June 19th, 2012


Book 79: Girl 4 by Will Carver

Book 79: Girl 4 January David #1).
Author: Will Carver, 2011.
Genre: Crime Fiction. Thriller. Police procedural. Some paranormal themes.
Other Details: Paperback. 354 pages.

Detective Inspector January David has always put his professional before his private life, but the two worlds are about to clash horrifically as he visits his latest crime scene. He is confronted by a lifeless figure suspended ten feet above a theatre stage, blood pouring from her face into a coffin below. This gruesome execution is the work of an elusive serial killer. Three women from three different London suburbs, each murdered with elaborate and chilling precision. And as January stares at the most beautiful corpse he's ever seen, he detects the killer's hallmark. But Girl 4 is different: she is alive - barely. And January recognises her.. synopsis from author's web site.

This is a hard novel to classify as while it is a gripping and often gory crime thriller, the way it has been written is quite unusual bringing a unique perspective to the narrative.

Its short chapters are narrated by individual characters: January David, the London Detective Inspector in charge of the case, the killer, and each of his victims. What is different is that the victims dispassionately relate the events before, during and after their murders. In addition, January inherited from his mother the gift/curse of having the occasional pre-cognitive dream, which is something he has tried to deny all this life. So without being an out & out supernatural thriller, the introduction of these elements marked it out from others in the crime/thriller genre.

The plot is full of enough twists and turns to keep even the most dedicated crime buff on tenterhooks and the ending just blew me away. I was so pleased to read that this is the start of a series.
Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

I finished reading Gilliam on Gilliam, an interview book where Terry Gilliam, director, talks about his art. Specifically he discusses his works until Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I found the discussion somewhat thought-provoking, especially with regard to Hunter Thompson's work. For fans of his cinematic works, this book might be worth looking at; for Monty Python fans, that era in his life is only a small portion of the book.

One thing that did stick out in my mind: I'd heard that he had graduated from the same high school I had in Van Nuys, CA, but he never named it in the book. He only said that it was the largest such school in LA at the time (which it was...in fact at that point it was the largest high school west of the Mississippi!), and that it had been an Army hospital during WWII, which it also had been. I'm miffed that he didn't call it by name!

Shakespeare and his contemporaries (pt1)

I'm back after years of absence, and I'm very excited because I have missed this community.  Now that I've graduated I should have more time for myself and livejournal. Let's see how it goes.

Let's start with the plays that I had to read for my English class on Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

1 THE SPANISH TRAGEDY Thomas Kyd (England 1582)

The Spanish Tragedy was one of the most popular plays of its time and set the trend for revenge tragedies. Shakespeare clearly incorporated many aspects of this play in Hamlet. A must read for anyone that is even remotely interested in the period and looking for the places where Shakespeare found his inspiration. It is also filled with strange characters whose actions can be an fascinating source of debate.

2 TITUS ANDRONICUS William Shakespeare (England 1588)

So far, this is one of the best Shakespeare plays I've read. Not as good as Hamlet, Macbeth or Richard III, but almost as haunting and violent. The character of Lavinia and her mutilated body is one of the most powerful images that I've come out of Shakespeare's imagination. There has been an ongoing debate about whether or not this play can be considered immature since it is Shakespeare's first tragedy, and most of it focuses on the great amount of violence that pervades the play.

3 THE JEW OF MALTA Christopher Marlowe (England 1589)

This anti-Semitic play was the source of inspiration behind The Merchant of Venice. However, The Jew of Malta is not charged with the complexity of Shakespeare's Shylock, which means that the main character of this play is utterly evil. It remains a fairly inspired play, with some memorable characters.

4 THE MERCHANT OF VENICE William Shakespeare (England 1596)

I'm usually not very fond of comedies, but this one surprisingly kept me interested. Merchant is filled with ambiguous characters, and the debate over whether Shakespeare intended Shylock to be a compassionate portrayal of the Jews is still fascinating. But what interested me the most in this play was its depiction of gender and homosexuality. In the end, even the Merchant's status as a comedy is contested, which makes the play even more interesting.

5 THE ROARING GIRL Dekker and Middleton (England 1607)

This play is famous for the character of Moll Cutpurse, an independent woman who dresses and acts like a man. However, beyond the Moll and the ambiguous sexuality of some other characters, this play completely failed to interest me. I think this was partly due to the language of the sexual jokes that were difficult to understand.
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Book 31 for 2012

Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. 261 pages
I'm not, as a rule, a big fan of the sort of comedy in which people are made to look foolish and embarrass themselves, but Wodehouse does it so gently and affectionately that I can't find it anything but charming and inoffensive.
He seems to be saying that, yes, these people are a bit silly, but then aren't we all, sometimes? And the people are indeed silly, but also engaging - I can't help feeling rather fond of them really.
So, nothing too deep or thought-provoking here, but a pleasant amusing read.

Book #38: The Christ Files by John Dickson

This book is written for the purpose of analysing the historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. It is a bit of a heavy read, but it is not too long, and the book made some interesting points about Jesus and the writings in the Gospels.

The book does not appear to have been written from a biased point of view, and so comes across as very objective, rather than subjective, and is therefore a good book for anyone, even if they are not a committed Christian.

Next book: 2061: Odyssey Three (Arthur C. Clarke)