May Books List / Reviews

Wednesday 1 June 2016

May Books List / Reviews
A round-up of the books that I read last month:-

(1) Paperweight by Stephen Fry
Non-Fiction / Essays etc: "A hilarious collection of the many articles written by Stephen Fry for magazines, newspapers and radio."

I've long admired the work of Stephen Fry and I can relate to quite a lot of his viewpoints on the world. Paperweight is a collection of his non-fiction writings in all sorts of formats from around the late 80s; there are numerous newspaper columns he's written, radioscripts, plays and his general musings on life which cover everything from the ordinary, absurd, and the downright banal.

It's a real mixed bag and is definitely a book that needs to be dipped in and out of as Fry himself suggests. I think if you were to read this cover to cover, you'd end up hating it because the way the articles have been put together is so random and incoherent. Bizarre, but there were enough hilarious accounts and interesting pieces to keep me going back for more. [3/5]

(2) The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
Mystery / Thriller: "Trisha McFarland is a plucky 9-year-old hiking with her brother and mom, who is grimly determined to give the kids a good time on their weekends together. Trisha steps off the trail for a pee and a respite from the bickering. And gets lost, really lost."

The concept of The Girl Who Loves Tom Gordon could have made this book a winner, but it just falls flat in so many places. It's basically a 'little girl lost in the woods' cliche as our nine-year-old Trisha strays from her family during a hike trail to answer the call of nature (literally). Cue some hallucinations and 'scary voices being heard in the forest', it had the potential to be a classic eerie tale but it just doesn't reach the right levels of terrifying or creepy to pull it off. 

This is more King doing a psychological thriller than his classic horror stuff, though one that's severely lacking in the 'thriller' parts. Disappointing ,but at least it's a quick read as it has a YA feel about it. [2/5]

(3) Galilee by Clive Barker
Epic Fantasy / Saga: "As rich as the Rockefellers, as powerful and glamorous as the Kennedys, the Geary dynasty has held subtle sway over American life since the end of the Civil War. But they are a family with secrets. Dark, terrible secrets."

I often struggle with epic fantasy saga style books as they can go off on so many tangents, but Galilee managed to keep me enthralled with its sheer awesome world building and vivid character descriptions. This a multi-layered story that focuses on the history of two powerful family houses; the Gearys who are seen as American royalty, very much like how the Kennedys were, and the Barbarossas, who are these historically famed African gods from a bygone era. 

There's a strong theme of the old classic 'gods amongst men' throughout, but the story really centers on the relationship between Rachel Geary and Galilee Barbarossa who fall in love and cause something of a Romeo & Juliet style war between the two family houses. Cue lots of romance, erotic situations (ahem), huge displays of wealth and power, extreme violence and some crazy fantasy scenarios that sometimes don't make any sense. It's a fun and engaging novel, if a little ridiculous in places - you just have to go with it! Completely different from anything I would have thought would have been written by Clive Barker and I mean that in a good way. [3/5]

What have you been reading lately?

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