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Monday, November 30, 2015

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

I actually enjoyed a book for the first time in a long time after a few stinkers recently. Little Mercies was an enthralling novel exploring different aspects of child abuse.

For once I was interested in the characters and the plot. They seemed real people and an original storyline, not the wooden stereotypes conforming to a pre-determined script like so many books appear to me.

Heather Gudenkauf really loves children from the book you can just tell. She thinks all children are special and treasured, her love of them just drips from the pages. In fact Little Mercies was written with so much compassion, not just for the children but even the adults in the book. Even the minor characters well good.

The actual story was written from two perspectives, one of a child who has been abused in the past and becomes separated from her father. The second voice is of a social worker who was so absorbed in her job saving children that she endangered the life of her own child by accident. The two stories eventually merge as the plot unfolds. I award this book 8 out of 10.

Next I move on to the final bookcase in the Large Print section which was entirely populated with Mills and Boon books. I must confess I haven't read a Mills and Boon novel before. I must also confess that I am not particularly keen to do so, but in the interests of completing the project it is a necessary task I have to undertake, and I think I will have to read another as well much later on when I reach the romance section towards the end of my project.

I picked Shadowman pretty much at random I am have no way of knowing whether any of the Mills and Boon books is any better than another, because they all seem to have very similar storylines.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Money: The Unauthorised Biography by Felix Martin

Bookcase 55's offering Money: The Unauthorised Biography was I am afraid was another dud. It was one of those irritating books that starts of well then gets worse and worse.

As I said in my previous post this might have been a book I would have chosen, the subject matter was of interest to me and the general content looked quite promising. But after the first few chapters which talked about what money wasn't it just degenerated into meaningless babble.

Maybe the failing was mine and this book was beyond me, but it doesn't feel like it. It wasn't especially technical and the fact there isn't an index or meaningful contents page suggests this was just what it resembled, a big brain dump of gibberish. I award it 2 out of 10. The first chapter was OK!

Next I jump back to the "Enjoy!" section and return to bookcase 48 for my second official attempt at reading a book from this case. If I succeed then there will be nothing left in my wake and I will be able to continue just looking forwards.

I think Little Mercies is a thriller about a kidnapping. Hopefully it doesn't involve my pet hate of a deranged serial killer, I never really read the back of books to find out the plot beyond the most cursory scan, it ruins the story a lot of the time, so I am never 100% sure what I am getting into until I am a few pages into a book.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

My third attempt at reading Book 51 finally succeeded as I managed to plough through The Shining Girls but I didn't think much of it.

As everyone knows by now my pet hate in books is a serial killer/maverick detective novel which seem to be churned out in their droves and are all alike. This one took a while to evolve into a story but basically The Shining Girls is yet another book which conforms to this pattern of a madman driven to kill endless women being tracked down by a rookie reporter who was also one of his victims, but who managed to escape.

The only plot element which varies from the standard script is that this killer can travel in time, so selects his victims when they are young children and comes back to kill them once they are grown up. Consequently the book jumps around from decade to decade and it took me quite a while to actually get to grips with what was going on.

Suffice to say the maverick journalist gets in all sorts of trouble and breaks lots of rules but eventually tracks the killer down, despite his ability to travel in time. All very tedious and The Shining Girls only gets 3 out of 10.

Next I continue with the Large Print section, and a non-fiction book from bookcase 55.

Money is actually the first book I might actually pick to read for quite some time. I read a similar book The Secret Life of Money on bookcase 26. I was a bit disappointed by The Secret Life of Money because it was too incoherent with lots of unconnected essays. Hopefully Money will explain the nature of the beast a bit better to me.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Strictly Off the Record: On the Trail of World Records with Norris McWhirter by Anna Nicholas

Book 54. Strictly Off the Record was a look at the author's time working with Norris McWhirter on The Guinness Book of Records in the 1980's. As far as I can tell it was written several decades after the events described took place

That means every tale has been told and retold so how much they resemble the truth after three decades of oral tradition is debatable. Norris McWhirter is long dead of course so he can't argue with the contents. Irritatingly whole conversations are recreated verbatim in the book. Surely nobody can remember so many little details from so long ago?

I wouldn't mind but every story is pained in the same golden light. Not a bad thing is said of anyone, it was all such fun. I didn't even  find many of the stories especially funny. It was an irritating book amd gets 3 out of 10, which at easy is an improvement on the last couple.

I know return to bookcase 51 for my third attempt at completing a book.

The Shining Girls I am afraid is yet another spree killer thriller, my pet hate, though you do find the odd good one.