Thursday, 26 June 2014

May Reads

What did I read in May? I thought that every month I'd do a sum up of that month's reading list and a short review of each book. I'm a bit late with May because I have had so many exciting blog posts to write!

American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis
Picador 03/12/10 Paper Back
When Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock  found out that I had read very little American fiction he threatened to fire me if I didn't read American Psycho as soon as possible. As you can imagine I quickly downloaded the audiobook, borrowed the text from a friend, and watched the movie. 
I absolutely loved this spine tingling book. The audiobook kept me engrossed but my download was an abridged version so I was glad to read the full text. I would actually recommend this to read as an audiobook because some of the chapters are very dense, I found that particularly the chapters on music were hard going for me. I understand the intention behind it, but just in terms of reading pleasure those chapters went way down. The audiobook and movie made these sections a lot more bearable. 
It was pointed out to me that maybe all that dense material was just in an effort to build up the shock factor of horror. I agree, I think it definitely helps.  The main thing to take away from American Psycho is the social commentary on 80’s yuppie New York.  This book disagrees with the idea that people might be able to normalise a serial killer.  On the one hand he has some very strong feelings about Social activism and anti-Semitism; there is outwardly, “something sweet” about him. And on the other, we are introduced to the horrific and dead pan descriptions of his psychopathic blood lusts.
I'm still talking about it and am very glad to have been baptized with fire in American Fiction. Next, Great Gatsby, before my best friend finds out I haven't read it. 

The Bone Season. 
Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury 20/08/2014 Hard Back
I love my copy of The Bone Season, just as a book it is a work of art. The Bloomsbury production team made some lovely choices, deep rich blues, and embossing, blazing reds of the end papers and gorgeous cover design as well. I've always loved the feel of big hardback books like this one.
I struggled with the story at first, it felt a little clumsy at times, tiny things which made me think that it had been rushed to press. I would have hoped that for a book that has had so much hype built around the whole series that it would be more delicately crafted. That rushed feeling was repeated to me by a few other readers.
It only took a few chapters to hook me into the story though.  I haven’t read an original Fantasy novel like this one for a long time.  I loved the setting, the reimagined cities of Oxford and London was almost like reading utopian steampunk.  While it is largely set in Oxford it is firmly grounded at Seven Dials in London, which is about 100 yards from my office. It still gives me a little thrill when I wander around to imagine clairvoyants picking at my aura.
I am really looking forward to reading the second book in the series, the cliff hanger-ish ending is maddening, driving me into the arms of The Mime Order Book two. I am hoping that the structural and line edits will have a little more attention paid to them in this second book, without the pressure to get the first book out. If not I don’t think I could stick around for all SEVEN of the planned titles. BUT there is a fantastic storyline, maybe I’ll forget the clumsy edits . . .

Gone Girl. 
Gillian Flynn
Phoenix 3/01/2013 Paper Back

I liked Gone Girl, I thought it was a galloping read and I enjoyed the writing style. It is unfortunate that I read Before We Met first so had already read something similar.

My comparison review of Gone Girl and Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse is available here

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