Tag: Meyer

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


The Son by Philipp Meyer

Posted April 11, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

The Son by Philipp MeyerTitle: The Son (Goodreads)
Author: Philipp Meyer
Published: Ecco, 2013
Pages: 576
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

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

The Son is a multigenerational saga spanning three generations. This unforgettable Texas family’s story plays out from the three perspectives, each with their own hardships from Comanche and border raids to the oil boom. This is a story of power, blood, and the land; Philipp Meyer explores the American dream and the dark roots of which it came.

I’ve been meaning to pick up American Rust for a while now but instead The Son is the first look at the remarkable writing of Philipp Meyer. The Son follows three main characters of a Texas family: Eli, his son Pete and Pete’s Granddaughter Jeanne, each with their own set of issues to deal with. Overall this is a novel of the rise of a Texas oil dynasty and the demons facing them.

 First the McCullough family is an old frontier family taking the land from the natives; the first character Eli (born in 1836) tells the story of being early settlers. But he soon finds himself being the sole survivor after being raided by the Comanche. His story is one that shows both sides, being taken captive and then learning the ways of the American natives. Confronting him and the reader with the idea of heritage from both the settlers and natives view point.

His son Peter, not only has to deal with his father’s violent past but also the Mexican border raids of the early 1900s. This is a very emotionally driven narrative, his father who has obviously had to adapt to Comanche life only to watch them die out with disease, starvation and the discrimination of settlers. Now Eli has a drive for power and Peter shares this story, how it effects the family, all while defending their land from raiding Mexicans.

Finally we have Jeanna, her story is not so violent but confronting none the less. Her story follows the Oil booms of the 20th century, the social and economy changing all while dealing with the demons of her family history. She is left to deal with most of the major consequences of her family’s choices in the past, while trying to succeed in business in a male dominated industry and world.

This is an epic adventure of wealth, privilege, family and the consequences of our actions. While it is a pretty dark subject matter, the book is rather elegant and beautiful. The prose alone makes it that way, Meyer really has created this wonderful scenery, yet I’ve not really noticed an overuse of similes. The writing style reminds me a little of John Steinbeck but there is an element of Cormac McCarthy that comes through as well, especially in Eli’s story. Overall The Son is a compelling novel with some interesting ideas for the reader.

I was really impressed with this novel but with the constant changing of time periods and characters at times I did feel like I struggled to keep up but Philipp Meyer did manage to push the story on. Historical Fiction with shades of western and southern gothic is how I would describe this novel but there is so much more to it than that. This is the second book in the American trilogy planned by Meyer, all dealing with issues facing America. American Rust with the towns that modern economy leave behind when all the factories move and The Son rather than dealing with a declining America, it deals with its dark past full of the blood and bones on the natives. I can’t wait to read American Rust and I’m interested to know what book three would be about but that may be awhile out. For now it check out Philipp Meyer’s works he has the makings of a great American author.


Books Beside the Bed

Posted March 11, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

While I’ve noticed people write posts about what they plan to read during the week, I thought I might do something similar. I thought rather than make this a regular theme; it will just be something to help break up all the review posts. I like the idea of a post about the books by my bed because I have so many books I want to read, it could be fun to share what I’m currently reading and hope to read soon.

The Son by Philipp Meyer

I don’t know why I was excited to read this book, I’ve not even read American Rust but when I was offered a review copy I jumped at the chance. So far I’m finding this book to be compelling and can see why people hold Philipp Meyer in such high regard.

 

What it Was by George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos is best known as a writer for The Wire, I will admit I’ve not watched the show in its entirety but I thought I’ll try one of his books. This has a real 1970’s feel to it and so far I’m really enjoying the pulp style. Apparently this is book five in a series but it reads like a standalone novel.

 

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

I first heard about this book from The First Tuesday Book Club (now known as The Book Club) and thought it might be a short book for the Literary Exploration challenge’s Erotica pick. This is a library book so I will need to get to this book soon.

 

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs

Another library book, this book was talked about on the Books on the Nightstand podcast and they described the protagonist as a descendant of Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher and Richard Stark‘s Parker. Then the final nail in the coffin was when the blurb called it “Stunningly dark, hugely intelligent and thoroughly addictive”.

 

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

A friend of mine lent me these books; while I’m not really a fan of fantasy I did mention I have enjoyed the fantasy/pulp crossover novels. So now I’ve been told to read Guards! Guards! and if I like it, Men at Arms.  Not sure when I’ll get to these books, but they sit beside my bed waiting for me.

 

Mimi by Lucy Ellmann

I recently receive this book and I don’t know what it is but I feel drawn to it. Mimi does look intriguing but I’m still not sure what to expect. The novel is described as “Sparkling, polemical, irreverent, slippery, and sexy”.

While I have plenty of other books I plan to read these are the books sitting next to my bed hoping to take priority. This is not always the case, I might put some on my TBR bookshelf but they are all calling for some attention. Do you have a pile of books waiting beside your bed? and if so what are they.