Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
So, for this year I set my Goodreads reading goal at 25 books. 25 books! I’ve wondered, how can someone spend that much time reading? Then I started reading instead of watching TV in the evening and now I can see how and 25 certainly seems doable. I have read 5 to date – off to a pretty good start. Here is what I think of those 5 (book reviews, not my strong point).
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: Harry August has the ultimate deja vu. He is born, he lives, he dies, he is born again. To the same parents, in the same place and in the same year as the first time. When he is born again, he remembers everything from the life he just left – an 8-year-old with the knowledge and mentality of a man who has lived a full life. There is just something about this story that pulled me in. The writing is fluid (even when there is talk about psychics) and while Harry has his flaws, the stories of his lives are interesting to read as he tries to prevent one of his kind (he is not the only one, there are hundreds of others like him) from thrusting the world decades ahead of its time, technologically speaking. I have an interest in time travel books that don’t get bogged down in the science and this one doesn’t fall into that kind of writing. Is it a time travel tale or a tale of immortals? I’m not quite sure how to classify the book, as it has elements of both. All and all this was a fun read through history and Harry’s many lives and deaths. 4 out of 5, would recommend.
Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson: A murder mystery set against the backdrop of winter in a remote town in northern Iceland. Ari Thór Arason is a rookie cop assigned to the town of Siglufjörður, a small, quiet fishing village. The quiet is shattered not long after he arrives when a woman is found half-naked, bleeding and near death in the snow, in the middle of the night. As Ari Thór tries to learn on the job, deal with a long distance relationship, and fit into this new community, he also has to find the attacker and discover the truth about the death a much beloved local writer. This book was good. It didn’t blow me away and the translation had a few hiccups but it was good. 3 out 5. Would recommend to those who like Nordic Noir.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: A dying author, David Martín, is tired of writing pulp books for a shady publisher and in pursuit of release from the writing obligations and death, he ends up writing something sinister and mostly incomprehensible for a malevolent being after making a deal – his life will be saved in exchange for this book being written. A deal with the devil. Alright, that is probably a bit more dramatic than necessary but sums it up. This is the second book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. I admit, I didn’t finish Shadow of the Wind (the first in the series) but after reading The Angel’s Game, I will be going back and reading it all. The tale of David Martín’s journey from orphan to immortal is very well written and engaging. 5 out of 5, highly recommend.
Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder by Piu Marie Eatwell: True crime holds an endless fascination with so many of us and one of the most famous unsolved crimes of the 20th century captivates people everywhere – the Black Dahlia Murder. In 1947 down a residential street in the vicinity of Los Angeles, a young mother talking her child for a walk discovered the bisected, naked body of 22 year Elizabeth Short. Aside from the obvious trauma of bisection, the young woman’s face was slashed ear to ear in a gruesome smile and other, somewhat unusual indignities, were also inflicted on the corpse. Her killer has never been caught but there is no shortage of theories about who the killer could have been. As much as true crime disturbs me, I can’t help but be fascinated by the stories and details of killers and the crimes they’ve committed and feel the horror of the victims families knowing what these monsters have done. I know I’m not alone, all you LPOTL listeners. For me this book has its ups and downs. There were details of the crime and what was done to Elizabeth Short that I had never heard and her life was examined as not just the Black Dahlia but her experiences in California leading up to her death. What was a downer was some of the repetitiveness of the writing. Some of the footnotes were the same as what had been in a paragraph that quoted a footnote. And this also happened a couple of times throughout the chapters; an exact repetition of what had already been written. Aside from a few minor annoyances in the writing style, this was an interesting look at a very famous murder. 3.5 out of 5. Would recommend to true crimes fans.
Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent: I read this book in 2 days. That is highly unusual for me. It just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading. One night, successful children’s author Oliver Ryan inexplicably beats his wife into a coma. What follows are the pieces of Oliver’s life put together and told by the people he knows, and the people who thought they knew him. The book tells not only Oliver’s story but gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of the multiple narrators and how Oliver impacted each of their lives, positively and negatively. That may have been the appeal, not finding out the root of Oliver’s violent outburst but the inter-connectivity of everyone that was at one time apart of his life and what they each took from their friendships and acquaintances with him. Another 5 out of 5 read.