Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 books, #121-125

Snowdrops, by A D Miller. Kindle edition.

A Kniterati book club book.  A confessional novel written by a Briton called Nick to his fiancée shortly before their wedding, with an account of his time in Russia in the middle years of the last decade.  It's a hallucinatory story, full of oil, booze, drugs and beautiful sisters, who may or may not actually be cousins.  There's a feeling of impending doom throughout the novel, and a sense of a general moral slide...  Pretty compelling stuff, and really draws you in.

Tilting at windmills: how I learned to stop worrying and enjoy sport, by Andy Miller.  London: Viking, 2002.

(Not the same A Miller as the first book, as far as I know!)  Andy Miller hates sport.  All of it.  Well, very nearly all of it - he has a love of minigolf, known to most of us as crazy golf.  Using minigolf as a starting point, he explores the reasons people enjoy sport, from supporting QPR to the Boat Race, tennis at Wimbledon and the British Open golf.  He talks to PE teachers, leading members of the sporting authorities and proponents of sport-as-entertainment such as publicists from the World Wrestling Federation.  Meanwhile, he plays in minigolf tournaments including the European finals in Riga, where the Baltic Times dubs him "the Eddie the Eagle of miniature golf".  It's a slightly puzzling book, in that there is one sport Miller wants to excel in, but it's also fascinating for those of us who were just a bit useless at sport in school, but keen on following sport from our armchairs - there's an interesting window into the psychology of real competitors such as Steve Redgrave.

Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovich [audiobook]. Read by  Kobna Holbrook-Smith. Oxford: Isis, 2010.

Peter Grant is a trainee detective in the Metropolitan Police who tries to take a witness statement from someone who is dead; this brings him to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. Becoming a DC and trainee wizard simultaneously means that Peter's world becomes somewhat more complicated.  There is something very horrible going on in London, and Grant and Nightingale need to follow this to the end, or die in the attempt.  Thanks to Jackie for the recommendation for this - told with considerable wit and inventiveness and a huge amount of humour.  I also loved the reader, who can do everything from Nigerian grandmothers to upper-class twit with facility...

Locked in, by Kerry Wilkinson. Kindle edition.

This was an interesting story - middle-aged people are being found strangled in their own, locked, homes, with no sign of who may have been able to get in and kill them.  There's no obvious collection, and new DS Jessica Daniel is also being hounded by a news reporter who seems to be acquiring information before the police.  The plot is really tight - the main problem seems to be Daniel herself who is just incredibly grumpy for seemingly very little reason, and also prone to jump in without thinking.  It's a little difficult to admire a novel entirely when you think the main character is a little bit of a pillock.

Suicide run: three Harry Bosch stories, by Michael Connolly.  Kindle edition.

Effectively a publicity trailer for the new Harry Bosch book The drop (on order from the library), these three short stories are excellent and from different periods of Bosch's history.  If you have a Kindle, definitely an interesting addition to the Bosch canon, and well worth the 99p cover price.

No comments: