09/2014

I read  19 books in September, 2014 –  10  fiction +  7 crime +  2  non-fiction  with 6 women writers and 0 translated  😦  

 
FICTION: 
 
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
by Elena Ferrante
2014 /400 pages
Rating:  8.5 / contemp fict. (Italy)
*** Third in Ferrante’s Neapolitan Trilogy although there’s a 4th coming – lol – Great if you enjoyed the first 2 which I rated as 9.5s. 

 
The Museum of Literary Souls
aka The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository
by John Connolly
2013/ 68 pages
Rating:  A / novella? – literary theme
*** Really cute –  (and no more info – lol)
 
 
The Conservationist
by Nadine Gordimer
1974 / 270 pages
Rating:  9 / 20th century
*** Almost a classic – one wealthy but pathetic white man’s life in South Africa during apartheid – difficult to read due to structure and themes – 

Fourth of July Creek
by Smith Henderson
2014 / 480 pages –
read by MacLeod Andrews, Jenna Lamia
15h 41m
Rating:  8 / literary thriller
*** Wonderfully well written – a social worker is tracking  a paranoid religious fanatic’s family in the Alaskan wilderness – meanwhile his own daughter goes missing.  (No, the fanatic does not have the daughter which is not a real spoiler.)

Orfeo
by Richard Powers
2014/369 pages
Rating:  9.5  / contemp fiction
*** History of music up to bio-terrorism – excellent – Powers’ best since The Gold Bug Variations.

The Taliban Cricket Club
by Timeri N. Murari
2012 / 341 pages
read by Sneha Mathan / 10h 59m
Rating:   4
*** Stupid – started good with some basic info and insights re the Taliban in Afghanistan, but turned into a cheap romance.

 
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarity (Australia)
2014/ 462 pages
read by Caroline Lee 16 h
Rating:  A-  8/ crime (literary)
*** Very fun – well written and well narrated – the mystery of who got killed at the school fund-raiser as well as who done it – of some literary interest due to the theme and structure, character development. 
 
 
The Quincunx: The Inheritance of John Huffam
by Charles Palliser
1989 / 781 pages (Kindle)
Rating: 9.25 / 20th century historical fiction
*** Very dense and complex puzzle of who gets the will – a Dickens parody with postmodern overtones – set in mid-19th century London –  
 
 
Lovers at the Chameleon Club: Paris 1932
by Francine Prose
read by Edoardo Ballerini, Rosalind Ashford, Geoffrey Cantor, Nicola Barber, Suzanne Toren, Maggi-Meg Reed
2014 / 448 pages
Rating:  8.75  / contemp lit
*** Totally compelling historical fiction of Paris before and during the Nazi occupation,  focuses on a lesbian female car racer. 
 
 
The Farm
by Tom Robb Smith
2014 /  369 pages / 9h 24m
read by James Langton & Suzanne Toren
Rating:  7.5 – contemp. fiction (advertised as crime but I don’t think so although …)
*** Who can you believe – can you believe your own mother when she tells you very strange tales about your father?
 
 
*********************
 
NONFICTION: 
 
The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China
by David Eimer
2014 / 336 pages
read by Cory Snow – 10h 42m
Rating:  7.5 / travel
*** An examination of the ethnic groups who live on the edges of China – 
 
The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld
by Chris Wiltz
2001/ 288 pages
Rating: 7 / biography – US
*** Sometimes interesting  – mostly taken from the taped memoirs of Norma Wallace
 
*****************************
CRIME: 
 
The Silkworm
by Robert Galbraith
2014/ 464 pages
Rating:   A++ / crime (in a literary setting)
narrated by Robert Glenister – 17h 22m
2nd in Cormoran Strike series (?)
*** Fun, old-time “who-done-it” set in publishing industry of contemporary England – fascinating characters and many literary allusions/references –

Fallen
by Karin Slaughter
2014/401 pages
read by Shannon Cochran 13h 23m
Rating: B- / crime
(Georgia Series #5)
*** Fairly clever plot – Will Trent has to investigate his partner’s mother and Amanda, his own boss –

 

The Gods of Guilt
by Michael Connelly
2014/ 401 pages – 11h 49m
read by Peter Giles
Rating:  C
*** Seriously bad organized crime guys, corrupt law enforcement and/or politicians with no motive except control of their turf and the big money in drugs.

The Chatham School Affair
by Thomas Cook
1996 / 335 pages / 10h 6m read by George Guidall
Rating: A+ (8) / literary crime
*** Fairly high-level historical and literary crime novel. Tragedy and who-done-what, when, how as told through the lens of the protagonist’s memory of a trial.  Literary interest for style and structure.

Six Years
by Harlan Coban
read by Scott Brick
2013 / 369 pages
Rating:   A/ crime
*** Very suspenseful tale of a man whose ex-wife has been switched and/or has gone missing.  Scott Brick’s suspense is great,  but unnecessary as the suspense is totally built into Coban’s story.
Wayfaring Stranger
by James Lee Burke
2014 / 449 pages
read by Will Patton 13h 10m rating
Rating: A++ / literary crime
*** Excellent Burke novel – partly historical fiction set between the 1920s and Houston’s oil boom of the 1960s.  Not Dave Robicheaux but a seriously close approximation – it could be except for the timeframe which is an integral part. 
 

The Keeper
by John Lescroart
2014 / 321 pages
Rating:   B / crime
(#15 in the Dismas Hardy series)
*** Another tale of crime and corruption in the cop-shop.  It’s a Dismas Hardy story but Abe Glitsky features prominently in the story. 

Mother   (did not finish)
by Maxim Gorky
1907 / 400 pages
rating  8.5 / Russian classic (socialist realism)
(but I got about 1/2 way)

 
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