Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: 2014

Well.

What else have I been up to when I’ve not been allocating pieces of my mind to the reeducation of young whippersnappers? Spot of reading, believe it or not… Since I last posted about books, I’ve read THREE books. Two were new installments by old favourites, t’other was a newish find.

In no particular order, I’ve read Personal by Lee Child – this is the 19th installment in the Jack Reacher series. This time, Jack’s off to London to show those poms a bit of what for. It was one of the better ones, strangely enough. Even though it totally overstepped the bounds of plausibility on so many levels. As if the US Army would fly a loose cannon such as Mr Reacher to Paris then London to track down a sniper… Hrrm. I’ve checked a couple of other reviews of this book, and the pendulum is swinging. This is a love or hate book for a lot of people that read it.

Personally, I found it to be better written and less formulaic than the last few. I suppose there’s only so many towns someone can casually arrive in, beat the crappers out of a few people then get on the next bus out of town, so it wasn’t a bad thing that Mr Reacher left the country. (You would think in these days of the interwebs and all that, the small town police would be on to Jack Reacher by now). Plus the ‘obvious shag interest’ wasn’t. This wasn’t a bad thing at all. I mean, the actual Jack Reacher (as distinct from the small and shiny Mr Cruise) is probably quite hot in a manly kind of way, but he gets laid way more often than one would consider seemly. I digress. Not so much shagging. Only a relatively small amount of biffo and a greater reliance on weaponry, which is ironic seeing as it’s set in the UK where (mostly) only the villains have guns rather than well, just about everybody. So yeah, enjoyed it. Bit of serious couch time invested in this book, and it was a good old fashioned straight up mystery rather than secret agendas and personal politics.

Now, onto the second book…

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid is a stand alone thriller with a different detective (DI Karen Pirie –  who was in A Darker Domain as well). Now, I do enjoy Ms McDerimd’s books as a rule. She does really good slightly icky crime and decent whodunnits as well. This falls into the second category. A skeleton is found on the roof of an abandoned building, and DI Pirie and her colleagues work to find out who the body belongs to. In parallel, Maggie Blake, an Oxford don is turning 50 and she’s reflecting on parts of her life, including her younger days in the Balkans during the Balkan wars.

I didn’t mind it, but it was sort of paint by numbers. Like, I worked out who it was what was dead, *and* had a fair idea about who it was what dunnit well before the reveal. I don’t like that in a book. I want to go along for the ride, and be surprised and shocked along with everyone else when the denouement is reached. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It was well written, the characters were well rounded, the story was actually quite interesting. It was just a bit meh. Disappoint.

And the third book…

Now, this one was a wild ride. Night Film by Marisha Pessl is really trippy. I’m a fairly visual reader and generally read in full, glorious technicolour. This was black and white, with a splash of colour here and there, shaky hand held camera and everything. Sort of a cross between a David Lunch film and – not really sure what else.  It was creepy and spooky and nothing at all like Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This is a good thing because of the whole didn’t love the first half of it and didn’t start liking it until it stopped trying to be something else. Night Film, however. Not like anything else I’ve ever read. It was about Stanislas Cordova, a cult film director who had vanished from public life, and Scott McGrath, a has been hack journalist who lost his entire life after going after Cordova. This book was weird, strange, compelling, infuriating (Scott McGrath needed a couple of swift punches to the side of the head. More than once.) and so totally not putting this down-able. To the detriment of that stuff I am supposed to do on weekends… This book was good. You know how I mentioned earlier I liked being taken along for a ride – definitely the case here. And it surely was wild and exciting and peculiar, and I didn’t work it out. Even at the end, I sort of half wasn’t sure about what it was I was reading. I was disappointed to finish it, I wanted to know what happened next next.

That side of the book reminded me of American Psycho. That book was disgusting and disturbing, I couldn’t read it at lunch time, and I couldn’t read it before bed because nightmares. BUT at the end of it, all I could think was that it was all in his head. You know how some people stand away from the edge because they’re worried someone will push them in front of a train. Other people stand back from the edge because they know they’re the someone who might push someone else.

