Tuesday, 28 November 2017

What's On Your Nightstand? - November 28, 2017

In this month’s posting of ‘What’s on Your Nightstand’ I divulge which books I’ve loved, liked, didn’t or couldn’t give a hoot about and of which books I plan to read for next time.

Well I haven’t managed to read much over the last 4 weeks as I’ve been busy at work selling books, or at home redecorating the dining room to make ready for our family Christmas Dinner. The panelling has been put up and everything painted. Electrics sorted and the room now just needs the finishing touches and we’ll be there. That hasn’t left me with much (me time) reading time but I did manage to finish two books which was quite an achievement this month. So, on with it...

What I read
(Science/Lit Fiction)
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Published by Canongate Books Ltd, 18th January 2018
Pages 288 (h/b)

I had a love/hate relationship with this book alternating from a 3 to 4 star review…finally settling on a 3.5…It’s a clever intelligent literary science-fiction read set in 2045 and is an imaginative retelling of an historical Joan of Arc from our future. Sounds complicated but it’s not difficult at all to keep track.  I particularly liked reading Joan’s storyline moving from her childhood to becoming the heroine of a small band of rebels. A hairless, opaque skinned, tattoo grafted species and the last of the human race.  It’s grim, gruesome and violent and a dystopian tale with some amazing world building.  I can see this working really well on screen or tv series. Fans of Jeff VanderMeer will no doubt appreciate this one. (Review in progress)

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Available now in Hardback from Bloomsbury Publishing plc
(Fiction) Pages 304 (h/b)
I loved this one so much that it’s one of my favourite reads of the year. Full of haunting gothic presence atmospherically and spirit wise. If you liked Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Underground Railroad’, I think you’ll love it. I personally think it far more superior. (Review underway)
What I didn’t finish
(Fiction Gothic Horror)
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
Published by Pushkin Press (Available now)
This edition is perfect to give any gothic horror fan as a special Christmas gift.
I absolutely love Pushkin Press publications, always stunningly and beautifully presented and this book is no exception. I only read a few pages and found it just a little intense straight after reading ‘The Book of Joan’ but I will definitely try again in time for December’s ‘What’s On Your Nightstand’.

What I’m reading now
(Thriller Fiction)
The Night Market by Jonathan Moore
Published by Orion Publishing Co., 11th January 2018
Pages 304 (h/b)
Whoa…after an exciting adrenaline fuelled start this is looking like another cracking read to start the beginning of next years reads. It’s set in a near future San Francisco and is the final in a trilogy of which I’ve not read, but it’s reading like a stand alone so not feeling as if I’ve missed out.
Unfortunately this is one where if I say anything about the storyline spoilers are unavoidable and would make it less exciting for the reader so my review will probably be very uninformative. However, so far I’ve read 19% and it has a dark noir presence, certainly looks perfect for Lee Child and James Paterson fans. I think I’m definitely going to have to read the others in the series; The Poison Artist and The Dark Room.

What I intend to read for next time
All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
In Search of Lost Books by Giorgio van Straten
Will Send Rain, Rae Meadows
Until next time, happy reading to you all

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

PEACH by Emma Glass

PEACH by Emma Glass
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (11th January 2018)
Source: Publisher (d-ARC)
Pages 112


"I start. Slip the pin through the skin. Start stitching. It doesn’t sting. It does bleed.White thread turns red. Red string. Going in. Going out. I pull.Tug.Tug the pin. In. Out. Out. Out. Blackout."

Something has happened to Peach. Blood runs down her legs and the scent of charred meat lingers on her flesh. It hurts to walk but she staggers home to parents that don’t seem to notice. They can’t keep their hands off each other and besides, they have a new infant, sweet and wobbly as a jelly baby.

Peach must patch herself up alone so she can go to college and see her boyfriend, Green. But sleeping is hard when she is haunted by the gaping memory of a mouth, and working is hard when burning sausage fat fills her nostrils, and eating is impossible when her stomach is swollen tight as a drum.

