Monday, 29 August 2011

Book 40 Sex with Dead People by David Allen Barker

This is a collection of 28 bizarre and twisty short stories by up and coming author David Allen Barker. It starts off with the wonderfully silly 'The Green Capsule' which is probably my pick of the lot which gets the book off to a hilariously imaginative start and the rest of the stories go from the ridiculous to the sublime, in a good way. What I liked best about this Ebook is the witty conversational voice of the author, he really knows how to tell a story.

All of the stories are worth a read but amongst my other highlights are
'Alien Rednecks','Burning in Stockholm' and 'Urine Love.'

I'm really looking forwards to reading more from this author and he has another ebook available at Smashwords called 'The Land' which I hope to get hold of soon.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Book 39 Complete Poems - Elizabeth Bishop

I must say that I have a love hate relationship with poetry, I like some poetry but I hate a lot of it ! For me it is the snobbery that surrounds the world of poetry that I don't like. Personally I love to be able to read a poem without having to have a degree in the history and workings of poetry, if a poem doesn't make sense then I don't like it. And I don't want to know about iambics or any of that stuff to be able to appreciate a piece of writing. I have written poetry in the past and maybe I will again in the future but I'm not interested in writing anything that you need a diploma or a degree in poetry or English Lit to understand. I like to write poetry and to read poetry that makes me feel something, whether it is joy or sadness or surprise or shock. I love Billy Collins and even Sylvia Plath, even though Sylvia's poetry isn't the easiest to understand, I just love her imagination.

To be honest the Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop didn't rock my world, in fact it was a bit of a nightmare to read. Of the many MANY poems in the book I could probably count on two hands ( maybe one) the ones that I liked. I much prefer her later poems than her earlier ones. The final part of the book featured Elizabeth's translations of poetry by other poets and to be honest these were probably more fun to read !

The highlights of Elizabeth's poems for me were poems such as ; Manners, Filling Station, Visit's to Elizabeths, In the Waiting Room ( probably my favourite), Crusoe in England. And translations of note are 'The Death and Life of Severino' by Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, 'The Table' by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and 'January First' by Octavio Paz.

Even though this wasn't my favourite read of the year I do think any writer could do worse than to read poetry, I think a writer can learn a lot from poetry in general. Where better a place to learn about imagery and metaphor and imagination ?
I would like to read more poetry.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book 38 Roadwork by Richard Bachman

King is Bachman and Bachman is King.

This is my latest read of Richard Bachman otherwise known as Stephen King. This book is in many ways very different from most King books but the writing is unmistakable.

Written inbetween Salem's Lot and the Shining, Roadwork is a non-horror that focuses on one man's determination to stop a new major road from being built in an unnamed city in the mid west of America. It doesn't sound too exciting does it ?
Well maybe the story isn't the most exciting thing since bottled cider and there's nothing original or hugely imaginative here but it doesn't really matter because this book is written in Stephen King's own unique way, I couldn't help but love it !
He has a way of writing that could make anything work, I'm sure he could write a book about a plate of sausages and make it interesting. Maybe 'The Girl that Loved Tom Gordon' is an example. That's what I like about him. This non-horror shouldn't really work but it does. He, throughout, has this way ( like in all of his novels) of waffling off at tangents and that is what sets him apart from alot of authors in my opinion. I love his waffling tangents.

Even though the basic plot doesn't sound to exciting there are actually many layers to this book. You end up feeling sorry for the main character as well as thinking he is a total loon.



Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book 37 Bloody River Blues by Jeffery Deaver

John Pellam is a location scout working on the set of a " Bonnie and Clyde " style movie in Maddocks, Missouri. When a random guy opens his car door and sends his beer crashing to the ground he becomes a wanted man in the connection with a murder and the shooting of a cop.

He becomes Missouri's most wanted man and everybody seems to want to track him down and to make sure that his mouth is kept firmly shut.

First of all I must say from the outset that thrillers are not normally my bag unless it happens to be somewhat special, so maybe a thriller addict would enjoy this a lot more than I did. I have only ever read one other Jeffery Deaver book and I enjoyed that one more. Apparently this is one of his earlier books and he does get much better. There is nothing terrible about ' Bloody River Blues' , it's just not great. It's just that everything about it is average. There is nothing original or fresh about this story and it is probably a storyline that has been regurgitated over and over ( in various forms) in books and films over the years.

I did like the character of John Pellam ( he is to be found in other 'Location Scout' books) but I prefered the character of the cop, Buffet. The parts of the book that centre around cop, Donnie Buffet are probably the better written and more interesting parts. And I did like the way Jeffery Deaver tricks us a few times in the telling of the story, that's something I wouldn't mind incorporating into my own work.

Average 7/10

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Book 36 One Foot Wrong by Sofie Laguna

Hester lives in the house and isn't allowed outside. She lives with Sack and Boot and often eats her food under the table with Cat and goes to the hanging room if she is bad. God the bird watches over her and Jesus is drumming the beat inside her head. Then one day she has to go to school and learns that everybody is different from her and that a secret has no sound and lives in your darkest corner where it sits and waits.

I cannot praise this book enough, it is simply incredible. If you are looking for a happy slappy relaxing book to take with you on your holidays then perhaps this isn't for you. It is probably the most dark and disturbing thing I have ever read but it is written with such skill and imagination, it is hypnotic.

Sofie Laguna takes us into the world of Hester, a young girl who is locked in her own private world.. The imagination of this writer is brilliant and makes a sad story un-putdownable ! It is a remarkable and shocking read. Brilliantly written.