My pick for the Short Stories genre was ‘All That Man Is’ By David Szalay.
All of the stories are set in various countries in Europe which made it quite a bit more interesting than I was anticipating.
The short stories made for good holiday reading as I could pick it up and read a story at a time without loosing the thread of the story that I perhaps would have lost reading a standard fiction. I was also surprised at how well you got to know the main characters of each story in such a short time. The only downside was that with a few of the stories I would’ve liked to know more about what happened next instead of being left to guess what happened.
Now, I was really looking forward to my next genre – New Zealand Non-Fiction. This is more the type of book I would usually read. But… the book I chose just didn’t do it for me! I picked out Classroom to Prison Cell by Alison Sutherland because the title sounded like something that would interest me but for me it was quite a bit let down.
The books author has worked in education for a number of years and was interested in finding out what some of the troubled youth in New Zealand that she was working with thought about their school life. While this sounded interesting to me I found it a hard book to read because it was written word for word with what the youth had to say and I found it very disjointed. And if I am being truly honest I didn’t actually finish the book but read about 90% of it.
I have read some amazing New Zealand Non-Fiction but unfortunately this book just didn’t grab me like some of the others have.
‘Finding Casey’ by Jo-Ann Mapson was my choice for the domestic fiction genre of my Book Bingo Challenge. Although this can easily be read as a stand alone book (as I did) it does follow on from her previous novel ‘Solomon’s Oak’.
The book centres around Glory, her husband Joseph and their adopted teenage daughter, Juniper. Glory finds herself pregnant for the first time at the age of 41, Joseph is dealing with chronic pain from a shoot-out he’d been involved in when he was a police officer and Juniper has fallen for Topher, the bad boy musician. And to add intrigue, further into the book, we meet Laurel and her desperately ill daughter Aspen. Spoiler alert!!! Laurel turns out to be Juniper’s sister who had been kidnapped years earlier and was presumed dead.
I quite enjoyed this book, particularly Laurel’s character and her story. I think what I find the hardest about reading fiction is that everyone seems to always get their happily ever after or the plot is a little over the top.
Love family sagas and domestic fiction? Check out our titles in our online catalogue!
Ok, so I finally got round to finishing my book, ‘The Courtesan and the Samurai’ by Lesley Downer which is what I’d chosen for my historical fiction. It took me a good 5 weeks to get through this book – not that it wasn’t a decent read, it was more that I wasn’t in the mood to read this particular book at this particular time.
It’s set in the late 1860’s when the Northern Japanese go to war with their Southern counterparts after the death of their shogun. The book centres around Hana a young Japanese woman who’s cruel, loveless husband is sent off to fight when war breaks out.
Hana is forced from her home and sets off to Yoshiwara where she hopes she’ll be safe, but with no money it isn’t long before Hana is forced to become a courtesan.
Yozo is a young well-travelled Japanese soldier fighting for the North but when his army is defeated he too finds himself in Yoshiwara where his path crosses with the beautiful courtesan Hana.
I read ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ years ago and thought it was quite similar so if you enjoyed that I’m sure you’ll enjoy ‘The Courtesan and the Samurai’. I found it an extremely well-researched book with a lot of facts interwoven through the story.
My fourth book in the Book Bingo Challenge was a Graphic Novel, and having never been one of those children who got into reading comic books I suspected this was going to be a BIG challenge. I initially chose the smallest, thinnest book on our library shelves that I could find (it was a Marvel comic) but my colleague Shannon (who is a fan of Graphic Novels) was not impressed with my choice and dragged me along to our Graphic Novel shelf and picked out a couple of books she thought might be more to my taste rather than the Marvel comic I had chosen.
Knowing what sort of books I would normally read my colleague really hit the nail on the head with War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. It was a fictitious account of a young Ugandan boy who was stolen by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) from his boarding school along with 3 of his friends, in the hope of turning the boys into child soldiers. The book depicts the real struggle the boy’s face – do as the LRA soldiers order – or risk at the minimum a beating or worse – death!
Having read true stories of child soldiers this book really rung true, describing the brutality of the superior officers and the dilemma the young boys face in going along with what they’re told to do or stand their moral ground.
The illustrations by Daniel Lafrance were amazing and really added another level to the story for me, capturing the emotions of the children and the harsh conditions they live under, which would otherwise be expressed through the authors words.
Check out Margot’s take on graphic novels as a genre here. If you do happen to be a fan of Marvel graphic novels, you can see our collection here.
The third book in my Book Bingo Challenge was to be a Science Fiction – again, not a genre I was particularly looking forward to – so I ‘kind of’ cheated and chose from the Teen Section. I chose ‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner because I had seen the movie a while ago and enjoyed it so figured I would like the book too.
The book begins with Thomas arriving at The Glade in The Box (a dark caged elevator) with no memory other than knowing his name. He’s introduced to life on the Glade by a bunch of other teenage boys who arrived there one every month for the previous two years. Surrounding The Glade is The Maze, a labyrinth of ivy-covered walls that change every night, and evil creatures called ‘Grievers’ which prowl along The Maze at nightfall and which the boys believe needs to be solved so they can leave The Glade.
The day after Thomas’ arrival a girl turns up unconscious in ‘The Box’ and everything in The Glade is about to change!!!
The Maze Runner was fast-paced and action-packed which I enjoyed but it is very different from the movie – not that that is a negative – and one day I might get around to reading the following two books in the series, ‘Scorch Trials’ and ‘Death Cure’.
Book genre two for the Book Bingo reading challenge was a romance novel – something I wasn’t looking forward to. I was going to go with someone like Danielle Steel or Nicholas Sparks, someone well known, but then decided to randomly pick a book from our display stand and that’s how I came to read ‘The Dress’ by Jane Rosen.
I went into reading this book knowing it was probably going to be light and fluffy and that’s exactly what it was but I did find myself kind of enjoying it, especially the first half of the book, by the second half it was getting a little too cheesy for me and typically ended with all the main characters getting their fairy tale ending.
This book follows the lives of nine women touched by the magic of one little black dress. From the young runway model who first modelled the dress to the middle-aged assistant who’d secretly been in love with her boss for many years and who is now recently widowed. This book is rich with characters from all walks of life.
The Dress by Jane Rosen is available from Thames Library. You can reserve it for $1 via our online catalogue here. You might also be interested in The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis.