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text 2017-10-20 12:24
Reading progress update: I've read 152 out of 992 pages.
The Kindly Ones - Jonathan Littell

I'm not usually minded to update on reading 'progress', but for this "monument of contemporary literature" I've made an exception. Firstly, it's a fairly impressive tome, weighing in at nearly a thousand pages, which implies a fairly large investment in time. But,  the subject matter is also destined to be harrowing and is likely to be interspersed with some lighter reads, in an effort to stave off emotional exhaustion.


Perhaps, if I explain the book is a fictional memoir of Dr Max Aue, a former SS intelligence officer and the first hundred or so pages has been dominated by the Nazi invasion eastward into Poland in World War II and the central character's involvement in the attendant atrocities, you will appreciate the nature of the task. Certainly it is not an easy read! Trying to illuminate the seductive nature of evil on such a terrifying scale is ambitious and man's capacity for inhumanity is frightening! Whether this book enhances the understanding of the horror of war and the tragic consequences is another matter.


My early impression of the novel is that it's well written, but that Jonathan Littell must have known his approach would be controversial. Notwithstanding the cover sleeve suggests it has been compared to "classics of world literature, including War and Peace", time will tell whether it was worth the effort. The sleeve also suggests that "this is a book that every thinking person should read and to which no one can be indifferent". Whatever my ultimate conclusions, I'm sure that will be true. I'm already far from indifferent, but the thinking is perhaps necessarily uncomfortable.

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text 2017-10-20 12:24
Reading progress update: I've read 346 out of 448 pages.
Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Sta... Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I've already stated (twice? three times? more?) how much I freaking hate Wendig's writing style. I guess I should have taken a break between Life Debt and Empire's End because it is reeeeeeaaaaaaaally irritating me now. Especially when I come across sloppy crap like this:


She feels the ship drift downward, drifting as it goes.






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review 2017-10-20 11:49
Thoughts: The Decagon House Murders
The Decagon House Murders - Yukito Ayatsuji,Ho-Ling Wong,Soji Shimada

The Decagon House Murders
by Yukito Ayatsuji



Students from a university mystery club decide to visit an island which was the site of a grisly multiple murder the year before.  Predictably, they get picked off one by one by an unseen murderer.  Is there a madman on the loose?  What connection is there to the earlier murders?  The answer is a bombshell revelation which few readers will see coming.

First of all, I don't claim to be an expert on the Golden Age of murder mysteries, nor have I religiously read works by the well-known writers of mystery either.  In fact, I just last year read my first Agatha Christie book.

So, my thoughts are simply that.

To be honest, it was hard not to make references to Dame Agatha's And Then There Were None while reading this book, considering the setting and the circumstances.  The only difference was a different kind of emotional impact that I felt throughout both books.

And Then There Were None gave a strangely cozy feel, with an urgent, "Who's Next?" factor. The players were all strangers, but the dramatics where high and I couldn't help but feel anxious to know who would die next, and how.  There were scenes that kind of startled me.

With The Decagon House Murders, the narrative was extremely methodical, almost to a point of detachment.  The players were all friends from a Mystery Club at university--they all knew each other and hung out together.  There should have been a certain amount of high emotion attached to this premise as well, and for a moment at the beginning, there was.  But it was brief, and then the rest of the story panned out in a very "game play" type of way.  It was like our characters were acting like they were just indulging in a game of Clue, and aside from some of the over-the-top hysterics that one or two of the characters displayed, the truth is, this book was very textbook, very apathetic.

I won't deny that The Decagon House Murders had an extremely cleverly outlined progression for each of the murders, and for our amateur sleuths in their attempts to analyze the killings and the circumstances.  I loved how the titular decagon house that our players were staying in played a crucial part in the murder mystery itself.  This made the book easy to fall into, and while the beginning was pretty slow to build up, I DID finally come to a point (probably the second or third day on the island), where I couldn't make myself put the book down.

