Tuesday, March 13, 2018

UPDATE: February Reads, vol 1

I read 12 books in February. After my great last year of reading nonfiction, I only managed one this month, and it was a re-read for my book club. Half my reads were audiobooks, probably because a number of the paper books felt like they took forever to finish. Today I'll review some of the slower and problematic reads of the month. Some other categories I hope to get to include my favourite reads of the month, some continuing series books, and a few featured on the Tournament of Books at themorningnews.

The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder, 363 pages

I read and loved Hayder's Jack Caffrey series. Jack was a great if troubled police detective, and the books veered into super creepy. I tried this stand-alone that revolves around the Nanking Massacre from the 1930s. Two stories occurred in two time periods and I could never decide which if either, story I was liking more. If I thought the Caffrey series was creepy, Hayder ventures into new taboo areas. I continued reading even while it was a very slow set up because I have liked Hayder's writing. I'll give Hayder another chance.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, 150 pages

How such a short book could take so long to read was very disappointing. I liked the Jane Eyre book, I really liked the movie, and I also enjoy reading women writing about their love of Jane Eyre. I missed this whole oeuvre in my younger days and I wanted to read this prequel of sorts, the story of how Rochester's first wife ended up the crazy woman in the attic.
Mostly set in the Caribbean, it was slow, the writing didn't flow for me, and the characters did not evoke any attachments for me. I didn't get a good sense of what the point of the book was, even though I did know. It picked up a bit when Mr Rochester arrived, but not enough to explain to me how she ended up in the attic.

Planet of Exile by Ursula Le Guin (4 h 30 min)

After the death of LeGuin, I looked for an audiobook that was available and fairly short. I'm not a huge fan of science fiction, but I have read some famous ones that I have enjoyed. Two tribes of people have lived for generations on a planet. They stick to their traditional ways, but of course, some one is trying to change things. There's a battle. I know now that general sci-fi is not for me. Sorry fans of Ursula K LeGuin.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 288 pages

I finally read this multi-award winning book for young adults. Then in the next month, Alexie gets called out for very bad behaviour. I also read and enjoyed Al Franken last year. Stop ruining good reading experiences by being assholes, guys.
This was an easy read, but frustrating at the same time as the narrator deals with racism and trying to take control of his life. Being a teenager isn't easy, and one living on a reservation has extra problems. Alexie writes a thoughtful and engaging book with a great narrator.