What I’ve Read – April-July 2018

I confess, I had thought that by August I will have finished more books. The only reason I’m caught up with my Goodreads challenge is because I relied heavily on some golden age mysteries. These really are one of my absolute faves, I love a good classic whodunit.

On to the books.

Rivers of London was a reread. I was planning to just skim through the book to remind myself of the events so I could switch to the third one in the series – but that didn’t happen. Ben Aaronovitch writes with such humour and so compellingly, I just kept turning page after page after page until I was done. If you wanted to give urban fantasy a go, but didn’t know where to start, this will be an excellent primer, because it’s a great cross between police procedural and paranormal. Love it.

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I did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a disservice by putting it off for such a long time. I think my mixture of expectations and wrong mood sorta dampened my enjoyment of the book. As I’m no longer a kid, my approach is more academic (I use this word lightly), so for full enjoyment, I think I need to give it another go and take a closer look at all the references and word play. I liked it, but I just see that it deserves more than a like. Will pick up a translation, because that’s where the fun starts…

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It took me a while to get to John Dickson Carr, and I’m glad I finally did.

Poison in Jest had a certain gothic mood to it. A large decrepit family house, hints at a ghost story, poisonings… The atmosphere was heavy compared to, say, Christie, and actually not what I expected at all. But I love gothic elements, so it was a great read.

In The Corpse In The Waxworks the investigation is led by Henri Bencolin, a French detective. I’m one of those people that has never been fascinated by Paris, and the only people that set the atmosphere of the city properly for me are John Dickson Carr and another author (who is also not French). The Corpse In The Waxworks is excellent noir, set in the 1930s Paris. Carr paints the scenes so vividly, I felt like I actually walked the streets with Bencolin and his assistant (who narrates the book).

The Three Coffins is a little different. We’re back from noir to gothic overtones, and there’s a chapter in this book that’s basically an academic explanation of locked room mysteries. It’s a must for anyone who loves a good detective story. There were some minor mishaps with linguistic references to other languages, but we’ll forgive that. 😉 Seeing as it’s set during some snowy days, I wonder how I would have felt if I read it around Christmas. Hmmm.

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If you love classic mysteries, do give John Dickson Carr a go. You won’t be disappointed.

The Woman In White was read for an Instagram readalong. It’s been on my list for a very long time, so my expectations were high. The book lived up to them. Obviously it’s Victorian, obviously it’s a sensation novel, so if you’re familiar with that, you know what to expect. The Italian will enjoy the opera, and the woman will either be pretty or smart. There are elements of gothic in there as well, and this is also a pioneer in the mystery genre. The narrative is the account of the events told by several different people. Collins was a lawyer, and his background definitely shows in how the book is presented.

Some books I’m currently reading:

Casual Vacancy – I’m doing a disservice to the book by reading it for such a long time, but whenever the action gets a little too much for me, I stall. Because I just know shit’s about to get heavy, and just… ugh. JKR is a master of character portraits.

Dolores Claiborne – my first King (not counting The Dead Zone I attempted ages ago). As with the above, I’ve been reading it for so long, one might think I’m just pushing myself to finish and get it over with. I love this book, but my physical copy is falling apart, and I have no ebook. Need to sort this out.

Airport – I suppose one can classify Hailey’s works as thrillers, but mate, they’re calm as fuck. I don’t think I can read more than one of his works per year. They’re excellent therapy, though.

Demons – still digging through Dostoyevsky’s Demons. (Bad pun, but the guy surely had a lot of ’em.) No rush. I’m enjoying it.

Les Miserables – this book is my arch-nemesis. It’s official.

Nicholas II Diaries – I would have finished the first volume by now, but unfortunately I only have a .pdf that can be read on the computer, and I hate reading books off of the computer screen. I might convert it to something more portable, and then I’m sure I’ll speed through this. Up until the turbulent years of 1916+, The Diaries of Tsar Nicholas II are also a bit like a therapy. His journals were a clear record of events with very little emotion. For some reason it helps with my anxiety.

You can keep up with my reading on my Goodreads and on my bookish Instagram. There’s also a Facebook page, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Including me. 😉

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