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Silkworms

One of the many books I got stuck into while spending 14 hours on public transport was The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.

Now, I didn’t hate it. Not by a long shot. And I’ve read a LOT worse. It also won’t stop me from acquiring Book #3, either. BUT what I have said before and I’ll say again – JK Rowling needs a decent editor. More on that later…

The Silkworm is set in the world of literary editors and small publishers and that sort of thing and involves the demise of a rather unpleasant chap who has written an equally unpleasant book about a whole heap of not particularly pleasant people, none of whom are particularly pleased.

Cormorant Strike is hired by said writer’s wife to find him when he goes missing, and the bulk of the story is Strike looking for Quine and dealing with the people in his life while trying to a) find out where he is and then b) find out who it was what dunnit. The police are exceedingly dim and frustrating in this book – I am used to my British bobbies being a bit more on the clued up side. American police, however – Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane I am looking at you. Actually, I suspect the policeman in this book was using the aforementioned Sheriff as a role model. Yes. That bumbling.

There’s a decent amount of tension between Strike and Robin, his secretary and the relationship between Robin and her fiance, Matthew (who is a bit of a dick, and reminds me vaguely of an ex boyfriend so I am inclined to dislike him on principal without his dislike of Robin’s job and employer.) is a bit fraught and full of “he doesn’t understand me” but I get the distinct impression Robin doesn’t talk to him about it, plus Matthew is a dick.

Now, there’s not really a lot I can say about the book without giving away the entire plot. So instead, I shall whinge a little about the padding. In A Cuckoo’s Calling, JK Rowling banged on and on and on about how damn HAIRY Cormorant Strike is. This time, not so much about the hair – but on and on and on about his leg and how damaged it was and how woe was him. Toughen up, princess. Get a cane and use it. No need to go on and on and on and on and on and on about it. Some of it was really good, really well written and really tight. Then there were bits that were so – I dunno.

Sometimes, when I was studying literature at school, I would think hey, maybe this part of the book is just there to move the plot along from one place to another and there’s really no deeper meaning. That’s sort of how I felt with this – that the writer was trying to impose meaning on something that really was just moving the plot along from one point to another. I found that a little frustrating (it’s like when people use words that don’t mean quite what they think they mean which makes them come across as a bit try hard and stupid.)

So yeah, didn’t hate it, didn’t love it either. Definitely will read the next one whenever it comes out. They don’t totally suck, but there is surely an editor out there who can trim between 50 and 100 pages from these books. With some of the fluff cleared out, I reckon they have the potential to be a cracking read. Just not yet.

Psst, here I am, hiding down the back of the couch…

Yeah, I know. Been a while. I think the last post I made was toward the end of June. I was all set to write a nothing much post about nothing much, and WordPress was misbehaving so I didn’t end up writing anything. It’s been a little chaotic in the McGee household, what with one thing and another, and I’ve been a tiny bit busy doing write-y things at work as well. However, I have managed to squeeze in a bit of reading. Quite a bit of reading as a matter of fact. It was helped by spending a ridiculous amount of time on public transport for a week while I did some training in Big Smokey (two trains and a bus to get there, a tram and two trains to get home. Nice. One train got delayed for an hour – which made the hour I’d allowed to get from point B to point C slightly more necessary than I expected. I do NOT feel the love for the Myki either. Whole other story that, though. But it was 13 hours all up on the train)

Anyway, on to the books… in no particular order, I have read…

  1. The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith
  2. Brimstone – Preston and Child
  3. Skin Game – Jim Butcher
  4. Lexicon – Max Barry

Also in no particular order, one was bloody brilliant, one was quite good, one was what I expected and the other was a complete disappointment. But I think I’ll do  a separate post for each because well, I don’t know why really. Partly because I was going to write a bit of a six month, new financial year how’s ma resolutions going, hey, so I might do that and do the books over the next couple of days.

