This is my book round up for the last three months of the year, selecting three books per month to share with you. I started October in a reading slump; nothing I was trying read was grabbing my attention. November started and ended with some pretty good books. December was a pretty good month too, but I mostly kept to series. Here are some of the books I’ve read during the last few months of the year.
Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
I have been a fan of Rick Riordan’s writing, and the sequel to Magnus Chase books does not disappoint. Going beyond the Nordic realm, the second book touches on the history of one of the characters, as well as introducing characters that I think would play a significant part in the final book. Style and format-wise, Riordan doesn’t deviate from his unknown, weaving similar plot lines but in a different setting. It still works, as his books doesn’t present complicated drama and allows the reader to sit in the story and watch the events unfold.
Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
The second book to the Thursday Next series, Fforde discusses more about the world of jurisdiction, where book characters come to life and protect literature from exploiters or other forces of evil. This comes to play in the reality of Thursday Next where an ability like this (to jump in and out of literature) is an asset. I really enjoyed the sequel a lot more than the first book; this is where the story and the world building got interesting, with the direction of the plot clearer than its predecessor.
Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
It’s rare for me to take my time reading a book; it’s more likely that I would not finish the book if I keep on putting it down. That is not the case here; this book is simply depressing to read in one sitting. Scenes from Schindler’s List and Son of Saul mirror events exactly how the book portrays them; it puts a graphic picture on the horrendous stories narrated in the book. I’m glad I ended up reading this and that I took my time with it.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
I’m more of a contemporary author reader so it is a feat for me to read and finish a classic book. I think it helps that I’ve seen two adaptations of this so it wasn’t hard to put pictures in the words. The adaptations portray Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy in different light – book Bennett is a bit more stuck up than movie Bennett. Same goes for Mr. Darcy’s affections for Lizzie; it’s evident that he is interested in her, but in what universe does ‘looks at her curiously’ translates to ‘glares at her like he is embarrassed of her?' I wasn’t in love with it. I think some parts in the first half of the book could have been shortened.
*note: I used Joe Wright’s adaptation as reference, although Jennifer Ehle (BBC adaptation) embodied book-Bennett more accurately than Knightley.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
This is one fast-paced book. I like how the author used a lot of detail to weave all the theories he presented in the novel. It kind of makes you forget that this is a work of fiction. Reading this has me interested in the rest of the books in the series.
A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This is a character-driven sci-fi novel about a group of people of different species building a passageway from a hostile colony area to the main city of the galaxy. It reminded me a bit of Disney’s Treasure Planet (minus the drama and the thieving) movie but set in the world of Star Trek. There’s a lot of world building involved – from colonies, to back stories of the crewmembers, even down to the customs and cultures of the species that are members of the intergalactic organization. All these information is revealed during the journey of the ship to the hostile colony area, so there’s a lot of time to spend with the characters.
Confessions by Kanae Minato
The first chapter of this book will get you hooked. This is a revenge tale when a teacher accuses her students of murder and the whole story goes on from there. This was adapted into a film, which was short-listed for Best Foreign Picture in the Oscars. I haven’t seen the film, but this book was cold and chilling, the revelations reeling the reader in as each chapter progresses. There are multiple points of view (one view per chapter) so there’s a lot of ways to see how the story is progressing. It’s one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year. The writer certainly knows how to keep the suspense going, and the translation is very good as well.
Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
Another thriller, this one has two Jesuits priests trying to solve a serial murder case in a country that doesn’t believe in serial murders. The author does take her time unfolding the case and adds a lot of detail to paint the atmosphere and the environment of the story, pointing out the flaws in society while discussing political, social and economic issues that engulf the Philippines. If you’re looking for a plot-oriented murder mystery with a lot of details, then give this book a try.
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell
The only thing that I didn’t like about this is that it wasn’t longer or that there’s isn’t more to it. The queen character is very ethereal – there’s more to her that meets the eye. I would have loved to read more about her and what she does after this story. I would read an entire book about her. The illustrations were beautiful.