of Green Death. Unfortunately, its custodian, a crazed giant with terrible teeth and a bad case of lice, soon has her head on a block. "She saw a shadow move across the grass as he raised his axe into the air." Try not to turn the page!

I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with this one...I'm not a huge fan of futuristic sci-fi types of stories.

Also started this week:
Millennium People
From the book jacket:
The peasants, goes a tedious old joke about Wat Tyler's mob, are revolting. In JG Ballard's unnerving, prophetic novel Millennium People, however, it's the middle classes that are staging the revolution: blowing up the NFT, burning their books and defaulting on their maintenance charges. Rejecting, in short, everything that they've worked so hard for--The Bonfire of the Volvos, as one rather droll chapter heading has it.
At the forefront of this petit bourgeois insurrection are the occupants of Fulham's Chelsea Marina, (as ever with Ballard) an exclusive housing community. Led by the charismatic Dr Richard Gould, a disgraced paediatrician turned "Doctor Moreau of the Chelsea set", Marina residents Kay Churchill, a former film lecturer; civil servant Vera Britain and Stephen Dexter, the parish vicar and an injured airman (another Ballard perennial) have unleashed an arson campaign against targets deemed suitably middle class.
David Markham, a psychiatrist and the book's steely narrator, is drawn into the Marina's inner circle after his ex-wife Laura is killed in an apparently meaningless bomb attack at Heathrow airport, (prime Ballard territory, of course). Meaningless is the insistent motif: Markham's current wife Sally was crippled in a freak accident and the murder of a banal if inoffensive television presenter (loosely modelled on Jill Dando) is one of the seemingly random violent acts unleashed by Gould, precisely because of their apparent randomness. "The absence of rational motive", as he says, "carries a significance of its own".

This is my first novel by this author and the last he wrote. So far, so good.
While researching the author at Goodreads, I came across the following:
The literary distinctiveness of his work has given rise to the adjective Ballardian,defined by the Collins English Dictionary asresembling or suggestive of the conditions described in J. G. Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.  

2012 books read:

The Coast Road - John Brady
Still Midnight - Denise Mina
The Bulgari Connection - Fay Weldon
Good Bait - John Harvey
The Heretic's Treasure - Scott Mariani 
Dead I Well May Be - Adrian McKinty
The Devil's Elixir - Raymond Khoury 
A Darker Domain - Val McDermid
The Impossible Dead - Ian Rankin 
GB84 - David Peace 
The Emperor's Tomb - Steve Berry
Stonehenge Legacy - Sam Christer
Inquisition - Alfredo Colitto ABANDONED!
The Troubled Man - Henning Mankell
Nineteen Seventy-Four - David Peace
Faithful Place - Tana French
Dead Like You - Peter James
Brother and Sister - Joanna Trollope
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton ABANDONED!
A Beginner's Guide to Acting English -Shappi Khorsandi
The Snowman - Jo Nesbo
The Leopard - Jo Nesbo
The Stone Cutter - Camilla Lackberg
Miramar - Naguib Mahfouz
The Gallow's Bird - Camilla Lackberg
Nineteen Seventy- Seven - David Peace


  1. I loved the quick snapshot of the books you've read in 2012 - a few of them are on my list of books to be read.

  2. These all sound uniquely fascinating...Nineteen Seventy-Seven especially grabbed me.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and enjoy your week.

  3. I love Timeline! It was the first M.C. book I ever read :) Great choice.
    Now following your blog :)
    Here's my It's Monday! Post :)

    - Kimberly @ Turning The Pages

  4. I couldn't finish Timeline.

    My favorite read this week was the audio version of Shutter Island. Please come see what else I'm reading.


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