It’s been quite some time since my last blog and I have read a few books since Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. So here we go, a quick overview of what I read in December:
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
I have read ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ and ‘So Much for That’ by Lionel Shriver and thought they were both excellent, so I was quite excited when I started to read Big Brother. The story centres on the relationship between a brother and sister who seldom see each other. When the brother comes to visit the sister and her family after a 3 year hiatus he has grown morbidly obese. The book is about the strain the weight gain puts on their relationships and how a family copes with extreme obesity.
I did enjoy this book, and although it wasn’t as hard hitting and emotionally charged as the previous books I have read by her, I still thought it tackled the issue well. Shriver seems to be taking a look at the US and its ‘problems’, tackling each through her writing. The story is an extreme one, pushing its characters to their extremes (and not just in terms of weight), it also has quite a dark thread running through the plot. The book is funny in places and really made me think about how a person could end up in the same situation as one of the main characters.
Two Brothers by Ben Elton
I have read quite a few Ben Elton books in the past and quite enjoyed his satirical look on modern day. I also read ‘The First Casualty’ a few years ago and thought it was very good. Two Brothers is better! The story is set in 1920’s and 1930’s Berlin and revolves around a Jewish family. The book is a frank account of their lives and how their lives are changed as the Nazi party start taking a hold of Germany. I won’t go into any more detail than necessary, but I will say that it is a brutal, heartfelt book with real passion. The characters were beautifully portrayed and the book gives the reader a small glimpse of what life was like at the time.
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This is the first book in a series that was also made into the tv series True Blood. I read this (reluctantly) after being coerced by a friend, it was not good. I really wanted it to be better, and maybe the series gets better as you go on, but I won’t be reading on. I didn’t really like the characters, the main character Sookie Stackhouse was too flimsy and really wet with too much reliance on male characters to save the day. I was also unimpressed that the book tries to use sex to spice the plot up but it just ends up being graphic and unnecessary. I’m not against sex in books, but it has to add something or it’s just boring.
Harvest by Jim Crace
This was my book group Secret Santa book. I have not read any other Jim Crace books but will be on the lookout from now on. Harvest centres on an unnamed village in an unspecified past, although it’s safe to assume it’s meant to be several hundred years ago. The village is very insular and everyone within the village works together to be self-sufficient. When a new family arrive in the village and a fire is set in the manor barn, this acts as a catalyst for the catastrophic events that occur over the following week.
I really enjoyed this book, it was very nicely written, narrated by a very likable character. I first thought that it was going to slow paced but this soon quickened and rarely slowed down for most of the book. In parts, this book reminded me of ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller as the villagers descend into a madness created by themselves (in most parts).
The Visitor by Lee Child
This is the fourth Jack Reacher novel and probably the best in the series so far. These books are great fun to read with Reacher being a fantastic all round action man who never lets you down. I will be continuing to read this series of books.
Well, I hope to get back to normal with slightly longer reviews and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to blog more… so watch this space!