Right, here we go.

Resolution #1 – keeping my feral leftie mouth shut whilst still leaving my feral leftie heart beating rather messily on my sleeve …

So far, so good. Not killed anyone, made my viewpoint clear with facts rather than rhetoric. Been screamingly angry at the way the current gubbermints think it’s appropriate to treat unemployed people purely because the people in the IPA and the people who watch A Current Affair think everyone who is unemployed is a bludger and rorting the system, so should thusly be treated as such. Or die. Preferably the latter. As should old people and sick people and children. But hey, theywill cease to be a problem when the climate implodes.

Resolution #2 – Writing writing writing.

I’ve been doing that. I’ve even been doing a bit of actual writing but nowt for public consumptions. And reading. They go together.

Resolution #3 – working smarter at work and at home

Well, look over there, nice shiny tractor coming your way. I have been Busy. I don’t know if working smarter is right, but busy, meeting most of my deadlines, not only found my assertiveness pants but put them on and USED them. Home front has been a bit choppy, so to speak – but nothing’s been disconnected and we haven’t starved. So yeah… ok.

Resolution #4 – learning to say ‘no’

Actually, I did do that. In spades. Without raising my voice, while making people take me very seriously at the same time. And I am preparing to do it again, without fear or favour!

Resolution #5 – Reading

Yep. Doing that. About 22 books so far. I’m not going to make 50, but I am pretty pleased with my efforts. This brings me to another mini-rant about the gubbermints. Piracy is a bit of a thingy in Australia. We’re willing to pay a reasonable price for media we want to watch/read/use. We are not generally prepared to put up with being screwed over by Uncle Rupert and forced to pay through the nose for the privilege of watching stuff *after* everyone else has. So, the gubbermints cure for the pirates is to make the ISPs punish people who download movies and stream tv shows. Yay. Now, I’m not one to stream shows or download movies. I can wait. I don’t steal music either.

Books, however…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still hand over cold hard cash for books from time to time. BUT if I buy a paper book, once I’ve read it, it’s mine to do with what I will. I can pass it on to someone else, I can make paper planes from its pages, I can use it to prop a wobbly table leg. When I buy an electric book – it’s not that much cheaper than a real one, I can’t give it to someone else to read without doing complicated things to it, and all I can do with it is leave it to clutter up my hard drive. That’s not fair. So I um borrow books from strangers, then loan them on. Piratically. And with a reasonably clear conscience.

Resolution #6 – exercise

Totally winning at that one. Just ask the Hound! I’ve missed less than a week since the beginning of December when I started walking. Although I’ve added having to catch a train at sparrow fart to my list of reasonable excuses (along with torrential rain, thunder and lightening, and hangovers.) From the week after next, and hopefully next week, I am going to be getting myself to work under my own steam – walking until it gets a bit lighter of an evening, then cycling (assuming of course I can get the tail light to stay on my bike). That will mean I will be covering around 8km a day which is really rather good.

So, on the whole, I think I am going ok with the resolution business. Nothing like making achievable plans, hey.

New Charlaine Harris. Less vampires, more creepy!

It was with a mixture of glee and trepidation that I opened up “Midnight Crossing” by Charlaine Harris. Trepidation because of the whole dragging out of the inevitable and general silliness of the whole Sookie Stackhouse series; and glee because, well TRASH!!!! I do like me some trashy fiction. I just prefer my trash to include serial killers, crime and death and/or general ridiculous gruesome rather than lovey dovey stuff and not too much of the sexuals. If I want to read raunchy stuff, well hey I know where to look. Ahem. I digress. Often. But you’re aware of that by now. Back to the book. It’s set in the town of Midnight, Texas, which pretty much consists of a diner, service station, antique shop and manicurist, pawn shop and a magic shop and maybe 20 residents. Some of the characters have popped up in other books – the main character, Manfred Bernardo is the cousin of Harper Connolly from that series, Lily Bard rates a mention, and I am sure there’s going to be some cross referencing to all the other series written by Charlaine Harris.

