Friday, 26 August 2016

Summer '16 Gut Reactions

Wow, that season went fast. There was Pimms, there were bare feet, there was lots of reading.

The pile looked like this,

 With the addition of these;

And on the e-reader I read
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling
The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran – This woman! Honestly this woman… She gets the Book of the Season, and it isn’t even a story. She comments on life and events, and her ideas seem so common sensical, and she writes with such gusto and enviable turn of phrase, that I can’t help but want to make a mahousive neon banner agreeing with her on all things.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (YA) – I had really high hope for this, because I loved the idea of it, that in the background of the paranormal teen stories, there are normal high-school kids, with normal names, who are also surviving their own (normal) issues. Ness had some delightful touches (or pokes at the paranormals), but then, for me at least, he kind of spoiled it, and I couldn’t get past it. It felt like he couldn’t play his idea out to the end, when I really think it must have been possible somehow. Perhaps I missed the point.

Atlantia- I’m generally not a fan of Dystopian. They make me feel icky and uncomfortable, which I guess is their point. (I like exciting stories with happy endings. And kissing. And no ambiguity. And zombie stories are definitely out – Zombie heroes cannot be hot.) This one though, pleasantly surprised me, to the point where I’m actually thinking of looking up her Matched series, which many many have raved about and I have always avoided, because of the dystopian thing.

 Which brings me onto Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess which I picked up immediately afterwards. It took me a couple of pages to suss that this was dystopian too (Atlantia had perhaps put me in the right frame of mind), but it was far far harsher and frankly brutal. It shocked me in places, but I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read a couple of other books by Burgess and what strikes me is the audacity of his writing; he doesn’t write so much to shock, but to show reality without seeming to give a toss about what others might think or what society considers too much.

Summer Days, Summer Nights was the follow up to Stephanie Burgess’s winter anthology My True Love Gave to Me, which I read in the Winter ‘14 pile. It was perfect summer reading, and I particularly liked revisiting some of the characters form the first book.

Tiffany Reisz is an excellent excellent writer, but she generally writes books that you wouldn’t discuss with your mother, so I won’t mention them here. This one though, is sassy and dark, full of twists and not totally X-rated.

The Raven King. Being the last in a series of four, there was a lot riding on this, and I had been waiting for it for some time. Specifically, I had been waiting for Kissing. There had been a distinct lack of kissing. Without spoilers, this is in fact integral to the plot, and perhaps Maggie was trying to convey the frustration of the characters to the reader, in which case she succeeded. But at last they came. Hurrah! And yet… the book left me feeling… well, that there should have been a wee bit more tidying at the end. I had questions and they hadn’t been answered and won’t be, either. And then there was my usual issue that some of the sentences are so ethereal and poetic, that I can’t quite work out what is going on. I have the same issue- possibly more so- with Melissa Marr’s books. I think I might be too thick.

 The other thoughts;
·         One of these YA books was so very very clich├ęd, I could predict the turns as they came. I know it was a short story, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have an original plot.
·         One of these books has been the bestseller of the summer. HUGE.  And while I loved revisiting the characters, the language just felt clumsy and I just wasn’t convinced by the crucial plot point. Controversial, I know, but there you go…

Am building the Autumn pile, but lamenting the loss of my Kindle Paperwhite, which disappeared at Aalborg airport during my holiday. I MISS IT!! Suspect there will be fewer ebooks featuring in the piles until Amazon puts Kindles on sale again…

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