Tag: Atkinson

What Books Have Been Trending – April-June 2013

Posted June 28, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book Trends / 0 Comments

As we head into the middle of the year we are now going to start seeing all the summer (winter here) blockbusters being released. It feels like there is a new book being talked about every week nowadays but once again I thought I would have my fun and look at some of the books I’ve noticed trending for the past three months. Like always this is not accurate, this is judgement plus culling most books so we can cover more genres.

April

Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavours and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis? In Gulp we meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks of–or has the courage to ask.

 

A guy walks into a bar car and…From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humour and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls is David Sedaris humourous collection of essays that cover a range of topics.

Ursula Todd is born in a snowstorm in England in 1910 but dies before she can take her first breath. During that same snowstorm she was born again and lives to tell the tale; again and again. Life after Life tells the story of Ursula’s lives, as with each new life she makes small changes that send her on a completely different path.

 

Summer, Massachusetts. An old Silver Wraith with a frightening history. A story about one serial killer and his lingering, unfinished business. Anyone could be next. NOS4R2 is an old-fashioned horror novel in the best sense. Claustrophobic, gripping and terrifying, this is a story that will have you on the edge of the seat while you read, and leaving the lights on while you sleep.

Nora Eldridge, a 37-year-old elementary school teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is on the verge of disappearing. Having abandoned her desire to be an artist, she has become the “woman upstairs,” a reliable friend and tidy neighbour always on the fringe of others’ achievements. The Woman Upstairs is a masterly told story of America today, of being a woman and of the exhilarations of love.

May

A new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In And the Mountains Echoed, we follow its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

One last Sookie Stackhouse adventure; Life has taken her from a waitress in Merlotte’s Bar, Bon Temps, to part owner; from social outcast to the heart of her community; from a vampire’s girlfriend to the wife of one of the most powerful vampires in the state. She has survived earthquakes, revolutions and attempts on her life. Dead Ever After is the final chapter in this much loved series.

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno. From the bestselling thriller author that brought us The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demon’s comes the forth book in the Robert Langdon series, Inferno.

The 1st Wave took out half a million people.
The 2nd Wave put that number to shame.
The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks… four billion dead.
In the 4th Wave, you can’t trust that people are still people.
And The 5th Wave? No one knows. But it’s coming.

Rose Baker seals men’s fates. With a few strokes of the keys that sit before her, she can send a person away for life in prison. She is The Other Typist, an office girl in a New York City Police Department precinct. Confessions are her job. It is 1923, and while she may hear every detail about shootings, knifings, and murders, as soon as she leaves the interrogation room she is once again the weaker sex, best suited for filing and making coffee.

June

From the moment I first met Gideon Cross, I recognized something in him that I needed. Something I couldn’t resist. I saw the dangerous and damaged soul inside–so much like my own. I was drawn to it. I needed him as surely as I needed my heart to beat. Entwined with You is the third book in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series; Entwined by our secrets, we tried to defy the odds.

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

 

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such mega successes: sexy, irresistible characters. romantic and mythological intrigue, and relentless action and suspense.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

 

The National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann comes an astonishing new novel, TransAtlantic. Through a series of narratives that span 150 years and two continents comes this magnificent and somewhat ambitious novel. From the first TransAtlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland to the American senator crossing the ocean in search for lasting peace in Ireland, this is part fiction part historical literary achievement.

There are some very obvious choices here but that seems to be the books that I have seen being talked about the most. I do cut out a lot of books if I feel like there are too many in the same genre, I want to leave room for books in other genres that people might be interested in. I’ve read a few of these books and have a lot on my TBR already. I would love to hear what you think I’ve missed and what you expect to trend in the next three months.


