2015 50 Book Challenge - Page 174
Hard to say depends when it came out as most books over 12 months old either end up pulped or in remainder book stores either way Its a steal would love to see HH play live again last time was 2007.
2. The Sun is God
3. The Keeper of Lost Causes
4. Lost and Found
5. Murder on the Eiffel Tower
6. How to be Both
7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
8. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth
9. Levels of Life
10. The Seventh Day
11. Fortunately the Milk
11b. The Sleeper and the Spindle
12. The Agile Project Management Handbook
13. Reykjavik Nights
14. The Siege
15. The Torch
16. Being Mortal
18. Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen
19. The Buried Giant
20. Another Time, Another Life
21. The Corpse Reader
22. Portrait of a Man
23. All the Birds, Singing
24. Out Stealing Horses
25. Last Winter We Parted
Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For a relatively short novel, Last Winter We Parted certainly put me through a roller-coaster. It has an intriguing opening that sucks you in, but before long it was getting seriously weird and rather irritating. I even got to the point where even the fonts were annoying me; not a good sign.
The book starts with a journalist interviewing a man on death row, with a view to writing a book about his crimes. He has been found guilty of killing two women, but claims that he is innocent. In his research, the journalist encounters the murderer’s sister, a seriously kinky woman who provokes him and seduces him into rough sex, but then asks him to “save her”.
Nakamura unfolds his plot by switching between narrative chapters and “archives”, which are presumably source documents that the journalist has collected. This is where the fonts come in; the “archive” chapters are for some reason in smaller type than the rest of the book, and I found them almost impossible to read. I couldn’t see any real purpose in doing this.
Just as I started to banish this book to the outer reaches of one-stardom, Nakamura unveils some bravura plot twists and the end result is one of the most grisly and twisted thrillers that I’ve read in quite a while. The author has managed to fit a serpentine and complicated story into a brief novel and, in doing so, demonstrates what an exceptional writer he is. I’m certainly going to read more by Nakamura.
26. The Rabbit Back Literature Society
The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Ella Milana is a relief teacher in the Finnish village of Rabbit Back. The town is crazy about books, and the entire populace hungers to be invited to join the Rabbit Back Literature Society, a select group of elite local writers established by the town’s most noted resident, globally-renowned children’s author Laura White.
At the outset of the novel, Ella notices some strange things going on with books from the Rabbit Back library; they seem to be changing themselves and are unrecognisable from the versions that she knows. After a contretemps with librarian Ingrid (a member of the Society) she steals some books to look into this more thoroughly.
Shortly afterwards, Ella is shocked to learn that she has been invited to be the tenth member of the Rabbit Back Literature Society, the first appointee for decades. A reception is arranged at Laura White’s house to induct her. At that reception, Laura White suddenly disappears and the house fills with snow.
Laura is determined to dig deeper and find out what is going on in the Society, in part to further her work as a researcher. She discovers The Game, a bizarre ritual that Society members play on one another to extract information. Ella decides to use The Game to learn the Society's secrets, but she must expose her own vulnerabilities in the process.
This novel has all the makings of a fantastic Scandi noir - a damaged protagonist, a secret society, a dark forest, a bizarre ritual, scary animals, mysterious disappearances and grotesque characters. Despite that, it reads like a breezy and light story, with little if any dark elements. Somehow Jaaskelainen completely misses the mark and delivers only fluff where there could be serious grist to his mill. The book reminded me more of Mr Penumbra than Martin Beck, and is all the poorer for it.
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4. Winter's Bone
5. Dhmara Bums
7. On the Trail of Genghis Khan
8. Holy Bible
9. The Boat
10. Collected Stories
11. Lost and Found
12. Blind Willow, Sleeping woman
13. White Noise
15. Off the Rails
17 Hitler's Daughter
18. Quack this Way
19. Grapes of Wrath
20. Every Man in this Village is a Liar
21. The Twelve Fingered Boy
22. Riders of the Purple Sage
23. The Sheltering Sky
24. How to Travel the World for Free
26. Trigger Warning
27. It's Complicated
28. Fight Club
29. Past the Shallows
31. It's what I do
32. A Long Way Down
33. Men Who Stare at Goats
33. Men Who Stare at Goats
A potentially true story of the US Army's foray in psychic warfare, the experiments culminating in many torture tactics used during Iraq. It's hard to know where fiction starts and ends in this book, and I guess that's kind of the point. Really enjoyed this.