This monthly blog post is where I discuss what I’ve been reading and what I’m hoping to read soon. I do this for no other reason than I’m a bit of a book geek and it’s fun to get all excited about my favourite authors.
What I’ve read this month:
This is the fifth book in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant’s supernatural detective series and for me it is quite possibly the best. It melds real world policing with the world of magic and frankly, it works so much better than you think it should. I will say though, if you’re interested – start this series from the first book. Some series you can pick up anywhere, this isn’t one of those. I’ve read them all but I must admit, I still struggled to get some of the references to backstory. The action os so compelling though, it really doesn’t matter.
I started this and then had to stop reading it for very silly writerly reasons (It was messing with my tense, man!) I’m glad I went back. It is an expertly observed slice of gritty Glaswegian underworld drama. It centres around a hitman and everything leading up to an assassination of a low-level drug-dealer with ideas above his station. It’s a small story in some ways, utterly believable in its detail to the point where you feel like you get a unique 360 degrees perspective on the criminal life.
Then – in a change to our scheduled programming, I decided while in Japan that I should really read about Japan – so after asking the almighty Facebook, I got these two recommendations.
I don’t normally like to slag off another author’s book but I have to be honest, this book did rather annoy me. It is first of all, a great story – of how a large group of Samurai are cast aside once their lord is killed, hence making them Ronin, and the extraordinary lengths they go to in order to avenge him. It is a great story, one of the biggest in Japanese tradition, but it is just told in a rather limp way here. Presented in a kind of reportage style, this happened, then this, then the other thing – the end. It felt like it deserved a much more energetic telling than it was giving. What really brought that home was…
Wow! Now here is a story told with some serious umph! It is visceral, it makes you feel like you are right there, including at one point – being buried in a pit with a dozen other sailors while your captors throw in barrels of rotting fish guts! Clavell is a master of his art. It is a monster of a book, about 3 times the size of the average, but it is a gripping tale told with panache. You can see why it became the global hit it was when it first came out and why it is still popular today. Superb!
And what am I reading this month?
After raving about the first in this series a few months ago, I can’t leave it any longer before I dive into the second. Bond is dead – long live Orphan X!
Plus – I’ve still got these two corkers waiting on my kindle after being temporarily delayed by my Japan kick.
I’ve heard great things about this book, set in the world of 1970s British comics (like actually comics – think the Beano etc). Pat Mills is also one of the creators of Judge Dredd which is an unspeakably cool claim to fame!
Another of my countrymen (warning, this blog is highly biased), I heard Steve Cavanagh talking about his work on a podcast and I just had to check it out. I had a quick shufty at the sample on my Kindle and I was so absolutely hooked, I couldn’t not read the rest of it.
As always, feel free to let me know what you’re reading or drop me a recommendation at Caimh@WhiteHairedIrishman.com