A blog by Nikki Dudley about the gaps in everyday life...


Monday, 20 June 2011

Latest book reviews

Hi everyone,

I can't write long reviews but here are my brief thoughts on my latest reads...

Dance, Dance, Dance (Haruki Murakami)

As strange and surreal as ever, this novel follows a man's fascination with an old hotel and all of the weird personalities he meets along the way. More menacing and tragic than some of his other novels (bar Norwegian Wood for the tragic aspect) - very enjoyable. Some characters really funny, great wit throughout and a complex web of emotions that simmer quietly to the surface.
My rating: ****

If You're Reading This, It's Too Late (Pseudonymous Bosch)

A YA book I read after reading the first in the series at work. It was fun but didn't seem as well crafted as the first novel (The Name of This Book is a Secret). The author pops into the narrative throughout which is an interesting element and something I think a lot of teenagers will enjoy.
My rating: ** and a half

Chaos Walking Trilogy (Patrick Ness)

Hard to sum up all three books here. So much happens! Although some of the world that Ness chooses to set his novel sometimes isn't described particularly vividly, the trilogy is still a fantastic exciting set of reads! The characters are the main aspect to be enjoyed - I found Todd annoying at times but he grows up a lot throughout the trilogy and he has some complexities that are explored well. Viola was more of a favourite for me and I enjoyed watching their relationship attempt to survive in a time of war, betrayal, terrorism, death and struggle. The Mayor is a chilling and frustrating character and the development of him and some of the other characters is also well done. The representation of noise throughout the book is brilliant - often highlighted by varying fonts, bigger fonts and scribbles across the page! A great set of books and I hope he writes some more YA books.
My rating: **** and a half for the trilogy!

A Matter of Death and Life (Andrey Kurkov) - Reread for Book Group.

This book is so short, it barely takes a few hours to read. I have read it a few times before but really enjoyed it once again! Kurkov's minimalist style is taken to the extreme here in terms of the character and the shortness of the novel! The premise is very darkly humorous - the narrator hiring a hit man to kill him to make him seem more interesting (at least in death!) Great stuff and much recommended.
My rating: ****

Strangers (Taichi Yamada)

I read this book some time ago but it has really stuck with me. A recent divorcee lives an anonymous life in a quiet apartment block. One day however, he meets his parents, long since dead. They appear the age they were when he last saw them. Overcome with emotion and nostalgia, he can't help visiting them. He also starts a relationship with his mysterious downstairs neighbour. As his health deteriorates, he realises he must escape the supernatural world he has been mingling with. But all is not as it seems with his parents or his new love. A great eerie novel!
My rating: *** and a half

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