As promised, here's Part I of what I read post-surgery, during the worst of the pain the first week:
Tooth and Nail – Ian Rankin
Have I mentioned I like him? He's one of my current "guilty pleasures," though I don't actually consider him an un-literary author.
This may have been the best of his Rebus books I've read so far, and it's pretty gruesome. It's about a serial killer with a particularly horrific method of killing, part of which includes leaving a bite on the stomach of his victims. Seems a little strange saying "excellent stuff," but it truly is excellent. It's another nail-biter all the way through the end.
The Unnamed - Joshua Ferris
Wow. Spectacular. Could hardly put it down.
Plot revolves around a man the mercy of a body that insists on going on long walks, picking up and leaving his life when the urge to walk hits him. It eventually ruins his career as a high-powered lawyer, and though his wife struggles long and hard to help him try to resolve the issue – including visits to every known type of doctor and New Age healer – eventually she begins to crumble. Who could blame her? Her husband disappears suddenly, sometimes for days at a time. Compelling.
"The scans had revealed nothing. That was neither positive or proof of mental illness nor the negative confirmation of a medical disease. It was more of the same, exactly what he feared – greater inconclusiveness, additional absence of evidence, the final barrier, removed from boundless interpretation. He was anything anyone wanted him to be – a nutcase, a victim, a freak, a mystery."
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand – Helen Simonsen
A charming story. Not particularly literary, but enjoyable despite a few plot holes. Major Pettigrew is a widower who falls in love with a woman of Asian Indian descent in a small English village in which such relationships are controversial. A tale of love in the midst of social disapproval.
Siamese – Stig Saeterbakken
One of the most depressing books I have ever read! I considered putting it aside, not particularly looking for such a downer. Still, the book kept pulling me in in a morbid way.
An elderly couple, the wife hard of hearing and the husband blind, contends with the husband's approaching death. The husband has chosen to live out the rest of his months in the bathroom of their apartment, cared for by his wife. A strange, almost surreal plot that's difficult to describe. Suffice to say, the old man is losing his mind. But I guess that's a given. He is suspicious and paranoid, occasionally lonely, passing the time by remembering things past. And did I mention it's depressing?
Murder on Monday (Lois Meade Mystery) – Ann Purser
An English "cozy" set in a small English village, Lois Meade becomes a cleaning woman and also the unwitting witness to the major suspects in a shocking murder. In the midst of this, her family experiences turmoil due to their young teenage daughter's love relationship with an older boy, one which her parents do not trust. A fun, fast read. I loved the Lois as a strong, mostly fearless female protagonist, but not sure I'll continue reading this series.
Imperfect Birds – Anne Lamott
I love Anne Lamott's nonfiction, though not so much her fiction. A blah read about a middle aged couple raising a daughter who falls in with the wrong crowd, becoming increasingly drawn into the world of drugs and alcohol. If it hadn't been a review book I'd have tossed it aside, unfinished. It was just that dull.
[Free Review copy]
Part II to follow soon…