Monday, August 27, 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.

I've been on a reading marathon this week in spite of things to be done. Getting my books from the library makes me read quicker (I think) as I have a deadline and suddenly a whole bunch of holds became available.

The Last Hundred Days

Synopsis here.
McGuinness did a great job of conveying the isolation, mania, hidden corners, mad luxuries of  Bucharest at the height of paranoia in 1989. 
I knew nothing of Romania.
 The descriptions make you feel the city around you and frustrated me with the amount of destruction of old buildings and churches that were carried out. The city is the most wonderful and noteworthy character. 
The main character wasn't my favourite but then he is only twenty one so he is immature and that may be part of the charm.

The Girl Below
From the book jacket:
After ten years in New Zealand, Suki returns to London, to a city that won't let her in. However, a chance visit with Peggy—an old family friend who still lives in the building where she grew up—convinces Suki that there is a way to reconnect with the life she left behind a decade earlier. But the more involved she becomes with Peggy's dysfunctional family, including Peggy's wayward sixteen-year-old grandson, the more Suki finds herself mysteriously slipping back in time—to the night of a party her parents threw in their garden more than twenty years ago, when something happened in an old, long-unused air-raid shelter. . . .

A breathtaking whirlwind of mystery, transgression, and self-discovery, Bianca Zander's The Girl Below is a haunting tale of secrets, human frailty, and dark memory that heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new literary talent.

Meh! Hated it. Abandoned.

From the book jacket:
Drowned, set in the idyllic countryside during a short-lived Swedish summer, gets under one’s skin from the first page, creating an atmosphere of foreboding in which even the perfume of freshly picked vegetables roasting in the kitchen becomes ominous.
   On the surface, the story couldn’t be simpler. A single young woman visits her older sister, who is married to a writer as charismatic as he is violent. As the young woman falls under her brother-in-law’s spell, the plot unfolds in a series of precisely rendered turns. Meanwhile the reader, anticipating the worst, hopes against hope that disaster can be averted.

This was labelled as a psychological thriller but it just felt like a boring, simple "love" story. 

Hocus Pocus
From the book jacket:
From the author of Timequake, this "irresistible" novel (Cleveland Plain Dealer) tells the story of Eugene Debs Hartke-Vietnam veteran, jazz pianist, college professor, and prognosticator of the apocalypse. It's "Vonnegut's best novel in years-funny and prophetic...something special." (The Nation).

This is satire at its best. His description of a country where the yen is a stable and accepted currency in the States  alongside the reduced dollar, a tank of gas costs a small fortune, the rivers are clogged with  plastic bottles, and a new ice age is bearing down on it all. Considering he wrote this in 1991 depicting a country ten years later is remarkable in his insights into today's world and economy.
I also loved the numerology games he plays throughout (I guess that's the analyst in me).

The Box Garden
From the book jacket:
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Stone Diaries. Charleen, a divorcee eking out a living as a poet and part-time assistant for an obscure scientific journal, returns home to attend her mother's wedding, and is caught up in a series of unexpected--and terrifying--events.

It's been years since I read anything by Shields.  This was published in 1977 so it was a little like a trip down memory lane for me. A time when women wore slips, you have to look up a phone number in the telephone book, the bus costs less than a dollar. 
The story of two sisters was also intriguing. How differently they remember the events of their childhood.
The way the main character thinks everything out in her head made me smile as it sounded like myself talking to me.
It was a very quick read for me.

Gone Girl
From the book jacket:
Marriage can be a real killer. 
   One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn. 
   On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? 
   As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
   With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

I am hooked on this book, I cannot put it down!!
2012 books read (65 to date):
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
Timeline - Michael Crichton
Millennium People - JG Ballard
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Birdman - Mo Hayder
Clara Callan - Richard B. Wright
The Paris Vendetta - Steve Berry
Little Girls Lost - Jack Kerley
The Reutrn of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
Nemesis - Jo Nesbo
Dublin Dead - Gerard O'Donovan
City of Bohane - Kevin Barry
This Beautiful Life - Helen Schulman
The Copenhagen Project - K. SandersenPrague - Arthur Phillips
Fortunes of War - Gordon Zuckerman
The Cold Cold Ground - Adrian McKinty
Before the Poison - Peter Robinson
The Mozart Conspiracy - Scott Mariani
Dancer - Colum McCann
Pig Island - Mo Hayder
Old City Hall - Robert Rotenberg
The Paris Wife - Paula McLain
The Last Good Man - A. J. Kazinski
Homesick - Roshi Fernando
Black Friday - Alex Kava
Only One Life - Sara Blaedel
A Perfect Evil - Alex Kava
People Like Us - Dominick Dunne
The Ottoman Motel - Christopher Currie
Even the Dogs - Jon McGregor
The Red Book - Deborah Copaken Kogan
Faith - Jennifer Haigh
The Salesman - Joseph O'Connor
The Last Hundred Days - Patrick McGuinness
The Girl Below - Bianca Zander ABANDONED!
Hocus Pocus - Kurt Vonnegut
Drowned - Therese Bohman


  1. I hope you enjoy Gone Girl...I loved it. And I hope to love Sharp Objects.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. I love Vonnegut, but I haven't read Hocus Pocus yet. I will have to!

    I loved Gone Girl, I look forward to reading your thoughts on it!

  3. I love all your books. Enjoy the week reading.

  4. I am reading NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Nyet.

    I have a pile beside my bed...all unopened.

    Sleep has been quite appealing of late.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. The Last Hundred Days looks very interesting to me, especially because my father is from Romania.

  6. Sorry that you had a few duds in your week, but it looks like it picked up!

    I am so looking forward to Gone Girl, I can hardly wait!

    Have a great week of reading :D


This blog does not allow anonymous comments.