Now, there’s not going to be a lot I can really say about the book because it was only 258 pages long (walk in the park after the last couple of epic marathons I’ve been reading) without giving away too much of the plot, such as it is. Yes, light on with the plot, up there with the character introductions and peculiar events; and potential for general amusements in an ongoing fashion. Saturday was wet and windy where I live – normally, I spend Saturdays ferrying kids around, foraging for the family and generally catching up with the bits of housework the cleaner doesn’t take care of (like washing, meal planning, bill paying, that sort of thing – all the time consuming and tedious stuff that nobody notices when it’s done, but everyone complains about when it’s not), but this last Saturday, not only was I a little shabby from the late night before coupled with an inadvertent early morning (and in dire need of a couple of hours sleep), I had a haircut and colour booked for Saturday morning. So all I had to do was drop off the kids and enjoy sitting back for an hour and a half getting prettied up. And reading my book! Uninterrupted 45 minutes of reading while my colour did its thing and whadderyou know, I’m a fair chunk of the way through the book. Fast forward to the afternoon when apathy had taken hold and used its super strength gravitational pull to cement me to the couch for the duration, only leaving the couch to switch over a load of washing or throw food at the kids. I finished the entire book in one day.

Can’t remember the last time I did that – partially because I’ve been reading epicly long books of epic epicness, and mostly because I don’t often take the time. But it was a wet, miserable day and it was warm and comfy inside on the couch with a book. I think this book would work just as well as a loll on the beach under an umbrella kind of book with a nice, cool drink as well. It’s easy to whip through in one (or two) or two sessions, and perfectly trashy. It’s definitely a McBook; hence my need to write it up before it vanished from memory, which I’m quite sure it will in a couple of days. The ‘mystery’ was sorta weird, and the wrap up was equally peculiar, but hey. I didn’t mind it at all, and while I won’t be chomping at the bit waiting for the next one to show up, I’ll certainly acquire it when the time comes.

Crikey, now I have to wait another five years.

Old George RR Martin isn’t the only writer who likes to torment his fans by making them wait an INORDINATE amount of time between books. Diana Gabaldon is another writer that likes to make sure her readers are tormented for as long as possible between books. Ok, she does offer the shorter novels in between the big monsters, but still –  five years between books is a long time to wait. Although, unlike Mr Martin, Ms Gabaldon doesn’t feel the need to have a cast of thousands and a death list of hundreds. Most of the people who bite the dust in her books well and truly deserve it. A couple of them deserve it twice.

The Outlander series is a timey wimey wibbly wobbly series of books that flits between the twentieth century and 18th century. They don’t fit strictly into one genre in that while they’re historical romances, there’s time travel, loads of gruesome battles (Culloden for one, plus chunks of the American Revolution and battles around and about Scotland and the South of America between the 1740s through to the 1780s). There are a mixture of ‘real’ historical figures dotted throughout the stories as well, and Claire’s recollection of history from a relatively modern perspective adds to the – well, general coolness of the books.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the eighth book in the series and starts shortly after the end of  An Echo In the Bone, when Claire discovers Jamie isn’t dead… (not a spoiler – happens in the first page or so!) and the fallout from all of that, and Willie discovering who his father is and being a complete idiot about it. It races off out of the blocks and barely pauses for breath in 1100 odd pages. Brianna is having a dire time in the 20th century, and while sometimes the “modern” stuff is a bit of a mood crusher, this time, I was pretty keen to keep up with their story as well. It was worth it. So many things happen in this book – it doesn’t stop for a minute.

An Echo in the Bone had a dirty great cliffhanger which was all very well and good, but when you have to wait for FIVE YEARS…  well, that’s just mean. This one didn’t end with a cliffhanger as such, but left me waiting and wanting to read the next one now please. It had a really nice ending. The ending was nice enough that if Ms Gabaldon never picked up a pen again, the ending of this book was quite satisfactory. One thing I will say, that’s not really a spoiler, but more of an alert – there’s a hell of a lot of sexy bits in this one. Crikey. EVERYONE was either at it, thinking about being at it or remembering being at it. And there’s a couple of REALLY gross operations. In detail. More than one of which had me squirming as I read it.