Monthly Review – April 2013

Posted April 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As we draw April to a close I have to admit that while I’ve almost caught up on all my book reviews for this blog, I’m feeling like I’m in a reading slump. It’s a new feeling for me that is causing frustration; I recently started a new job which has been mentally draining me so I hope that is the only reason behind this slump. But rather than focus on my frustration, let’s talk about the positives. You might have noticed I’ve been posting a book review up practically every day, this was because I got so far behind in reviews I would read a book and want to talk about it but waited two months for it to go live. While a book review every second day was a great idea I managed to get too far behind and now that I’m almost fully up to date I can go back to what I wanted to do with this blog. While reviews are important part of this blog and my reading journey I want to leave some room for some bookish related posts that aren’t reviews. Maybe some guest posts, my lovely wife has done some great ones in the past and a huge thanks to Mish and Toby for their posts as well. I want to generate some interesting posts that aren’t just reviews; so with any luck this will happen soon (I have an interesting one about satire planned).

As for this month; the book club focused on Japanese literature and read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami which I really enjoyed and you can read my review here. I know many people are Murakami fans but to be honest, the only other novel I’ve read of his was 1Q84 and I didn’t enjoy it. I’m looking forward to what the book club does next month when we read The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde for our supernatural theme. If you haven’t gotten involved with this book club and are interested in exploring literature with us, then you can do so over on Goodreads.

My reading this month was rather unproductive, I did manage to read ten novels but most of them were in the first half of the month and I think many of them were under 200 pages. My highlights included Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Son by Philipp Meyer, Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and of course this month book pick for book club. But the book that stood out the most was The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, which I remember enjoying the movie but only remembered what happened as I read through this novel. I think I got sucked into this world that I didn’t want to leave, sadly that only lasted for a day then the book was over;the ups and downs of reading. What was your month of reading like? What were the highlights?

My Monthly Reading


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Posted April 26, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction / 18 Comments

Life After Life by Kate AtkinsonTitle: Life After Life (Goodreads)
Author: Kate Atkinson
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2013
Pages: 480
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

Ursula Todd is born in a snowstorm in England in 1910 but dies before she can take her first breath. During that same snowstorm she was born again and lives to tell the tale; again and again. Life after Life tells the story of Ursula’s lives, as with each new life she makes small changes that send her on a completely different path.

I feel like I’m the only person on the planet that thought this book was overhyped and over rated. Sure Kate Atkinson has this trippy ability to create this bleak world while still managing to add some wit and compassion but it wasn’t the writing that was at fault. The premise of the book makes it sound really good but let’s face it; it is just Groundhog Day in disguise.  The book is clever, but it tries too hard to be clever and it didn’t really turn out the way it should have; for me anyway. This book is getting so many rave reviews, I feel like I am a black sheep just telling people it did not work.

As I said before, there is nothing wrong with the writing; Kate Atkinson has created this lyrical narrative and I did find myself being swept away in the words. I even felt like at times I was reading this book without thinking about what was happening; a few times I had to stop and process before continuing. I almost found myself not noticing a death and Ursula’s life starting again and that could have got me completely lost. I did feel like Kate Atkinson did however overdo the twists and it turned out to be a roundabout way to retell the same story over and over again with different outcomes. This could have worked; and it sounds like it worked for many people but I sadly wasn’t one of them.

I wonder if Kate Atkinson was trying something different and experimental where she could play with the character’s death and life, explore the concept of life’s choices and their consequences but because there were no real penalty to Ursula’s life I wonder if it really worked? Do you ever have déjà vu? (I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen) Life after Life just seems to repeat the same scenes, some readers might gain a sense of familiarity and for me it just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Life after Life is the kind of book you should probably read in a real cold climate; the snowy, dark and sometimes bleakness of the novel seems to call for it. Maybe read snuggled up on a dark winters night and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today (It’s coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?).  It is just the book that would work better in the cold; though it is never cold here in Townsville, maybe that’s why it didn’t work for me.

I really wanted to enjoy this book; I will try another Kate Atkinson novel because I really think she has a great style. Just so happened Life after Life was not for me and I know people loved this book and will probably complain about this review but at least it was just an excuse to put some Groundhog Day quotes into something. This book has had so many positive reviews so maybe it is just me, if the book sounds like something you’d like then don’t let this review stop you, is it too early for flapjacks?


