Publisher: Tinder Press

Season to Taste by Natalie Young

Posted May 22, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 6 Comments

Season to Taste by Natalie YoungTitle: Season to Taste (Goodreads)
Author: Natalie Young
Published: Tinder Press, 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

As most people know, I love a good transgressive novel and Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband sounds like the type of book I was going to enjoy. The premise is simple; after thirty years of marriage Lizzie Prain has had enough.  A single blow with the shovel caves his head in and now she is free but she also has to dispose of his body. Her method appealed to her practical side; she was going to eat him.

The book sounds deliciously macabre and to some extent there are some dark moments but there was something incredibly wrong with this novel. Season to Taste is writing in two styles. Firstly you have the overall story but playing alongside of the plot is little notes Lizzie writes to herself, to remind her of what needs to be done. This serves as a psychological insight into her life as well as a shopping list and possible recipe ideas.

The major problem I had with this novel was with the protagonist. I could not tell if she was a sociopath that showed no remorse or her psyche was over looked. She felt rather flat overall; I wanted to believe that Lizzie was dead inside from a crippling marriage but every part of her felt fake and emotionless. This made the book rather dull and I found myself losing interest in the character and the novel really quickly.

Putting aside the dark nature of Season to Taste, I want to quickly touch on what this book was trying to explore. Lizzie Prain is fifty-three years old and had married for thirty years; she would not have known much of a life outside of childhood and marriage. This novel tries to explore the concept of new beginnings, life after marriage and finding yourself. This might have been effective if my interest was held. I feel like the remorse of killing her husband could have played a part in the novel; it would have been an interesting avenue to explore. The ideal of freedom, life after a bad marriage but the guilt that eats away at her; I feel like this would have made for a better read.

Killing her husband and eating him served more of a metaphor but it really didn’t work. New beginnings can be a good topic to write about and if you took out the killing and eating of her husband it might have worked. Granted I might not have picked up the book in that case; I think the author was on the right track but her attempt to go for the shock value didn’t pay off. Going for a light and humorous story doesn’t work when you are also try to be gruesome and dark at the same time. There are plenty of other novels that explore the psychology of a killer or sociopath but this isn’t one of them.

Books by Charlie Hill

Posted February 3, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 6 Comments

Books by Charlie HillTitle: Books (Goodreads)
Author: Charlie Hill
Published: Tinder Press, 2013
Pages: 242
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

When two tourists drop dead, it peaks neurologist Lauren Furrow’s interest and seeks out indie bookseller Richard Anger to help her uncover this mystery. What they find is something unexpected. Have you ever read a book so mediocre that your brain stops working? Best-selling author Gary Sayles’s books are doing just that. Charlie Hill’s Books will take a satirical look at the state of our book industry today.

This novel starts out with Richard Anger, an angry book seller with the best bookshop ever mentioned in a novel. “A bookshop full of long-forgotten noir fiction, modernist classics, chapbooks, transgressive experimentation, translated erotica, minimalism, short stories, satires, samizdat, surrealist poetry and smut.” This is the kind of book shop I would love to spend my time in, it’s the type of store I would love to own; it just sounds amazing. Is it bad that I identified and really enjoyed the character of Richard Anger? I just thought his whole attitude and personality really tied the book together, offsetting the humour with some bitterness.

As this is a satire, I paid closed attention at what Hill was parodying. A particular favourite of mine was the literary critic, who was a blogger. As a book blogger I’ve heard it so many times, people calling blog reviews into question and while running a blog gives you more freedom to explore your own style and voice but that doesn’t mean what we say is less relevant. This tiny dig at literary criticism amused me greatly but then again I enjoyed the many little pokes being made at the book industry.

As an overview of this novel, Books is satire on the sheer amount of books that are extremely similar being published. You know the styles, I won’t point out books but there are heaps of examples of books that feel very much like a carbon copy of a similar book that was popular. There are genres out there that have the same thing being published over and over again because they sell. Books takes a look at this practise and just made fun of it.

People are devouring these books that are so similar that they all die from SNAPS (Spontaneous Neural Atrophy Syndrome).  Books reads similar to a thriller but there are so many laugh out loud moments. I love how on the surface this novel seems like a genre-based novel but if you explore it a little deeper you see so much. You can spend a lot of time trying to dissect Books and seeing everything Charlie Hill is doing here.

If you are a fan of books and want a good laugh at the expense of the book industry, then Books is for you. I had so much fun reading this book and equally as much fun thinking about what is written. I picked up this book because I love books about books and satire and I was not disappointed. This could be on my best of 2014 list but it is way too early to tell. Highly recommend Books, it is fun to read and you’ll enjoy the fun it made at the book industry.

Snapper by Brian Kimberling

Posted October 23, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

Snapper by Brian KimberlingTitle: Snapper (Goodreads)
Author: Brian Kimberling
Published: Tinder Press, 2013
Pages: 240
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Hardcover

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Nathan Lochmueller is a birdwatcher; it is not every day you can build a career around doing something you love. Snapper charts the love affair that Nathan has with bird watching and the seamlessly unobtainable Lola. This is a coming of age, and quite possibly a semi-autobiographical, novel set in rural Indiana, ‘the bastard son of the Midwest’.

This is a bookclub book so it will be a little tricky reviewing this without some of the others’ insights being mixed in with mine. Normally I write a review before attending book club but I seemed to have run out of time. This is a coming of age story that explores life in Indiana as well as the life of a biologist.

Apparently the biology is right and this was important to one of the book club members, who is in fact a biologist as well. For me this felt more like a combination of little stories; just as I start getting into one story the chapter ends and we are on another story. Non-linear groups and the only thing that seems to hold the threads together is the relationship between Nathan and Lola.

I hate to use someone else’s thoughts but one group member hit the nail on the head when she called Lola a manic pixie dream girl. Nathan seems bitter and cynical about everything except when it comes to Lola. He seems blinded about this unobtainable girl, she was never leading him on but he still lived in hope.

I really enjoyed this novel, almost experimental in the style but I felt like the chapters were so disconnected it really took me out of the novel. My major problems with this novel were the editing. I don’t know how this got published with such inconsistencies in the formatting; some chapters have quotation marks, others don’t (I really don’t know why books choose not to have them) and this really annoyed me. If you want to print a book, at least have a standardised format for the entire book. It feels like some chapters were formatted by a different editor to the others and no one compared notes. Even the major mistake where the city Canberra is found in the country Canberra instead of Australia.

Apart from all of this, I enjoyed reading Snapper in all its nuances and will probably read more from this debut author. I’m sure if Brian Kimberling writes another novel it will be autobiographical and to do with biology which are not really my thing but this pretentious, semi-experimental novel is definitely my thing.