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text 2018-04-26 12:48
"The Library At Mount Char" by Scott Hawkins - DNF at 6% - this one's not for me.
The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins

I started this book more than three months ago. I kept coming back to it and deciding to read something else. Today I did that again and decided this one just isn't for me.

It's well written: strong characters, vivid action, a clear sense of place and lots of "something wicked this way comes" foreboding. But the pulse that beats beneath the start of this book is one of protracted, ritualised, violent abuse of children.

I'm sure there's an intriguing rationale for the abuse. There may even be a rebellion against it but I don't want that abuse in my head so this book and I have no future.


I haven't given a star rating as I don't think it's fair, given how little of the book I read. I'm putting this down to a poor buying decision on my part.

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text 2018-04-25 21:08
Reading progress update: I've read 44 out of 380 pages.
A Talent for Murder: A Novel - Andrew Wilson

Ok, this is probably the one book that I am starting with the most anticipation and the most hesitation I have felt towards any book in a while. 


I don't like fan-fiction and I'm particular about historical fiction, even more so when it is about a person or event that I am familiar with. 


A Talent for Murder is both. It is a fictionalised biography of Agatha Christie that is also a mystery about what happened during the eleven days she was missing in 1926. 


I'm also excited. Andrew Wilson is a skilled biographer of Patricia Highsmith, another favourite of mine. He is also a fan of her thrillers. 


So far, I'm excited to say that all that reading Highsmith seems to have rubbed off a little, and that is probably the best scenario I could have wished for. The beginning of the book was a littered with scenes that resembled elements of both The Man in the Brown Suit and Strangers on a Train


I hope Wilson manages to keep this up.


Incidentally, I'm not impressed by the title, A Talent for Murder. It seems to be a copy of Nicola Upson's An Expert in Murder, which essentially following the same story idea but is a fictionalised murder mystery based on Christie's fellow crime writer Josephine Tey.


Yeah, not keen on the copy-cat idea here, and I'm sure I'll be even less impressed if Wilson follows the same formula.

So, we'll see.

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review 2018-04-25 08:25
Geek Love
Geek Love - Katherine Dunn

DNF @ 60 pages. 


Some books just aren't for me. This is one of them.

No rating, no regrets, but no more time spent on this one either. 

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text 2018-04-24 07:13
Reading progress update: I've read 167 out of 414 pages.
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo - Tom Reiss

Parts of this are fascinating, but the play by play descriptions of military campaigns are really not.


Oh, and the revolutionary Jacobins were ... nuts.

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text 2018-04-16 00:10
Post-Vacation Book Haul



I got back from the trip to Berlin this lunchtime and have lots of updates of books to post but spent most of today either sleeping or unpacking / doing laundry. 

So, updates and pictures are likely to follow later this week. 


As a first installment, here's what I did settle on picking up at the airport on the way back:



I have really high hopes for both books:


I picked up the audiobook of The Silk Roads a while back when it was on special offer, but this is a book I really want as a paper copy. A colleague of mine recommended it and I found the enthusiasm with which she told about the book rather catching. 


The second one, A Talent for Murder, is a slightly different temptation: I really don't like the idea of a fictional re-working of Christie's disappearance that much - there is a lot of potential to get things wrong, especially with respect to her actual biography and works.

BUT... Andrew Wilson is a biographer. He wrote a very good (imo) biography of Patricia Highsmith, and I appreciated how he seemed to stick to facts and steer clear of dramatising events in Highsmith's life. 

So, I am rather intrigued about his treatment of the story of Christie's "lost days". 

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