Anyway, I read the 1100 odd pages in under a week, couldn’t put it down and stayed up way too late. And it was worth it!

The Purity of Vengeance

What a title, hey?

The Purity of Vengeance is by Jussi Adler-Olsen. He’s a Danish writer, and writes gloomy and always slightly twisted crime novels set in Copenhagen in the mysterious Department Q. They’re set up to solve cold cases (but also to keep Detective Carl Morck sort of out of mischief) and I think there’s something peculiar going on in that there’s copious money allocated to Dept Q and only a relatively minuscule amount of money is actually used to fund the Department.

I definitely missed the third book in this series – I get confused because there’s a British translation and a US translation, and I think I’ve acquired two versions of all of the books EXCEPT for #3. Anyway, because I am a lazy girl and couldn’t be bothered working out which one was number three, I just read number four. This one was more historical than some of the others, and was loosely based on a real place and a real dark spot in Danish history. There was a small island called Sprogo where ‘unsuitable’ women were sent until they were safe to return to civilised society – this generally involved them being sterilised before they were returned to polite society so they couldn’t breed. Nasty stuff. And we tend to consider the Scandinavians to be just that bit more civilised with their approach to social welfare… #yesallwomen indeed.

Anyway, this mystery revolves around one of the inmates getting revenge on a group of people who were involved in her incarceration, with a revisitation of the crime from the first book that led to Morck being banished to the basement, more derrings do by Assad, leading to suspicions about who he was in his past life. The story switches between the perspective of the detectives in 2010 and with Nete Hermansen in the 1950s and the 1980s. There’s not so much mystery, and more a string of coincidences that lead the detectives to discover  what’s going on.

I really enjoy these books. They’re morose and wryly humourous at the same time. Not HAHAHAHA laugh out loud funny, more a sly half smile here and there. And there’s links between the two other books and the fourth one, and I assume the third as well, which makes reading the books an investment of time (not like Game of Thrones or anything. That’s a marathon). But you have the same characters, and it always seems to be winter. Raving flu going around this time, complete with descriptions of excessive bodily fluids. I really should get hold of the third one.

The Gods of Guilt

Michael Connelly is one of my favourite writers despite being a bit of a McAuthor. His books are totally readable and quick; which is a good thing. But at the same time, they’re eminently forgettable. McBooks. This one was a Mickey Haller one, (Think I prefer Harry Bosch to be honest. Mickey is a bit light on.) and I think I must have missed one, or a hell of a lot of stuff happened between the last Haller book and this one.

Still, it was an absolute cracker read -super fast and action packed. Because of the gap between the two stories, I really felt like I was missing something about the changes in the relationship between Mickey and his ex wife, and it seemed like it was important. Maybe there’s a novella or something? Anyway, aside from the whole “huh? I thought they were getting along?” feeling I had throughout, it was good fun. There were a couple of totally OMFG moments – the first of which wasn’t a surprise.  You could see something coming. The second one? Nope. That was definitely a BLOODY HELL. WTF. Um. What just happened there? It made the book better than it was. I wouldn’t give it four stars, even though I enjoyed it – but that’s mainly because I don’t love the Mickey Haller books as much as the Bosch ones, and there were too many excellent coincidences that nicely moved the story along for it to be anything more than a three and a bit.

I did like the title though. The “Gods of Guilt” refers to the jury, and the role they play in determining the guilt of the defendant; and how the Gods of Guilt translate to real life; and how people get judged by a jury of their peers for so many things they do, don’t do and probably should do (yes, I’m talking women again. I was reading this at the same time as the #yesallwomen hashtag was going off after that nutbag murdered seven people because he couldn’t get a root. Newsflash, mate – it’s not women that have a problem, it’s you.) But yeah, the whole “Gods of Guilt” made me think about the blame game and how people are so damn judgmental about pretty much everything anyone else ever does; and how being that judgmental doesn’t really help anyone get along. But yeah, bit off on a tangent there.  Nowt to do with the actual book at all!