While I found myself more anxious to find out who would be killed next in And Then There Where None, I found myself more inclined towards wanting to know how the murders were committed, and who the ultimate Murderer was.  I found myself trying to analyze the events, much like the amateur sleuths on the island were trying to do, and even almost bought into one or two of the theories being thrown out there.  And it was also hard not to wonder if a similar conclusion to Dame Agatha's masterpiece would reveal itself as well.

I'll admit, the whole thing with the seven plates--each proclaiming "The First Victim," "The Second Victim," "The Third Victim," "The Fourth Victim," "The Last Victim," "The Detective," and "The Murderer"--was a nice touch to create a sense of panic in our players.

did, however, question the intentional use of only the Mystery Club members' nicknames throughout the book, and found that I'm not sure how I felt about how this part played into the story's closed circle murders.  It's an interesting twist when you realize that not once does the book mention the real names of anyone on the island, even though the fact the characters introduced on the mainland had mentioned once or twice about the nicknames.

Speaking of which, the tangential investigation on the mainland by related players was also a welcome side dish.

In the end, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book.  The conclusion was definitely NOT what I expected, while at the same time, it fell together quite well.  And even after that ending... I still found myself a bit confused, because the very last scene was pretty open-ended.

You know, it's hard to write a review piece for a book about such an intricately thought out murder mystery without giving anything away.  And so, with hopes that I didn't include anything I shouldn't have, I might just leave my thoughts at that.

This book was a nice tribute to Dame Agatha's And Then There Were None, though her book was only referenced once in this book itself.  But being that our players were all Mystery Club members, all sporting nicknames of famous master murder mystery writers (such as Ellery Queen, Edgar Allan Poe, and even Dame Agatha herself), I didn't find it strange for references to popular murder mystery devices to be brought up.  I thought it was a nice touch, as well, for our players to examine the murders with a mind to compare them to similar popular mystery fiction devices.



Halloween Bingo 2017



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/thoughts-decagon-house-murders.html
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review 2017-10-20 11:30
The Pool House: Someone Lied. Someone Di... The Pool House: Someone Lied. Someone Died. - Tasmina Perry

Nat and Jem move to New York when he is offered his dream job - sounds perfect, but is it? They become friends with a group of very rich people who spend their weekends in the exclusive, upmarket Hamptons where there is a mystery concerning Alice, one of the previous weekenders. Jem makes it her mission to find out what happened. This was a very easy to read story which flowed along nicely as the reader discovers the murky doings of the jet set. Although it was easy to see how it would all pan out, it didn't detract at all from the book. Loved the New York/Hamptons descriptions and the cover too. Exactly the type of book to accompany a holiday!

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review 2017-10-20 10:48
Where The Gunslinger falters, The Drawing of the Three Triumphs!
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King

When I read The Gunslinger, I was not impress. I was not really sure where this book was going until towards the end, turns out to be a quest book. Then, I have my doubts. But what I started from the first book, I had to move on to the second book and it took me a while to finished it. Yes, I took my time to read it and in the end, that long time... was worth it. I read slowly and absorb the words, the intentions and the purpose. In the end, it is once again a quest book with more questions but I am surprise how good The Drawing of the Three turn out to be.


From where it was left off, Roland of Gilead now has a goal. In order seek The Dark Tower, he has to recruit others from other worlds to join him on his quest - Eddie Dean, a drug junkie who loves his brother Henry more than anything else, Odetta Susannah Holmes, a girl that may seem nice but other wise, deadly and a third that I would not spoil it here. What caught my attention was what does drawing of the three means and its said inside pretty much clearly. Still, the entire book is all about how Roland, almost to his dying breath after been attacked by sea creatures like lobsters, with grit, goes through all hell to get these people from another Earth-like dimension (which is our own). For the first time, and even though Stephen King, in his style of writing long narrations of background history so that we get to know the characters involved for the readers, he managed to draw my attention in a way that is suspenseful and it is good. I truly enjoy my reading and that is why I took my time to finish it. Towards the end, even though there are more questions involve, I am looking forward to read The Wasteland soon. If you have read The Gunslinger and you have your doubts, trust me, The Drawing of the Three is worth continuing.

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