Monday 6 August 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This is a book meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. It's a fun way for everyone to share what they have been reading and what they plan to read next.

I haven't read much this week and so have only worked my way through two short books. In truth I have been engrossed by the Olympics. Unusual for me since I don't have a sporty bone in my body but I have enjoyed watching it this year. GB has had some brilliant results.

This week I read;

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I read this for the classics challenge and it was a recommendation from a fellow blogger (thanks FBT). It was a great read. I very much enjoyed it.

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. I read this for the League of Extraordinary Gentleman challenge. I was actually in the middle of reading A Sorcerer's Treason but I picked this up whilst I was out shopping. I read a few pages whilst out having coffee and got to into it to put down. Loved it.

Just now I am reading;

A Sorcerer's Treason by Sarah Zettel. I am reading this for the Sci Fi/ Fantasy category in the Mixing it Up challenge. I actually do like fantasy, I just don't seem to read a lot of it. Maybe next year I swap the sci fi challenge for a fantasy. Anyways, this one is slow going and not sure where it is going to go yet. Enjoying it though.

Next I plan to read;

Manhattan In Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton. I am going to read this for the sci fi challenge. It's a book of short stories based in a universe Hamilton created for one of his earlier series (and one of my favourites). It's a short book but I am looking forward to it despite my disappointment with Reynolds last week.

What have you been reading or have you been watching the Olympics like me?

Thursday 2 August 2012

Snowdrops by A. D. Miller

Nick is a British Lawyer working for his firm in Moscow. Until recently he had kept himself to himself and just soaked in Russian life. He then meets the enigmatic Masha and discovers that for her he would maybe consider staying in Russia. Slowly Nick uncovers Masha's secrets but only too late. By then he is too entranced by Masha to do anything about it.

This book has been on my radar ever since I saw it on the Man Booker short list last year. I am fascinated by Russia and I loved Russian history at University (the very little we got of it). However, this book has to be one of the most depressing views of this country I have ever come across. Granted the country has gone through some tough times and the people there have had to do what they can to survive. This book paints such a bleak view though. Everyone in this book is corrupt and the impression that we are given is that the same is said for everyone in Russia. There is no such thing as a good deed or sympathy for fellow mankind. I am sure that this is a scoured view. Every country has it's good and bad.

Getting away from that and going to the plot itself I wasn't at all impressed. I guessed early on what was going to happen and did think the character was either naive or kidding himself not to know either. I expected some big twist at the end because it was so obvious and then that didn't happen. As I reached the end I wanted to toss the book across the room. I also never really too to Nick. He was selfish, arrogant towards his family and completely blind to what was going on around him.

The books saving grace is the writing. It is well written despite all that. Very descriptive and the words had a nice flow to it. It was also easy to read. Had everything else come together this could have been a great read.

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Pigeon English - Kelman

Harri is a young boy from Ghana living in London. He loves life in the city although still misses his old home and hopes that his dad, gran and baby sister will soon join him, his mum and sister. One of his class mates has been murdered and he and friends decide to investigate to find the murderer. When he isn't working on that case he is trying to teach the local gang that their missions could be done for good but first he has to join them. He loves a girl in his class, trainers that make him run fast, Haribo and the pigeon that comes to visit.

I'm not sure how old Harri is meant to be but I assume he is quite young. Possibly about to reach his teens (anyone know what age Year 7's in England are). It's written from his point of view and it could be that he just seems younger because of the cultural differences. He has such an innocent way of looking at the world and believes that everyone is capable of doing good things. Then at the same time he is like a typical boy from London. It's almost as if he is trying to bring the two versions of him together.

It is quite a sweet story almost as Harri is very endearing. You can't help but like him. About half way through though I began to find that the writing seemed repetitive and Harri's continued naivety was starting to grate a little. I think it had more to do with reading the thoughts of a young boy.

The story did pick up again and I think for the last 70 pages or so I didn't want to let the book go. We know early on from Harri's own investigations who killed the young boy but Harri himself seems unawares and is slowly but surely getting himself into bother. In the end it was a good read and I have to admit that the ending surprised me. This book was longlisted for the Man Booker prize last year but didn't get further than that. Having since read a couple I don't think it was one of the stronger contenders but again it was an easy read which seemed to be the theme last year (in my humble opinion).