Saturday, 27 April 2013

What I've been reading

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The Boy Who Could See Demons
by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
"Alex Broccoli is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen. When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya."
This book was number six of my 12 Books of Christmas, and the first one I've read that was both a good book and didn't have any sex in it. It kept me reading - I finished it when I should have been in bed - but reflecting afterwards, I found a lot of inconsistency. The demons were both real (because they revealed knowledge that the boy could not have had) and not real (because they were a feature of the boy's illness), and I don't like it when the author just leaves paradoxes lying there, no matter how gripping the story.

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by Mary Roach
"Eating is the most pleasurable, gross, necessary, unspeakable biological process we humans undertake. But very few of us realise what strange wet miracles of science operate inside us after every meal - let alone have pondered the results of the research."
The sort of book that I like: interesting facts about the digestive system, told in an amusing and irreverent way. Nothing earth-shattering or particularly unexpected, but enough to keep me well entertained with a few  proper laughs thrown in. I'm going to look out for her other books, especially the one about space travel.

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by Anya Seton

narrated by Diana Bishop
"Katherine comes to the court of Edward III at the age of 15. The naïve convent-educated orphan of a penniless knight is dazzled by the jousts and the entertainments of court. Katherine is beautiful, and she turns the head of the King's favourite son John of Gaunt. But he is married, and she is soon to be betrothed."
I knew very little about this book except that it's on one of my reading lists. Another reason I chose it was because it's very long, and my audio book subscription is not keeping up with the length of journeys that I now undertake. But it was definitely worth it: a beautifully written story, read perfectly, and paced to perfection. Lots of period detail that I'm prepared to believe is well-researched, and very satisfying all round. Best book of the year so far (although that's not saying much, I've had some dodgy selections recently!)

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When You Are Engulfed in Flames
by David Sedaris

narrated by David Sedaris
"Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life - the etiquette of having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger or how to soundproof your windows with LP covers against neurotic songbirds - to the most deeply resonant human truths."
I bought and read this book a year ago - for some reason I didn't include it on the blog back then - and enjoyed it so much that I felt moved to read it again. It's a series of short stories read by the author, who has a dry American humour and a very characteristic style. Sister D once gave me one of his books more than 10 years ago, and I disliked it a great deal - I wonder why? At the time, I remember thinking that his writing was cruel, but it doesn't seem that way now. Anyway, I'm re-reading it because I ran out of audio book subscription with more than 10 days to go before the next monthly credit, and I have pretty much decided to increase my subscription to two books a month while I'm spending so much time in the car.

1 comment:

  1. Gulp sounds interesting. I often wonder what happens to all the different things I swallow. I was led to believe everything went straight to my hips...


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