 

Aliens

Not that kind of aliens…

The Alienist, by Caleb Carr.

Now, I didn’t do very well with the Blog Every Day in May challenge – partly because some of the post topics were a little um. Personal, I guess. And the main intent of this blog is to talk about books and cooking. Plus, I was getting all outraged and shouty about the Budget, which coloured my thoughts about writing everything really. I’m still outraged and shouty, but being outraged and shouty has just been reducing my blogging mojo and not stopping my reading mojo… Which is really what this blog is all about.

Back to The Alienist.

It’s set in 1896, at the dawn of forensics and psychiatry, and Theodore Roosevelt is thinking about politics and being the Chief of Police.  A good friend of mine recommended it to me, knowing that I like crime n death and serial killers and forensics and all that. And she was right, I liked it quite a lot. It was peculiar reading a book where the fictional characters were also real people at the same time. It was pretty gruesome, but all the gore and grossness seemed to happen in the dimly lit gaslight. It was never obvious exactly where it was going, and sometimes I wasn’t sure that the author knew where it was going. But while I wouldn’t exactly call it a gripping page turner, it certainly held my interest for the duration, and I’m definitely going to read more of Caleb Carr later on.

One thing I did find interesting was the relationships between the characters. Dr Kriezler was a bit of a meglomaniac, Moore was a bit of a dilettante playing at being detective at first, then he seemed to get his act together. The role of women in the book was quite interesting, in that Sara Howard was the first female hired as a police officer in New York – however, it appears that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and she was still subject to the same bullshit that women cop every day today (another thing that makes me feel all outraged and shouty – because, yes. All women.) plus with the added expectation that she get married and be a good wife.

Actually finding the bad guy was almost secondary to the quest and the relationships between the characters and the role of forensics and psychiatry; the actual finding was a bit disappointing and a bit of a let down. I was expecting something/someone different. So I would say that if you like a bit of history with your mystery, it’s well worth your time.

 

Hrmm.

I’ve just finished reading “Unseen” by Karin Slaughter. Ms Slaughter writes two series of crime stories that are set in Georgia (either Atlanta or Grant County) that are sort of interrelated, in that characters from one appear in the other, and everyone seems to know someone else. I’ve read all fifteen of them and well. I’m not sure that I like them.

Yes, I’ve read fifteen books by the same author, and I’m really not sure that I like them at all. There’s just something about the books that I find a bit disturbing. I came across Karin Slaughter in a news group I used to frequent in Ye Olden Dayes of Teh Interwebs (when having a 2GB hard drive on my computer and 20 hours of internet a month was crikey who could ever need all that fancy stuff. A long time ago, hey.) And by came across her, I meant I am pretty sure she was an active participant in the group – or she’d been in the group and had just had her first novel accepted. I could be misremembering,  it was a really long time ago, anyway. And my main memory of that group was an obsession with the word “sluice”.

So, someone I sort of knew wrote a book, so being a good little soldier, I bought it and read it. It wasn’t bad for a first crime novel but there was something a little disquieting about the characters, something a bit not off, but like they’re mildly unpleasant people and I felt mildly unclean after spending time with them. In need of a damn good sluicing to be honest.

“Unseen” is no exception to the vaguely unpleasant feelings I get after reading Ms Slaughter’s books. It’s a Will Trent novel and centres around Will working undercover in a hospital in search of a drug kingpin. Will Trent is a detective with a colourful past – he’d been in care, had a few issues. He’s in love with Sara Linton (who is one of the main characters from the Grant County series – she moved to Atlanta after her husband was killed). The plot line in this one is a bit convoluted (but it’s reasonably obvious who the Big Bad is going to be right from the start), and there’s a heap of stuff that doesn’t really make sense even at the end. There’s one really good bit right toward the end – maybe that’s why I keep reading them? I remember the three or four pages of extraordinary writing and pick up the next one, forgetting how generally nasty the books are.