What Books Have Been Trending – January-March 2013

Posted March 29, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book Trends / 0 Comments

It seems to me that 2013 has been off to a great start in the world of literature. I have already managed to read a fair few books released this year and for the most part they have all been wonderful. Most of you will already know how much I enjoy this series, so I hope I do not disappoint. I know I will have missed some books but for the most part this is just the five books that I think have gotten the most buzz each month. I do try to offer a cross section of different genres, so if you feel a book has more buzz then one I’ve picked, chances are that I cut it for already picking something in that genre already.

January

The Wheel of Time series finally comes to an end with A Memory of Light. Brandon Sanderson has been praised for his job in finishing the Robert Jordan series. Now we can finally have the conclusion for this extraordinary saga upon us; fourteen books later.

 

Gun Machine is the result of Warren Ellis’ reimagining of New York City as a puzzle with the most dangerous pieces of all: GUNS. This blends Ellis’ humour and takes on crime novels with another quirky mystery from this twisted mind known mainly for his graphic novels.

 

Tenth of December is another collection of short stories from one of the biggest living legends in this medium, George Saunders. The collection sees the return of the thought provoking and satirical style that this man is known for. Deliciously dark while packed with some clever humour.

 

The Aviator’s Wife pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. This is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows.

 

Y by Marjorie Celona is the highly acclaimed and exquisitely rendered debut about a wise-beyond-her-years foster child abandoned as a newborn on the doorstep of the local YMCA. The ravishingly beautiful novel offers a deeply affecting look at the choices we make and what it means to be a family, and it marks the debut of a magnificent new voice in contemporary fiction.

February 

Etiquette & Espionage is the latest book from Gail Carriger and a brand new series. It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to the Finishing School series. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy.

Scarlet is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. This is not the fairy-tale you remember, but it’s one you won’t forget.  Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing; the police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

 

If you are an Australian, then you would have seen The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion everywhere you look. A moving and comic novel, sustained by a remarkable narrative voice, takes the reader on an immensely satisfying journey as Don seeks to see more within himself than he ever thought was possible.

 

The Storyteller sees Sage Singer befriends an old man who is particularly beloved in her community who asks her for a favour: to kill him. What do you do when evil lives next door? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?

 

Bestseller Lisa Gardner returns with a heart-thumping thriller about what lurks behind the facade of a perfect family; Touch & Go. Justin and Libby Denbe have it all: a beautiful daughter, a gorgeous house, a great marriage, admired by all. Arriving at the crime scene of their home, investigator Tessa Leoni finds no witnesses, no ransom demands or motive – just a perfect little family, gone.

March

Calculated in Death sees a well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta on someone’s hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood, the lieutenant knows Marta’s murder was the work of a killer who’s trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

 

Clockwork Princess has danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

 

Fade to Black by Francis Knight is about the city of Mahala–where streets are built upon streets, buildings upon buildings. A city that the Ministry rules from the sunlit summit, and where the forsaken lurk in the darkness of Under. Because when Rojan stumbles upon the secrets lurking in the depths of the Pit, the fate of Mahala will depend on him using his magic

He makes things disappear. It’s what he does. This time he is tidying up the loose ends after a casino heist goes bad; The loose ends being a million dollars cash. But he only has 48 hours, and there’s a guy out there who wants his head in a bag, if he can find him. They don’t call him the Ghostman for nothing…

 

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia is Mohsin Hamid’s spectacular, thought-provoking novel of modern Asia. Fast-paced, vivid and emotionally absorbing, this novel creates two unforgettable characters who find moments of transcendent intimacy in the midst of shattering change.

 

I know there are many more books that have been trending, I actually started out with fifteen books from each month but thought that would make for a very long post, so I culled. Now is your turn to tell me what books I’ve missed and think deserves to be mentioned and also what do you expect from the next few months coming. I suspect Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman  will be on everyone’s radar already, but what else?