Books read through January and into February:
- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Verdict: Great, then shit. Reason: Nothing like being enamored of a book right up to the end, when it stops right before a moment that much of the book has been leading up to. I guess I don’t get to know what happens.
- The Girl in the Road by Monica Bynre
Verdict: Ugh. Reason: I don’t like unreliable narrators when the author is on form and doing things well, so it make sense that I fucking abhor what was done here. The beginning of the novel is frustrating to sit through, but that’s a matter of taste–I don’t like the fast-paced paranoid thriller style. The middle section, a travelogue of sorts (which I usually hate) was pretty good and the best thing about the book. The ending was predictable and pretty much undermined everything that preceded it.
- The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Verdict: Enjoyable. Readable. Kinda fucked up. Reason: I liked this book, but it is hard to talk about what I liked because the parts that I don’t have set up camp and are making a ruckus. Let’s start with the antagonists, a bunch of cartoon misogynists who are as ineffective as they are EVIL. Their big plan to thwart our heroine from… uh…healing from the trauma suffered as a POW in Iraq is to tell anyone and everyone who will listen just how much of slut she is. When that fails, the plan shifts to hooking her up with her abusive ex in the hopes that his magic dick will make her good and submissive. I can’t figure out the motivation here, I just assume they are a bunch of bored assholes. Oh, and there is also a bit about the main character falling in love with a guy at first sight… that sight being his ass. Not lust, mind you. It was the kind of ass you marry.
- Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
Verdict: Somewhere between a yawn and a disappointed sigh. Reason: Horror rooted in violence with supernatural trappings to force the story in the direction the author wants it to go. None of this appeals to me. No thank you.
- Harvest by Jim Crace
Verdict: Pretty damn good. Reason: A series of unfortunate events pair up with the march of progress to shake an English farming village (in an unspecified period of history) to its very foundations. Our narrator, very much an outsider in the village despite having lived and worked there for years, relates the events from the first ill portents to the very end. To be honest, my first thoughts about this book were that it was fairly boring. Though that changed as I continued reading and became more interesting in the narrative, I can’t fault someone for never shaking that feeling or dropping the book because of it.
- These Dreams of You by Steven Erickson
Verdict: Excellent. Reason: I talked about this book here.
- Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe
Verdict: Enjoyable. Readable. Really fucked up. Reason: All of the problems of The Hum and the Shiver and more! This time around, the book includes a character who enjoys fucking normal women, getting them addicted to his magic dick, and them tossing them aside so that they pine after him and either waste away or kill themselves. This is presented as a terrible thing by most characters, but you have to remember that the evil folks are EVIL and therefore heartily approve of it… also incest and sexual abuse. It makes me hesitate to say that I like these books, that I enjoy them, but I do despite the disturbing and/or horrible shit.
- The Luminaries
Why?: The length of the book made it a long shot from the outset. I fell out of love with long books years ago and this particular tome could have been used as a doorstop or improvised weapon. In the end, it suffered from the same issue most books of this size do: too many words, not enough progression. The book was interesting in places, but not enough to keep me tuning in for another seven hundred pages.