March was an 11 book month! Did I do anything else for leisure last month? Well perhaps not as much else went on as it could have!
The Axeman's Jazz by Ray Celestin was picked up at the library having spotted it on a stand and becoming interested because of the character of the Axeman in American Horror Story: Coven. I thought it was an alright read, nothing to get me really excited but just enough going on to keep me turning the pages. Historical crime fiction is, as I expressed with "The Devil In The Marshalsea", not my favourite of genres, but I enjoyed the multiple points of view as the investigation was underway, and New Orleans in 1919 was an interesting time and place. Worth a read.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is about a mixed race family in the 1970's, and I was shocked at how much of an issue it was back then. It tells the tale of a family whose lives are shattered by the eldest child Lydia's body being found in a lake nearby their home. The story is mostly concerned with the expectations and actions of the family unit, and how their own neurosis have shaped the course of Lydia's death, and how their lives are different after the event. It was an incredibly emotional read, and I couldn't put it down.
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes is the follow up to You (which I really enjoyed). It follows the protagonist Joe in his move over to L.A. and his psychotic behaviour is worse than before. I found the celebrity name dropping and unrealistic behaviour of incredibly rich characters a bit too much - it was not a book that was made better for having gone Hollywood. It is expected that there will be a third book, and I look forwards to reading it, but You was a far better book in my opinion.
The Revenant by Michael Punke was purchased after seeing the amazing film of the same name. I know books are usually different to the film but was shocked by how different fundamental parts of the story were. I really liked the book, kind of like a McCarthy novel set in the snow. I preferred the ending in the film but I would recommend the book highly.
Inequality And The 1% by Danny Dorling is a book as unsurprising as it is shocking. I find this often in non-fiction - You are aware of the facts but seeing it all in one place makes in very impactful. I know economics is not for everybody, but I wish everybody would read the book. Given the awful effects some people are suffering through the implication of idealistic austerity, it leaves a particularly bitter taste in the mouth. Probably the most important book I will read this year.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn was thankfully better than Sharp Objects, but not as good as Gone Girl. I did like the basic idea of the story which is that a woman's brother is in prison for murdering the rest of their family when the woman was a very small child, however many people believe that he was innocent and the police went for the easy conclusion, not the right one. There was still a few characters which were so unbelievable that I eyerolled incessantly when they featured (Diondra). Didn't work out the ending before it happened either which is a plus.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel was a fun little post apocalypse story which focuses on a traveling theatre troupe who venture from settlement to settlement playing classical music with their orchestra, and performing Shakespeare. A novel and lighthearted take on how the world will remember the old life in the new life, and yet still manages to convey the sheer terror of the realisation that the world is ending and the loss felt by those old enough to remember "before" clearly.
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins gripped me from the start. I thought the characters had enough about them so as to be neither too run of the mill, or too unrealistic. The portrayal of a woman suffering alcoholism after a devastating break up, obsessed with the life that should have been hers and unable to move forward, was written incredibly well. A good page turner, most definitely worth reading!
Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey was one of my random library finds and it was so. good.
It follows the story of a woman who basically gets up one day and leaves her home in the US, and travels to a remote place in New Zealand without so much as a mention to her husband, mother, or friends. At its core it is a heartbreaking story of mental illness and the responses of people who do not understand or accept it.
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Remarque also appeared during a random library trip. A very powerful story about the second world war told from the point of view of a young German soldier. It begins with the group as schoolboys being urged to enlist, and is told through the eyes of one of the boys. All too often even today we forget that the German soldiers were not monsters hell bent on destruction and death, but were also naive young men who no more wished to kill someone than you or I. Remarque himself got exiled from Germany for his views, and was seen as taking a n unpatriotic stance. The visceral images described in the book (not even in great detail) took a while to sink in after I had finished reading, and I cannot even imagine how terrifying it must have been for them. An incredible book.
The Diary Of A Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith was another library random choice. The book was short, and a bit odd! It was an amusing enough faux diary of an unremarkable man and his fairly unremarkable life. I understand that it was originally published in sections in a magazine/journal, and probably seemed less absurd then! Neither a must read, or a terrible book.
So that concludes the March round up! Has anyone read any of the books? If so, what did you think? Are you inspired to pick one of them up?
Happy reading folks!