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review 2018-04-12 16:56
The Language of Dying - Sarah Pinborough

This is a short yet powerful novella that follows a woman as she sits by her dying father. As she narratives his final days we find out more about the man and his family, how each of his children have deal with their grief and how death can both unite and divide them.

 

There is a skill to writing a good novella. The prose has to be fluid yet tightly held together, providing a myriad of information in a succinct but entertaining way. This is such a novella. The unnamed narrator guides us through parts of her life, filling the pages with details of her dysfunctional and broken family history, introducing us to siblings and giving a glimpse into the life of the man that lays close to death upstairs.

It is hard to provide a lengthy review for such a short novella for fear of revealing too much and spoiling the story. That said, every reader will take away something different from the book. It may be for some that the book resonates too close to experiences they have been through, though that may provide comfort to others. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and that is what this book discusses.

 

This book is an essay on grief, on how we can grieve for something that has not yet gone, that we can mourn the loss of an idea, a feeling, a certainty just as much as the loss of a person. Although written from one person’s view this book can resonate with anyone, for grief is a universal emotion, though it may manifest itself in a myriad of ways, the underlying feelings are expertly expressed in The Language of Dying.

Whilst not an easy read this is a moving, thought-provoking look into loss.

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review 2018-01-30 03:01
Chilling, gripping, completely unexpected
The Dying Place - Luca Veste,Jonathan Keeble

this is for the text version of the book, BookLikes won't let me add the non-audio edition for some reason...

 

 

You can't choose the last words you ever say to your child -- and that's what they are, no matter what age -- as they leave the house. Off to school, off out with friends. Off to work, or on a date. You don't think of them as last words. Just another part of the ongoing conversation, the never-ending role as a parent.

 

But at some point, they will be the last words you say to your child, and for too many parents in these pages, those words come a lot sooner than anyone expected or wanted. Which is just part of what makes this novel so effective and devastating.

 

So often (arguably, too often) in books about mass killers, the killers are depicted as geniuses, psychopaths, sociopaths, or a combination of thereof. The villains of this book (without giving too much away, I think) are regular people -- people you pass by every day, see in stores, say hi to walking down the hall at work, or maybe even chat with a bit by the coffee pot. They're hard-working, responsible adults -- vote, pay taxes, help their neighbors, maybe raised a few kids. But life has dealt them one too many band hands and they make some horrible choices in response. And then things spiral out of control.

 

The victims aren't the easiest to sympathize with -- at least on the surface -- they're young men, technically adults, but kids really. Petty criminals -- felons-in-training, on the whole -- loiterers, drug users, public drunks, vandals. Not the kind of criminal you stay awake at night worried about, but you certainly don't want your kids turning out like them or your daughters dating them. On the whole, men who could profit from a good mentor, like the folks in the previous paragraph.

 

That's more spoiler-y than I tend to go around here, but that's just the first 50 pages. One of these ne'er-do-wells shows up dead on the steps of a church, bringing Murphy and Rossi into the story, investigating this murder and eventually understanding that there's more going on. This particular murder victim has been missing for months, but given his frequent delinquency, no one other than his mother, took his disappearance as anything to be concerned about. The reader, by this time, knows that he'd been kidnapped by our fine, upstanding citizens for the purpose of (re)educating him and redirecting his life -- up until it was ended, and he wasn't the only one being (re)educated in this fashion. The question is, will Murphy and Rossi catch up to the reader's information in time to stop them before another young man is killed?

 

Pretty much at this point, the reader can plot the rest of the book and do a pretty good job of it. What the reader won't be able to do is pace it like Veste does -- it seems like he breaks several Basic Thriller 101 rules on that front. More than once I muttered, "What, he's doing that now? Already?" (and once or twice the opposite -- "he finally got around to this?"). He may have broken pacing rules, but he did so in a way that worked. Which is really all that matters, right?

 

It's the characterizations that bring this home -- Murphy and Rossi dealing with their demons as well as the mystery surrounding the missing and then murdered victim; the kidnapped men/boys; as well as the kidnappers. He doesn't dive too deeply into the various kidnapper's frame-of-minds, just enough that we understand what they did and why -- and how they reacted to the chain of events they set in motion. We get a little deeper when it comes to the victims -- which allows us to empathize with them.

 

But Veste also makes us looks at what the people around these victims thought of them and their families (mostly their mothers) both before and after these boys became victims. It's at this point that society at large fails. Veste doesn't fall into the trap of trying to fix societal ills, but man, he makes you think long and hard about your attitudes about some people. The fact that he does that while telling a chilling crime story is all the better.

 

There's more to be said about some of this, it's a very ambitious work -- I have many more notes about things I intended to talk about, but I think I'm going to stop here so the focus stays on the vital stuff. Veste tapped into something powerful here, and that overshadows a lot of the nuances I could talk about (and outweighs the few nits I want to pick). From the wrenching opening pages to the guy-punch of a conclusion, The Dying Place is a gripping police procedural featuring characters you can't help but like and root for, even while the world around them comes apart at the seams.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/01/29/the-dying-place-by-luca-veste
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url 2018-01-24 15:42
Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 (per overdrive for library ebooks)
Convergence: The Idea at the Heart of Science - Peter Watson
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein
The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women - Kate Moore
How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain - Lisa Feldman Barrett
Rescuing Penny Jane: One Shelter Volunteer, Countless Dogs, and the Quest to Find Them All Homes - Amy Sutherland
Dying: A Memoir - Cory Taylor
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry - Neil deGrasse Tyson
The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation - Randall Fuller
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are - Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

I just linked a few, no particular order or topic.  See the link for full list.  Lots of political ones.  And book pages have more suggested reads on them ... I think I will be going down the rabbithole of my library wishlists ...

Source: lfpl.overdrive.com/collection/109107
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review 2017-12-20 12:45
Dying for Love (Hidden Justice) - Cara Putman

Dying for Love by Cara Putnam B01MTCK9BF Story starts out with Ciara Turner and she's on time for the meeting with the judge as she enters, she knows she is early as not even his secretary is there. The other lawyer shows up, David Evans and he finds his mentor, Judge Bantor lying on the floor as they both attempt to safe the judges life. They had dated when they were clerks but moved on in opposing directions. They work together with clues as to the judge's freshman son She can only always count of God to be on her side... Love that she has her girlfriends to watch out for her. He's got a secret he needs to share with her... Excerpt from another books is included. Other works by the author are highlighted at the end. I received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.

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text 2017-12-11 16:18
Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 278 pages.
The Dying Game - Asa Avdic

reads like a dream, so I knocked off a big stack of pages this morning! the whole mood of the book is quite different than what I was expecting--two key mother/daughter relationships being explored, plus a friendship that had fizzled has taken awkward steps forward, as two people are reunited on the island where they and others face strange, psychological tests. the first murder has occurred---I say "first murder" because I would suspect another, more alarming, death may be coming. or, if not, we'll see where this goes. reminds me a bit of the films Mindhunters, and The Osterman Weekend, with some Agatha Christie thrown in. I like it.

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