Reading so far in 2009 January – April

It’s April 30th today and I think it’s high time I did a 4 month check up on what I’ve been reading. Usually I’ve written something about every book I’ve read. Usually I’ve also read and listened to a lot more books.

But this year I set out for a different goal. I was not gonna push through as many books as I could, as I have a tendency to do, but read well instead. And that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been reading well.

The ten books I’ve gone through so far this year are:

1. Cross Country by James Patterson
2. Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint Jan. 4th
3. The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas 23. Jan.
4. The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway Feb 22nd
5. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson 19th Mars
6. Breiðavíkurdrengur by Páll Rúnar Elísson, Bárður Ragnar Jónsson Mars 27th
7. Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
8. Nephilim Push by Brian Holtz
9. What You Make it by Michael Marshall Smith Apr. 21st
10. Crescent by Phil Rossi

This is less than half the amount of books compared to last year. On Mars 31st 2008 I had read 20 books. But it’s not about the amount of books read but the quality, right? Right. So let me tell you about the books I’ve read so far in 2009.

The first book was Cross Country by James Patterson.
To be honest I don’t know why I stuck to it. I rarely stick to book that I don’t like. It’s why my writing of books tends to be positive. I don’t read books I think are bad. I give them a fair chance and then throw them out the window. And since I don’t think it’s fair to say anything about a book I haven’t actually read cover to cover I tend not to talk about them at all.

I did read Cross Country though. It was boring, to be completely honest and so not my cup of tea. Why I stuck to it, I have no idea. But there was something in his description of Africa that kept me going. And if you like this kind of books you’re going to like it I’m sure.

The second book was Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint.
It is a wonderful book about art and relationships and people and I fell in love with it from the first page on. It was well worth reading even though the ending felt a little so-and-so.  The surrealism and the bizarre element of it was right up my ally and the atmosphere was exceptionally well relayed. If you’re an art lover this book is a must read.

Then there was The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. I bought it on a whim at my favorite bookstore thinking that I was in the mood for a little post-apocalypse. And indeed I was. It took me a while to plow through it and I remember putting it down in front of me after I’d read it, I stared at the book cover and thought ‘what an ambitious idea’. And it is a marvelous idea, but what is much better is that it’s well written and well executed. It’s not an easy read but great books rarely are. So if you’re a fan of sci-fi, apocalypse, ninjas or just a fan of a good books then you should read this one! (*edit* It was brought to my attention that Plowing through something could be seen as negative. That was not what I was trying to say. I like books that aren’t to easy to read. A book should be a challenge!)

Next on my reading list was The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.
What astounded me mostly about this book was the fact that the many story elements actually were a good thing. I’m rarely too keen on being introduced to a new character too deeply in the novel but this book does it and does it well. I also loved the Viking part of it (my Icelandic blood boiled proudly). It’s a good story. Great love story and the first book I actually wrote about this year (I started this blog sometime after finishing The Gone-Away World). And I gave it raving review. In hindsight I believe that it is somewhat forgettable, though a great read.

Next book was unusual for me. It’s Breiðavíkur drengur by Páll Rúnar Elíasson and Bárður Ragnar Jónsson. It’s a true story about a boy who gets sent to a school for delinquents. It’s a true story and it’s a horribly sad story. It’s a story that should be told and should be remembered. It’s a story of abuse that noone should ever have to endure.

About that time I discovered Podiobooks which has been providing me with my audio listening since then. Wonderful site filled with talent.

The first book I listened to was Nocturnal by Scott Sigler. I believed I mentioned the book in this blog as well. It was a well told story, it kept me going and it was a great book to run to. Which is all I need in an audiobook. And I’m looking forward to reading more by Sigler. And I loved the idea behind it.

The next up was Nephilim Push by Brian Holtz.
I must say I loved it. It was very entertaining and it managed to keep the feeling of mystery and excitment throughout. For you thrill-seekers out there this is a book to listen to. I really liked how he played with the religious element in the book. Entertaining!

Next up in the audio department was Crescent by Phil Rossi. Listening to this book was like reliving Event Horizon all over again. And for some of you this might not be a good thing but I loved Event Horizon. Crescent is a space horror novel, well accomplished and entertaining even though I got a little lost at the ending I enjoyed it immensely.

And the last one for this season is Michael Marshall Smith’s short story collection, What You Make It, which I’ve already mentioned as well. Perhaps my favorite of these books. I love a good short story and these are bound to stick with me.

So that’s what I’ve been reading so far this year. The quantity is less than last year but I believe I’ve given these books the time and energy they deserve. I am currently savoring Zafóns book Angel’s Game which I’m reading in Swedish. It’s an exceptionally enjoyable book and I’m reading a lot of other stuff along with it just so that it won’t ever end. I am also reading Thomas Pynchon’s Crying of a Lot 49. I liked the beginning a lot but am at the moment slightly stuck in it. So since the only book in the library by Michael Marshall Smith was available last time I was there, The Straw Men I picked that one up as well and have read a chapter or two.

I can just hope that the next 4 months will keep the same reading quality for me. I wouldn’t mind picking up the pace juuuust a little though! 😉 (And now my grandmother’s voice runs through my head – it’s not about how many you read but about how much you enjoy those you do… she was a very wise woman.)

P.S. And yes I could have deconstructed these books, used Saussurian theory or even feminism to analyze them … but that’ll have to wait till another day because I’m off to celebrate Valborg.

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