Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BOOKS: April Reads

Without meaning to, I took quite the tour of England this month. Life After Life was the last book I read in March, where the same (British) life was relived over and over. I then proceeded to read about England over and over in April, through different time periods and cities, but mostly London. I even consciously tried to change settings for my last book, but ended up reading about a creepy serial killer. Some months I manage great reviews for every book I read; some months get recaps.

25. Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley, 358 pages

book 5 of 6 in the Flavia de Luce series
1950s England, and our heroine, the crime-solving teenage Flavia is enmeshed in crimes again. I read this at the first of the month, and can't remember the mystery! No wait, they are digging up the church relics, and the missing organist is found under the church. Really, the mystery is only a small part of these books - Flavia, her sisters, her father, the local police, are the main attraction. And all anyone will remember after reading this book is the final, cliff-hanging sentence! Bradley hasn't ended a book like that before. Can't wait for the next book! (though not completely surprised at the revelation)

26. The Forrests - Emily Perkins reviewed here

27. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, 326 pages

Orange Shortlist 2013 (Women's Prize for Fiction)

This was a wonderful change of pace book. Fast action (epistolary books are low on description, high on action) as the disappearance of Bernadette is investigated. A Seattle mother is hiding out somewhat after an early in life, brief success as an architect. I liked Bernadette; I liked how the minor characters (the gnats, mothers at the private school)  also played big parts, and didn't stay stereotypes, but showed growth as well as providing humour. Add in a cruise to Antarctica and it was a fun week-end read.

28. N-W by Zadie Smith, 304 pages

 Orange Shortlist 2013 (Women's Prize for Fiction)

Modern Northwest London. Four characters from the same neighbourhood whose live somewhat intersect. Each gets a very different style (from stream of consciousness, no quotations to regular quotation style narrative) and it all came together quite nicely. We get to see each character from different points of view, from how they appear to be successfully living compared to the reality. The first section is the hardest to read, but I recommend persevering through it. It made sense after the fact, and added to the book in retrospect. I'd try another Smith.

29. Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, 384 pages (book 3 of 10)

 Here's a series that got ahead of me. I bought this third book a number of years ago, and for some reason, I was remembering these books as slow going. Instead, I raced through Maisie's adventure as she explored the psychic world to prove to a widower, who promised his dying wife, that he'd find out if their son truly died in France in the war. Although it is 1930, the effects of the first war are still strongly felt in England and France. Maisie is getting close to facing some dilemmas regarding her love life, and is discovering there is more to her mentor, Maurice, than she originally knew.

I'll be reading the next book sooner rather than later.

30. Birdman by Mo Hayder, 448 pages (book 1 of 5)

I have to watch Criminal Minds with just one eye on the television. Half my brain can only pay attention because of how disturbing the serial killers the team chases are. Birdman could easily be on Criminal Minds, he's that creepy. This first book in the Jack Caffrey series may be my limit of how far I can read the creepy. I plan to read another one for sure, as there are only 5 in the series as of now, which feels like I can catch up with this one. I liked the main detective. It's another cop whose brother disappeared as a child.
And I spent more time in a London setting.

Cheer-ee-o London, I'm sure I'll be back!