Book Reviews: September 2015Posted: September 23, 2015
Here’s something a little different that requires a bit of explaining. See, I’ve been trying to keep my book review posts on a monthly basis, but sometimes it’s difficult – my book review is accompanied by an outfit, and it’s not always easy to find a book that lends itself well to a sartorial interpretation. Besides, I usually read more than one book a month, and I want to talk about them as well.
Then I got an email from a long-time reader, Mike, suggesting the idea of an informal book club where we can all share what we’ve read. I think it’s a great idea – I’m always on the lookout for new books. So I decided that on the last Wednesday of every month, I will post about the books that I’ve read and you guys can discuss what you’ve read as well. Then, on the next Wednesday, I will post my outfit as inspired by one of the books that I’ve read, as usual (this is the same format that Gracey of Fashion for Giants uses for her Literary Styling link-up.) I’m just going to try it out to see how it goes.
So, without further ado, here are the books that I read this month:
Nemesis by Jo Nesbø:
This I had to read for work (I was editing the Vietnamese translation). It’s a very standard hardboiled detective story centering around Harry Hole, an alcoholic police inspector in Oslo, so it’s not my kind of book at all, but it’s pretty good if you like crime thrillers. This one (it’s #4 in a series) focuses on Harry as he tries to solve a series of bank robberies while also proving his innocence in the death of an ex-girlfriend. Even though I have no desire to read the other books in the series, I’d still say it’s entertaining. I just wish it wasn’t so… typical. 3/5
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins:
Yes, another crime thriller. Everybody and their mother have read this, so I was curious to see what the fuss is all about (the Harry Hole book must’ve influenced me.) It revolves around Rachel, a divorcee who takes the same commuter train every day and fantasizes about the seemingly perfect life of a couple she sees from a signal stop, until one day the woman goes missing and Rachel finds herself entangled in the case in more ways than she can imagine. It’s being hailed as the next Gone Girl, and I can definitely see the similarities – it features multiple unreliable narrators, female protagonists, and deals with the dark side of marriage and suburban life. However, it lacks the depth and the social commentary of Gone Girl, and the mystery, when resolved, is disappointing to say the least. 2.5/5
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel:
A series of interweaving stories taking place before, during, and after a flu pandemic that sweeps across the world and brings about the collapse of civilization? Now this sounds like my kind of book… except it’s not, really. When I read the blurb, I thought it was just about the band of performers traveling around the desolate post-apocalyptic landscape to perform concerts and Shakespeare to survivors (which sounds awesome), but it turns out that was just one third of the book. So it’s not the Mad Max story I imagined – it’s actually closer to Babel. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not good. Some parts are really moving, some parts are disturbing, and the way the stories are connected is pretty satisfying. It’s just slower than I’d like. 4/5
So those are the books that I read in September. If you guys have read any of these and want to start a discussion, or if you just want to share your own books, feel free to comment!