Monday, April 4, 2016

Summer Reading - All the Big Themes

So I've been working my way through some novels - while packing and living with others. (urgh! Please can I not be packing and sorting next Christmas and New Years?).

It's always nice to get some reading done during lazy summer days. Again, I'm enjoying the variety of the books that are coming my way, these books to contain some trigger warnings and some are not an easy read. It's amazing how fiction reading can be incredibly challenging.

American Blood by Ben Sanders

This New Zealand author is making big waves with the rights for this book already picked up and Bradley Cooper cued to play the lead. If the Bourne movies/stories are your thing this will be right up your alley. Following a former cop who is now in witness in protection - a missing woman pulls him into a world of drug dealers and underworlders, all the while with a target on his own back. A word of confession, I didn't actually finish this book - the level of violence is a bit high for me and I decided that it wasn't something I would cope with. It is a very compelling read though, intersecting characters with question marks over who is who and where the reader should put their allegiance. * trigger warning - high level of violence.
Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2016 RRP $29.99

Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon

Another heart stopping read with lots of suspense along the way. This book tells the story of Alex a journalist drowning in her own alcoholism and resulting waning career. It also tells the story of Amy a teenage girl locked in a coma for the last 15 years. Very readable with strong female characters and intrigue. As Alex investigates the story of Amy the walls close in, will she be able to find the answers the police couldn't and will she stay safe along the way? Intense, sad, hopeful...
* trigger warning rape/unwanted sexual encounter. Dealt with carefully and not in explicit detail.
Details - Allen & Unwin, Jan 2016 RRP $29.99

Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe

It's daunting when you get a book to read by a person who has won a Nobel Prize for literature! However, I found this book so much more readable than I expected it to be. Set in Japan and following aging author Kogii Choko as he returns to his home village and assists a group of young actors putting together a play around his books and what promises to be a great revelation as he revisits his mother's sealed box of documents after she dies. The book is slow and expressive, it deals with the big themes of life - relationships, relationship breakdowns, mortality, secrets, pride and sickness. The book as a very fluid kind of feeling and large sections of people's internal thoughts/letters etc. It was a much slower read than I am used to the style forces the reader to emerge into the text and it feels very intense. A totally different read than I am used to.
Details - Allen & Unwin, Dec 2015 RRP$39.99 HB

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I picked this one up from a book sale at a church ladies event (I love how jams and twinsets that term sounds). It's true Picoult, many stories told from different perspectives dovetailing together seamlessly. It's a hard story to read Holocaust accounts from survivor and SS perpetrator. It's a story of redemption, hate, forgiveness, prejudice and more. I wouldn't say readable -I squirmed and grieved while I read it - knowing these kind of stories are still playing out on a world stage while we chose to turn our heads the other way. Much to learn and ponder. * trigger warning murder and concentration camp vivid recounts included. I found these aspects very difficult to cope with but I equally felt this was a very important book to read.
Details - Allen & Unwin, March 2013 RRP $29.99

So what are you reading and what books have challenged you on deep levels?

love you more than an evening of reading xxx