Tag: Lauren Beukes

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

Posted August 6, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

toptentuesdayI think I might be addicted to Top Ten Tuesday, I like joining in and having a set topic to work with. Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is: Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels. This was a little tough but decided to divide the list and tell you five worlds I’d like to return to and then five stories I would like see been continued; these are normally characters I really enjoy reading about and wonder what happened to them after the book (I know, I know they ceased to exist).

Five worlds I would love to return to;

  1. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
  2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  3. The City & the City by China Miéville
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  5. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Five stories that I’d like to see continue;

  1. Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  5. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu

Monthly Review – July 2013

Posted July 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

This month we looked at the satirical novel and read Kurt Vonnegut’s modern classic Cat’s Cradle. This was a lot of fun for me; even though I’ve read the novel, I’m becoming a big fan of Juvenalian satire. While it might have been a little difficult for others, it is always great to go out of our comfort zones and read something great. Next month we are dipping into some non-fiction when we read Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway, considered one of the best books ever written about bullfighting.

My wife has been away for almost three weeks and in that time I thought I might have gotten a lot of reading done, but sadly this was not the case. I’ve done pretty well for myself but nothing amazing, it seems like a regular month for me; reading wise. The biggest highlight for the month would have to be A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra but I did hit rock bottom as well and read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I would love to know what your highlights or lowlights of the month were and even what you read this month.

My Monthly Reading

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Posted July 25, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Science Fiction, Thriller / 9 Comments

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesTitle: The Shining Girls (Goodreads)
Author: Lauren Beukes
Published: Harper Collins, 2013
Pages: 389
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

During the depression era, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens onto other times. But it comes at a cost, he has to hunt down and kill all the shining girls; those bright girls burning with potential. He stalks them through the different ages, leaving clues on their bodies. But when one of the girls doesn’t die she starts to hunt him. Can Kirby Mazrachi track down this time-traveling serial killer before it’s too late?

Right off the bat, a time traveling serial killer was enough to sell me on this book, it sounded unique and familiar all at the same time. I started reading this book instead of reading the novel I needed to read for book club (which is And the Mountains Echoed) as a way of procrastinating and simply because I wanted something light and entertaining while I wasn’t feeling too well. I flew through this novel and while it was dark, twisted and often graphic, I still felt like it missed something.

I like my serial killers to have an inner conflict; the inner turmoil of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, the dark passenger of Dexter in the Dexter series (and TV show) and if you’ve seen Mr Brooks, the guy in the back seat (played by William Hunt). I love the psychological elements that are found in these examples and this is what I look for in a novel about serial killers. I want to know their motivations, their convictions, the struggle between good and evil within each one of them and when I didn’t get that in The Shinning Girls, I was disappointed by that.

Then again I love how graphic this book is; there is a real thrill to read the macabre and Lauren Beukes doesn’t hold back in the book. While the author doesn’t go into too much detail about the time travelling mechanics, when someone asked me if the time travelling elements were believable in the book I had to stop and think. Firstly can time traveling be believable? Then I spent time thinking about the different theories around time traveling and going back and forth in time, never really seemed to alter the future at all. Why didn’t Harper just go back to the same day and finish Kirby off? Or even a different day? There are so many questions that are left to the imagination and nothing about time travelling was ever be truly explored. You know what? I think I prefer it that way, there are too many theories regarding time travel, I think it was best to leave it up the reader to draw their own conclusions about some of the plot. I don’t like it when everything is wrapped up neatly and every thread within a novel is covered off. I want something left to my imagination, I want to form my own ideas and I want to question the book in the end.

I think Lauren Beukes made a conscious effort not to fill in all the gaps; there are so many questions, backstory and motivations that could have been filled in but leaving that all up to the imagination of the reader just worked better for this book. It also can set up for possible sequels and spin offs. This means when Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way and MRC brought the rights to make this into a TV series (even before the book was released in America) I think Beukes decision paid off. With all those lose threads, it give the TV adaptation room to move and vary from the book if needed (in order to set up a few seasons). Adaptations are tricky and I’m often against them but with a book like The Shining Girls, I think they have a good foundation to work with and expand without upsetting too many of the diehard fans.

The Shinning Girls is far from perfect; there are things I would have liked to see done differently but this was pure entertainment and the fact that there are a slight literary quality about it helped as well. I’m curious to see what happens with the TV show and I’ll be sure to watch it if it ever makes it to air but in the meantime, this is a Science Fiction/Thriller that I’m happy to recommend to people. There is a lot to think about and it is one hell of a read.

My Winter Reading List

Posted July 14, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in What are you Reading / 0 Comments

There seems to be a lot of talk about summer reading lists lately, but its winter! I know, I know, it is summer over where the majority of book bloggers live so I thought I will join the discussion. This is the time of year where all the big blockbuster books are released and everyone is picking out what they plan to read while they have time off or go on vacation. This is the wrong time of year for this over in Australia but we sometimes plan to read books as well (I try not to but there are so many books I want to read). So I thought I might post some books that are waiting for me on my nightstand.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Everyone is buzzing about this novel but I’ll admit I’ve never read The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns. This book is the book chosen for my local book club so there is an excuse to read this. I’m not sure what to expect but judging by the hype I’m worried I’ll be hugely disappointed, I hope not.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Arguably one of the most talked about books at the moment; this is disturbing and uncomfortable and I can’t wait to read it. I know it will make me sick and the idea of sexual psychopath with a fetish for 14 year old boys is too disturbing to talk about, but these subjects often need addressing more than ever. The bonus is the cover of this book, it’s highly suggestive but turn the book over and you see the button.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
What can I say about this book? It’s set in Russia, so I’m sold. I’ve been hearing great things about this book and then the wonderful Anne at The Reading Room recommended and sent me a copy of this book, so I know it will be on the top of my reading list. There are other people out there raving about the book as well and for the most part they are people whose opinions I trust.

Constance by Patrick McGrath
From the acclaimed author of Asylum and Martha Peake, a masterful new novel of psychological suspense, the story of a marriage haunted by trauma and descending into crisis. This book has peaked my interest and I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve never read Patrick McGrath so I’m not sure what to expect, but it sounds intriguing.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
A time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace – until one of his victims survives. I’m not sure if I need to say more to sell this book. This book has enough buzz to speak for itself, mainly because  Appian Way, Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company brought the television rights to this book before it was released in America.

I’m sure everyone has some books they are planning to read over the Winter/Summer so I’d love to hear what is currently on your list. I’m sure there are millions of books on your TBR’s, I know mine is growing faster than I can read and who knows if I’ll get to all these books in time for Spring, but I’ll have fun trying.