On his usual drifting around the US, Reacher spots a sign to his father’s hometown and decides to take a visit. But when he gets there, no-one’s heard of the name Reacher, nothing’s in the records. As always, Reacher is not satisfied with this and sets out to track down the truth and, of course, nothing is as it seems.
Great. One of the great Reacher books. Mystery, confusion, and a whole heap of bad guys and violence. Just what we’re after from a Reacher.
A man is terribly ill, terminal, down to his last days. Then his wife has a car accident and dies and he makes a mysterious recovery. After weeks of rehab, he collects his children and heads to his wife’s beach house for the summer.
It is a cheesy book, certainly not the style of book expected from Baldacci. It’s well written and not a bad plot, and I think a lot of readers would really enjoy it. I didn’t hate it, but found it a bit schmaltzy for my liking.
Any time I see that Frances McDormand is in something, I want to check it out. So with no prior knowledge of the production, I watched the short series Oliver Kitteridge and it was fascinating. Not exactly linear, yet mostly so. No overall story arch, but more like a series of shorts. Olive (Frances McDormand) is pretty unpleasant but yet the audience is on her side. We want her to succeed despite the way she treats people – she’s direct but to the point of being offensive. She’s the type of person that I’d hate to have in my life, yet if she was and I made her happy for me or proud of me, it would be a huge feat. The series is charming but not lightweight. And made me desperate to read the book.
Olive Ketteridge plus Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
The book is wonderful. Each chapter is its own story, sometimes with Olive as the main focus and othertimes with her presence more in the background. Like the show, she is unlikeable yet very lovable. The way she treats those she loves so harshly and sometimes seems to have far more generosity for those she’s not close to. A second book, Olive, Again, came out last year and I was a little hesitant, worried that it might not live up to the wonder that the first book inspired in me. But I shouldn’t have worried. It was delightful.
I read this back in high school and all I could remember decades later was that Lenny was a “gentle giant” (and that this was a euphemism for having an intellectual disability) and that it was set in the Great Depression. Reading it again, I really didn’t like it, though I wonder if my complaints have a lot to do with when it was written.
Lennie travels with George, a man who feels obligated to take care of him. They look for work and have an eventual joint dream of getting a farm together. But in this time of depression, even having a roof over their heads and food in their bellies is more than they can get a lot of the time. However, Lennie is unaware of his own strength and finds himself in situations that he can’t cope with.
The book has often been challenged for its use of vulgar language. For me, I found the depiction of disability and race problematic. Not to mention that the only female character isn’t even graced with a name, and like most characters in the book, is barely a sketch of a character. I didn’t like it, perhaps it was a book of its time, but it doesn’t do much for me now.
It certainly raised the question for me: do classics remain classics when there are other books, perhaps more modern books, which may address the same issues with a more contemporary tone, or with greater depth?
Jack Reacher’s been put back on assignment, so to speak. There has been as assassination, and there are only a handful of people across the world with the abilities required to do it. Reacher, along with a couple of other specialists, need to find out who did it, and the clock is ticking.
Love it. There is a problem, there is an amount of time to solve the problem and Reacher’s on it. He breaks the rules, he hurts the people who need to be hurt, and he takes care of things. Done.
Never Let Me Go by Kazu Ishiduguro
This is an amazing book, and I’m terribly scared that I’m going to spoil it. It’s about a strange boarding school, the children who went there and what happens when they are older. And as I say, I don’t want to spoil anything, I just want to say read it. Read it. One hundred per cent, read it.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
I was fascinated to see how this amazing story would be translated to film. I didn’t think it would work and I guess the pacing a secrets of the book didn’t translate well. There just wasn’t the time to actually let it come out in the same way. But I’d love to see another go, it would make an amazing series. Come on, HBO, Showtime, someone. Do it!
I finally read (well, audiobooked), and came around to, the charms of Pride and Prejudice. One of the reasons I finally did was because I had this and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – what insane crossovers. I haven’t quite got to the zombies book, but made my way through this and my critique is too much society and nowhere near enough vampires. Don’t promise me vampires and let me down like this. MORE VAMPIRES!
Lionel Essrog is a private detective with Tourette’s syndrome who is investigating the death of his boss while trying to avoid raising eyebrows.
I was pretty concerned when I heard the concept of this. Tourette syndrome is one of those medical conditions that are seen as novel and hilarious, and most people seem to know about the verbal tics (particularly swearing) and it I could just see it being a joke. And it wasn’t. The book appears to have a real understanding of Tourette syndrome and how it is to move through the world with it. And then there’s the rest of the world that he has created. So good. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Want to know about the history of mammoths on the planet? Things like… what was life like back then? What was life like years later when mammoth remains were found and toured? How about hearing them from a mammoth skull?
I don’t like spelling it this way but apparently it can have either a single or double m in the middle. And this annoyed me the whole way through the book. Ugh. But it didn’t stop me enjoying the tale. A bunch of inanimate objects having a conversation in a museum? Why not?
Maybe when you’re ill with pneumonia (probably not COVID-19, just a really poorly timed bout of pneumonia) and have been in hospital, reading a book about a vet who works with animals with cancer who is writing about her own experience of cancer wouldn’t necessarily be the best choice. Yet, it also seemed like the perfect book for this time.
Sarah Boston is Canadian and compares her experience in the Canadian system to what her animals go through, and finds it quite lacking. It is certainly a heartbreaking book, especially as stories about animals with cancer don’t always have happy endings. But it’s also very positive and heartwarming.