Faces in the Crowd


Read 29/07/2016-30/07/2016

Rating: 3 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Olympic Challenge

A woman trapped in a house in Mexico City is obsessed with Gilberto Owen in an apartment in Harlem with a dead orange tree. Gilberto Owen in an apartment in Harlem with a dead orange tree is obsessed with Emily Dickinson who is a woman trapped in a house. Both the woman and Gilberto see ghosts. Both Gilberto and the woman are ghosts. Both have died many times and go on dying and seeing each other across time. Continue reading


The Museum of Things Left Behind


Read 21/07/2016-25/07/2016

Rating: 1 star

LibraryThing review.

I picked this up because the blurb on the back cover made it seem like it would be a charming, whimsical flight of fancy with added bite, in the mode of Louis de Bernières or Marina Lewycka.

I think it wants to be that kind of book, but it doesn’t quite get there. It wants to be a satire on Capitalism, US Imperialism through trade, and life under a dictatorship made to seem legitimate by regular elections. It’s set in a fictional European country, but it could have been a fictional African country. The satire would perhaps have had more bite that way. Continue reading

Between the World and Me


Read 20/07/2016-21/07/2016

Rating: 4 stars

This was a compelling read that hooked me in and made me concentrate. Coates’s logic is lucid, his argument articulate. His analysis of his own experience as a black man and a full history of black experience since slavery began amplified things that I, in my whiteness, think about how black people are treated.

It starts with an incredible declaration. Continue reading

The Marriage Plot


Read 16/07/2016-19/07/2016

Rating: 4 stars

This book was a delight. The prose fizzed with exuberance. Experiencing Madeleine’s college life, her friendships, her romantic trysts, her wrestling with what to study and why, was like experiencing university again. Madeleine the character as Proustian cake.

Madeleine is confident and secure in her privileged background. She’s a loved daughter. She’s also somehow confident in her parochialism when moving among the aesthetes and pseuds. I warmed to her. She is sarcastic and engaged at the same time as being rudderless. For the first half of the book, she breaks her own rules and changes her perception of herself. She is trying to find out who she is and what she wants. Does she sacrifice herself on the altar of her great love for Leonard? Is that love as great as she thinks it is? Continue reading

The Sixth Gun Volume 5


Read 13/07/2016 to 14/07/2016

Rating: 5 stars

Volume 5, Winter Wolves, is my favourite in the Sixth Gun series so far. The pursuit of Becky Montcrief and Drake Sinclair by various groups of people, all bent (some of them hell bent) on claiming the guns from them, continues. In this trade, they become trapped in a parallel dimension, captured by the spirit creature the Wendigo.

Elsewhere, Gord Cantrell has teamed up with Asher Cobb, the undead mummified man who is beautifully and mesmerisingly drawn throughout the book, and the mercenary Kirby Hale to try to track Becky and Drake down. Gord is determined to destroy the guns and will go to any length required to stop anyone else getting their hands on them. It’s touch and go at times, but having a mummified man with pyromancy skills on his team pays off.

Becky is revealed to be developing supernatural powers, perhaps through prolonged exposure to her gun. I’ve got a feeling things might not go as well for her as they could in future volumes, in relation to her being able to maintain her integrity.

I can’t wait to get volume 6 now!

Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty


Read 07/07/2016 to 14/07/2016

Rating: 3 stars

I can’t remember why I decided to read a Louise Doughty book, whether it was a recommendation by a friend or a review I read. I picked this one up from the library, anyway.

It’s rare that a book of around 400 pages takes me a week to read, but this was a difficult book for me to read. On the face of it, the story centres on a trial involving two people who have been having an affair, Dr Y and Mr X. At first we don’t know why they are on trial. We know how they are connected. Their affair begins early in the book. On the face of it, the book is about their affair. In reality, it’s about something completely different. Continue reading

The Snow Queen


Read 02/07/2016-07/07/2016

Rating: 2 stars

LibraryThing review

I’ve now read two books by Michael Cunningham. Is that enough to judge him? I’ve decided that it is. I’ve decided that he has one book, and it is about a man with a flawed-but-worshipped dead mother, a sense of being better than people will acknowledge, a need to be the centre of the universe while sacrificing himself in fake humility, and a falling through a window. It is also a book full of self absorbed bullshit. Continue reading

The City of Woven Streets


Read 29/06/2016-01/07/2016

Rating: 2.5 stars

I feel sorry for this book. It has some interesting ideas, and a lot of the writing is very good. I was talking about it with my husband as we walked over to friends’ last night to play dice based board games. I was frustrated with the author, or maybe her editor, for not paring some of the detail back. It felt at times as though she had left all her back story notes in the book, all the things she needed to write about the society she was creating in order to know how her characters would move around it in relation to each other but that I as a reader didn’t need to get bogged down in. It could have been punchier.

I found it hard to get into. Partly because I was still thinking about the characters in The Natural Way of Things, partly because The City of Woven Streets is a fantasy dystopia and my brain was fixed in the hard reality of Charlotte Wood’s dystopia. It was such a transition that I had to start the book again to give myself chance to get into its rhythm. Continue reading