Not sure what I’m going to read next – The ereader is flat as a tack, plus I need to upload some more stuff. I don’t feel like swords and sorcery, and I don’t have too much crime n death in the pile. Might have to pick on something completely different.

(And whadderyou know, four blog posts in two days – compared to nowt for a month! And it also appears bed before midnight is totally on the agenda for this evening.)

 

Waking up the neighbourhood

 

Since December, I’ve been walking the Hound of the Baskervilles every morning – we’ve worked out about five different routes so that we don’t get bored, but the end result is a roughly twenty minute walk in the general vicinity of our house. What I’ve been astonished by is the sheer number (and volume) of dogs in the neighbourhood – ok, we see three or four walking most days, depending which way we go. There’s a couple we avoid, and a couple who avoid us (like the poor doggie that found itself with the Hound standing on its head. Actually, the Hound was fairly surprised to discover herself standing on the head of another dog) But the rest of them are amorphous barking machines that carry on like a proverbial pork chop behind their fences and front doors. We’re home by 7am each morning leaving a trail of barking mad barkers in our wake. The neighbours must love it.

I’ve been reading, too. YAY, Finished the Codex Alera – I knocked over the last three volumes in short order. Won’t go into too much detail, because I did that last time, and hey, it’s more of the same. One thing I will say is that reading Game of Thrones certainly gives one the stamina to read 1,400 pages of swords and sorcery in relatively quick order. In fact, by my calculations, I whizzed through the final three books in three weeks! This is quite good really, considering my reading funk; and means I’ve read maybe eight books this year (surely I’ve read more than that? Maybe not. It appears I have in fact read nine books in about 14 weeks. Hmmm, might hit 30 books at this rate.)

On the plus side, my reading mojo seems to have re-entered the building, with one or two exceedingly late nights caused by reading til midnight because I was caught up in the story, and actually taking time on the weekend to sit on the couch with my book for half an hour to read. HOWEVER, if someone can explain to me why crises occur the minute I sit down to read, and the world will in fact cease to orbit around the sun if I don’t immediately get up and deal with it… This never happens when I am sorting laundry. Ever. But I’m taking the time to read and I am moving through some books. I’m mid way through book ten – which doesn’t involve swords, or sorcery, however there are a number of guns and a hammer and a reasonable amount of gratuitous violence. Not so much of the kissing though, which is perfectly fine with me.

And I’ve been looking for books – not so much for me (aside from cookbooks – I’m always looking at cookbooks), but for Chaos, who is at an Awkward Age. His reading age is about three or four years older than his chronological age, and the books that are suited to 11 year old boys – well, that’s $20 gone on two hours. Not an effective use of time or money. OK, effective use of time, maybe, just not exactly what you’d be calling value for money. So, I get something that’s a challenge for him and he’s all “muuuuuuuum, there’s too much KISSING”. Or it’s too gloomy and depressing. No wonder boys are reluctant  readers! He’s reading Divergent at the moment, and is finding it ok for school, but a bit brutal for before bed reading. This is odd because he loved and devoured the Hunger Games trilogy and I couldn’t read it, because I found it all too violent. Maybe the violence in Divergent is realer (or more real, even/ Realistic? Imaginable? Foreseeable?) Anyway, while he likes it, he’s disturbed by it.

(I ended up having a chat to him about it on the way home tonight, actually (totally taking advantage of my son going through a particularly lovely phase and conversing with me about all and sundry completely voluntarily because I know these days are numbered, and when he becomes a teenager, he’ll stop talking to me) and he said that when he was reading the Hunger Games, he felt like the audience, and with Divergent, he feels like an actor, and he’s right inside the book – which is why he doesn’t like reading it before bed.

He’s a clever boy.