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review 2017-09-17 12:08
More banter, and I'd have been set
The Thin Man - Dashiell Hammett

In a stark time-marches-on fashion, this one is very much a politically incorrect book all around. Since I don't mind that, I was enjoying it, but at some point around a third in, Nora stopped participating in dialogues and got relegated to audience surrogate, and I wasn't having as much fun.

 

I don't know that I was invested much in the mystery

I figured Wynant had to be dead, and someone was impersonating him for money. His not showing up anywhere was obvious pretty early.

(spoiler show)

but I have to confess I stayed for the train-wreck the characters are. As a rule, I avoid noir because it relies too much on drudgery, dialogue error and backtrack, and it bores me. Here, everyone is so messed up or downright insane I could get my jollies from their hijinks (sometimes horror inducing ones), and I coasted the whole book on this amused sense that I was reading a cast of grotesques caricatures.

 

Call me morbid, I had fun.

 

 

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review 2017-09-07 22:55
Intense ride
In the Woods - Tana French

I have to say, this one really swept me on the undertow. My brain is a bit fuzzy after all those hours of intense reading. Classic book hangover.

 

The next thing I have to say, is that the prot is a huge egotistical dick. Funny, charming, engaging, likely quite intelligent, given his job. And in this cluster-F of a case for all around, the most fucked up person of all.

 

Which is a bit funny, given that his issues are the only ones that are not relevant to the case in the end.

(spoiler show)

 

I also though a lot about what I remember from my childhood, and how much gets lost in the years. I get this anxiety to start keeping a diary.

 

And kept sounding that King's quote in my head

 

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 - Jesus, did you?

 

There is a lot I'd like to comment on, but it'll be spoilers all around, so really, really, REALLY don't click if you have not read the book.

 

Going on what I was marking as I was reading:

 

- That first transition from third person to first was a wowzer. It's jarring because it's detached, and it implies a certain level of fucked up. And it aligns with the dancing around that he does throughout the case.

 

- Ryan about his college-mates, on his diary. Not a people person, huh?

 

“a herd of mouth-breathing fucktard yokels who wade around in a miasma of cliché so thick you can practically smell the bacon and cabbage and cow shite and altar candles.” Even assuming I was having a bad day, I think this shows a certain lack of respect for cultural differences."

 

- On regulation having excavations reporting human remains over the nine feet line, just because it still cracks me up:

 

"I suppose they figure that anyone who has the enterprise to dig down more than nine feet without getting spotted deserves a little leeway for sheer dedication."

 

- Fast tracking through the archaeological site:

 

“Fair enough,” he said, and started pointing. “Neolithic settlement, Bronze Age ceremonial stone, Iron Age roundhouse, Viking dwellings, fourteenth-century keep, sixteenth-century castle, eighteenth-century cottage.”

 

*snort* Your run of the mill little town, then? And of course, the shitty politic-economical reality

 

"the fucking government is going to bulldoze this whole site and build a fucking motorway over it."

 

- Sam's toast. I was snickering over the part he didn't know. It's magnitudes grimmer humor after all is done.

 

- Ryan has this moment (over Rosalind, of course)

 

"I wanted this girl who was like no girl I had ever known,"

 

I'm really starting to HATE that line. WHAT are all the girls like? How is any girl DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER GIRLS? WHY should being different make you BETTER. It implies that a woman, a common woman, a normal woman (whatever that means) is NOT good enough. AND FUCK THAT!!

 

At any rate, by this point, I didn't know whether to tear my hair out, shout, or thump him with his own book. Cassie warned him. He was so concentrated on his own, he did not realize she was not showing him her soul scars just for a lark.

 

- As we wrap up:

 

"I am intensely aware, by the way, that this story does not show me in a particularly flattering light."

 

Ya think?

 

But before you decide to despise me too thoroughly, consider this: she fooled you, too. You had as good a chance as I did. I told you everything I saw, as I saw it at the time.

 

Nice try Ryan. No dice. Maybe I'm too jaded. I pray I'm never played by psychopath (I confess over the years I've had some serious doubts about one woman I was casual friends with, the memories still make me fidget sometimes) graduated to the homicide leagues, and his pile of reasons are neat, weighty and high. And still. Man, you blew up you life yourself. Systematically.

 

This was, in the end, the most hideous realization of all: Rosalind had not, after all, implanted a microchip behind my ear or drugged me into submission. I had broken every vow myself and steered every boat to shipwreck with my own hand. She had simply, like any good craftswoman, used what came her way.

 

- The two trio parallels, of course.

 

- Sophie's verdict (I cackled)

 

After a few dates, though, and before the relationship had really progressed enough to merit the name, she dumped me. She informed me, matter-of-factly, that she was old enough to know the difference between intriguing and fucked up. “You should go for younger women,” she advised me. “They can’t always tell.”

(spoiler show)

 

The thing is, for all the personal vs character stuff (which sounds ranty but actually enriched the experience for me, lol), I had a grand time. I could not put it down. It is strong in voice. It has hilarious passages, and lovely ones (specially on friendship, as adults and as children), and of course, disturbing ones. And it is absolutely gripping.

 

Whew! Done. Sleep now.

 

 

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review 2017-09-02 23:03
Gaze back
Joyland - Stephen King

It was campy Hardy Boys, you know what's waiting for you with the sickly boy, it's a virgin boy fantasy, the protagonist is a Stu. All things you could say this is.

It was lovely read. Sweeps you up in nostalgia, and that sweet emotional minefield of youth, and makes no apologies.

It is what it is, and it's perfect at it.

 

Extra note: The guy that narrated the audio, I think it was the same from Christine and The Sun Dog? Awesome. Spot on performance.

 

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review 2017-09-01 07:16
I didn't need it pointed out to see it
Caín - José Saramago

So, Saramago goes trolling through the old testament.

I really liked "The Gospel according to Jesus Christ", and have read some very interesting takes on the Cain and Abel story (like Unamuno's Abel Sanchez), but I didn't much care for this one. After the first quarter, I had trouble staying engaged, and had to power through to finish.

It was choke full of dry or ironic humor, and of particular stylistic prose, and it made some pointed observations. And yet...

The Old T has some hugely objectionable, harsh, or down-right insane acts from god and it's devotees. I remember lifting my eyebrows at several points during my read as a teen. This book tours us through and addresses the problems with most (but not all) of them, in an attempt to... what? Discredit god? Because I can't even call this atheism, it is SO bitterly anti-god.

*shrug* It didn't live up to my expectations for the author.

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review 2017-08-28 17:27
Cute story for a tween
The Red Necklace - Sally Gardner

A mix of adventure and paranormal set around the French Revolution, with teen protagonists and mustache twirling style baddies. I wished the girl would had fought back some more, but her quiet courage and composure made up for it.

 

The book is big on self-acceptance too, with most characters having some attribute making them different from the norm.

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