October 22nd, 2015

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

Having been "off" the last several days, including long flights, I'm sure that it won't come as a surprise that I've finished reading several books:

First was Queen & Country: Definitive Edition: Volume 04, a graphic novel. Apparently, there's some three actual novels involving the characters of this saga. I hope to get to them early next year. This deals with some of the characters of Volumes 01 - 03 in earlier times with various adventures hinted at. Nice background work. I'd recommend the entire series.

Then there was Babylon Steel by Gaie Sebold, the first book of a series. Fantasy; female protagonist. A little disjoint, it deals with a series of interconnected worlds and the Babylon finds herself far from her world of origin living on her wits and skills. Not bad, not the best book I've ever read, but it is a change from much of the fantasy works that I've read. I do think that I'll move on to the next book in the series, just not right away.

Next, Osprey Vanguard #2: Panzer-Grenadier Division 'Grossdeutschland', a discontinued book of this line. Mildly interesting, but as with other really old books from Osprey, the art isn't as good as the more modern books became. It is a quick review of the unit history of this German WWII division.

Then, The Running of the Bulls, another short story by Harry Turtledove. It's not exactly a tale about dissolute expats from the New World going from one city to visit Pamplona for the runnig of the bulls, because ... well, you'd have to read it. Downloaded from Tor via a link on Turtledove's Wikipedia page.

Next, You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (A Memoir) by Felicia Day; her autobiographical tome bringing you up to approximately last year in her career. For those of us who've seen her work (The Guild, for example, or her work on Eureka), this will give us some background on the actor. For those who haven't, don't bother reading it. I like her work, and I hope to see more of her on screen. I may have to dabble more on Geek & Sundry. The book does make it clear that everyone has hardships.

How was your week?

Book 99: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Book 99: A Little Life.
Author: Hanya Yanagihara , 2015.
Genre: Literary Fiction. Sexual Violence. GLBT. Disturbing.
Other Details: ebook. ARC. 734 pages.

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome - but that will define his life forever.
- synopsis from UK publisher's website.

My thanks to the publisher who responded to my request via NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

In the end I found I had mixed feelings about this novel. Without doubt it was powerful and highly engaging and I felt drawn into the lives of the characters finding it very hard to put down. The harrowing story of Jude as it was revealed was deeply shocking. However, I was unsure whether it has the literary quality I usually look for in a novel short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Near the end I realised that it reminded me of the novels of writers such as Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins, which were very popular and charted the lives of highly successful wealthy people whose lives are blighted by tragedy. Addictive reading without a doubt though is it literature or soap opera? I remain uncertain.

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This was another novel that generated a lively discussion in our Man Booker Shadowing Readers' Group. The amount of disturbing content was a key issue and certainly potential readers do need to be aware that this could be triggering.