In this dazzling debut, Emma Glass articulates the unspeakable with breath-taking clarity and verve. Intensely physical, with rhythmic, visceral prose, Peach marks the arrival of a visionary new voice.

My Thoughts:
Dark, intense and captivating...With the opening scene of a college student staggering home after having just been violently assaulted this was a viscerally emotive storyline in its depiction of this young woman's horrific ordeal and from her initial denial to finally making some sense of it.

Written in a gorgeous stylistic prose, narrated in a consciousness of streamed thoughts it is reminiscent of Eimear McBride’s, ‘A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’, and certainly felt as deeply affecting. An extremely powerful and at times distressing read but, if I’m honest not sure I fully understood everything that was going on in Peach's confused traumatised mind. I couldn't quite figure out what was real or imagined which left me feeling a little lost. That said I was unable to leave 'peach' until the final page. Peach's story has left an indelible impression on me and I haven't stopped thinking about this book since.

With the recent success of similar prose style works, i.e., Max Porter's, 'Grief Is A Thing With Feathers', 'Brooklyn' by Jaqueline Woodson, and the aforementioned, Eimear McBride's 'A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’, 'peach' in my opinion, is certainly one to watch out for next year.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy (digital) from the publisher for my unbiased review.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Unbelievable “My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History” by Katy Tur

Unbelievable by Katy Tur
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher (October, 2017)
Pages: 291 (Hardback)
Source: Publisher


My Thoughts:
Absolutely...unbelievably fascinating…utterly unmissable.

Jeez this was a humdinger of a read about the coverage of the presidential campaign and its lead-up to Trump becoming one of the most controversial, most divisive US Presidents of our time.

In this excellent 'campaign memoir' NBC News correspondent Katy Tur tells us what it was like reporting on an exhaustive daily basis, at rallies and interviewing Trump or dealing with his chief aids during the campaign election, and of how she felt on a professional basis and personal level.  For me, Tur's record of events confirmed my original feelings about Trump which unfortunately intensified my concern and fear for a better and united America under his presidency.

I believe Trump despises women he doesn't find attractive.  He does call them 'disgusting'. People who disagree with him or get in his way may find themselves victims to his vengefulness.  Trump 'hates' journalists with an obsessive passion. Tur as a female journalist became a target for his bullying and outright 'weird' behaviour at times.  She shares with us how she felt being singled out at rallies for ridicule and hateful remarks by the then presidential candidate, and of how vulnerable she and her colleagues felt at one particular venue when the behaviour of a baying mob of loyal supporters had been supported and even encouraged by Trump.
I am truly fearful of a future without an independent investigative journalistic presence to keep track and hold those in power accountable and genuinely dumbfounded that a presidential candidate could be so badly behaved, divisive and instigative of manipulating his frenzied supporters into such emotive states of hatred and violence towards anyone opposed to his views.  Tur gives an extremely compelling, personally candid account of her coverage as one of the women political journalists during one of the craziest and emotionally volatile campaigns ever seen.

Packed amidst the vengeful, rhetoric of Trump's speeches or condemnation of pretty much anyone distasteful to his sensibilities Tur manages to inject a fair amount of humour in the form of her inner dialogue which lightens what could have been an overbearing political tirade and I spent time googling campaign video footage to accompany my reading experience.

Tur doesn't shed any new light on Trump's character but what it may do is confirm what the majority of us suspected all along and that is that Trump, a bullying, vengeful, narcissistic beast is now terrifyingly the most powerful man on the planet.

Intelligently written, fast paced, and intensely compelling, I was engrossed, fascinated and repulsed in equal measure by the book.  I highly recommend the aptly entitled book to anyone interested in the making of political history's most 'unbelievable' President.

Memorable quotes:
"Trump is crude, and in his halo of crudeness other people get to be crude as well.”

"Trump managed to tap into a deep well of resentment and anger among disaffected voters who were content to trade in old notions of truth and decency for Trump’s wild ride."

Disclaimer: I received a reading copy for an unbiased review from HarperCollins Publishers Inc.,