Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 books, #46-50

22.11.63, by Stephen King [audiobook]. Read by Craig Wasson. Audible edition.

Wow.  Just wow.  Jake Epping, a high school teacher, discovers that there's a wormhole in time back to 1958 through the back room of his local diner. The diner owner persuades him to go back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination in 1963, and Jake has other reasons for making the journey.  Life, obviously, intervenes, too...  This is an amazing book - the details of life in the 50s, the implications of time travel, the interplay between past and present... Impossible to describe, but wonderful

The dry, by Jane Harper. London: Abacus, 2016.

Three of the Hadler family - mother, daughter and father - are found shot in and around their farmstead; the baby boy survives. It looks like a murder/suicide, but when Aaron Falk, a policeman who has moved away from the area, returns for the funeral, he finds it difficult to believe that Luke would have done this.  But then, Luke has always had secrets... and Falk was hounded out of the community after the death of a young boy.  There's been a lot of fuss about this as a "literary thriller"; I don't see it as being any more literary than many good crime novels, but on the other hand, it does genuinely work as a thriller. The crushing weight of the Australian drought is almost an extra character, too.  Highly recommended.

Boulting's vélosaurus: a linguistic Tour de France, by Ned Boulting. London: Yellow Jersey, 2016.

This is fun and silly, and one to dip in and out of. Boulting has taken French words, a few of which do actually have something to do with cycling, but many of which don't, and thoughtfully provided them with definitions and examples from cycling history. Some of these flights of fancy work wonderfully; some less so; but if you like cycling and French and France, this is a nice book to have by the bed, or if you keep bathroom books...

The hunting season, by Elizabeth Rigbey. London: Penguin, 2007.

Dr Matt Seleckis has never been much of one for the woods, but has moved back to Utah with his wife and young son.  After a disturbing incident at the hospital, he's more inclined to accede to his ageing father's request to a father-son hunting trip. While they're preparing, Matt meets an old friend and an unwelcome memory of one particular summer comes back, needing to be explored.  This is really claustrophobic with a creeping sense of dread - nothing's quite what it seems, and Matt's world threatens to come crashing down around him.

In bitter chill, by Sarah Ward. London: Faber, 2015.

Rachel Jones and Sophie Jenkins were abducted in 1978; only Rachel returned home. Over thirty years later, Sophie's case is re-opened when her mother commits suicide. And then there is another death. Rachel has taken refuge in a career in genealogy, but realises that the only way she will be able to live with herself in future is to investigate the past, and try to discover what really happened so many years ago.  As she does so, she and investigating detectives Sadler, Palmer and Childs uncover layers of deception, and eventually danger.  This was unputdownable, and I was very glad to find it was the beginning of a series.


Mary deB said...

I loved that Stephen King book as well!
Happy 2018!

Shiela Dixon said...

Wow - I 'read' 11.22.63 as well, and it's one of my favourite Kings! I love it for all the reasons that you've given.

I must admit that when I twigged the 'going back in time to put something right' theme (I guess Kennedy is their equivalent of saying that you'd go back in time and kill Hitler) I found that a little disappointing - it's a theme that's been used so widely. But I then found myself more interested in the love story with Sadie.

Plus, as you said, the period really came alive for me.

Please keep posting, I love your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this information together.

I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments.
But so what, it was still worthwhile!

Joan said...

Liz, are you ever coming back? I miss you.