The Books I’ve Read in 2008.
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If you read any book this holidays, make it The Road. Set in a future America, after some unknown apocalypse, it is the story of a father and son – ‘each other’s world entire’ – trying to move south to warmer climes. Starving, exhausted and constantly alert for roaming cannibalistic brigands, it sometimes seems as though they are sustained by love alone.
The language in this novel is beautifully evocative and the complete absence of quotation marks adds to the haunted quality that permeates the book. The characters inherently believable – who among us could not empathise with a father trying to shield his son from the horrors of a world gone mad?
Sad, depressing, despairing and all too believable, The Road nevertheless manages to end on a hopeful note. This is a definite must-read!
Stephen King never fails to creep me out and this book is no exception. Told in a combination of present day and flashback, it takes a little while to figure out what’s going on, but this simply adds to the ominous quality of the story. I found it difficult to put this book down and there were several places where I actually jumped. Duma Key is technically well written, in King’s characteristic style and the characters are truly alive. This is a wonderful, frightening novel and readers will not be disappointed.
Don’t buy this book. If you really want to read it, borrow it from the library. This book is boring with a capital B. It is written like a thesis, with lots of long sentences and industry jargon. I struggled to reach page 33. Normally I don’t put a book down before page 50 as I want to give it a fair go, but in this case I have made an exception. The subject matter is an interesting one and The Captured Womb would probably be of interest to med students or professors, but the rest of us should give it a miss.
As the mother of a daughter on the cusp of adolescence, and two more daughters who will be teens in the years to come, I feel in dire need of tips on navigating these often turbulent waters. The Princess Bitchface Syndrome gives clear advice written in a friendly, humorous style that doesn’t feel as though you are being preached at. I particularly like the hypotheticals included for discussion with your daughter, and the extra resources tacked on the end. The only drawback is that it is very short and basic, but it makes a great starting point for dipping your toe in the water before moving on to further reading.
If you can accept or ignore the premise at the end, The Taking is an excellent book. A very clever take on what armageddon could be like, it starts out with a creepy, eerie quality that leaves us a little uncomfortable. After a while, the truly weird terrors begin. In an era where we have been fed a steady diet of alien invasion movies, this book seems all too feasible, making it all the more terrifying. In my opinion, this one of Koontz’s best works. Not a book to be read at night or during a thunderstorm, The Taking should, nevertheless, be on everyone’s reading list.
The premise behind The Devil’s Star could have been very interesting and it was a novelty to read a crime novel set in Norway. However, the characters in this book were far too stereotypical and the investigative techniques have been done to death. If I had to sum this book up in one word, I would say it was ordinary. I had forgotten it almost as soon as I had finished it. The Devil’s Star is OK if your looking for something you don’t have to think too hard about but I’d avoid it otherwise.
Some of the essays in this book were quite interesting, others boring. Most essays were biased one way or the other but a few made some attempt at neutrality. Being Australian, I found the essay Teenage Sexuality and Pregnancy in Australia by Stefania Siedlecky more relevant than some others but I learned something from each essay. Despite the fact that this book is so outdated, it is worth reading if you are interested in the topic.
This book is way too hard to read. It is reputed to be one of the most important books ever written, but I simply could not get through it. The language is extremely convoluted and reads as though it has been written for the chardonnay set. It would be difficult for the average layperson to read. I have been reading this book for months and I am not even half-way through. I think now is the time to give up!
Lisey’s Story is engrossing from the beginning. Though the story begins with a seemingly ordinary circumstance – a grieving widow revisiting memories as she sorts through her late husband’s belongings – it isn’t long before we begin to notice that things are decidedly not ordinary. In true Stephen King style, the weirdness creeps up on us gradually until, almost without us realising it, we suddenly find ourselves in a whole other (less comfortable) world.
Though there are some overt threats in this novel, many of the scares are of a more subtle nature. King has a talent for weaving several stories into one novel and burying thrills under several layers, so that they don’t truly frighten us until hours after the book is layed down and Lisey’s Story is no exception. Events that may give us a slight feeling of unease while reading, grow doubly large in the wee small hours and return to haunt us for many nights to come.
I stayed up late to read this and (as usually happens with Stephen King) found myself jumping at shadows. I definitely recommend this to fans of the horror/thriller genre.
Well, to begin with, the synopsis is not entirely accurate. The book is not about vampires but vampire bats, and as far as I can tell, the ‘entire American Southwest’ was not threatened, though it could have been if the story didn’t work out. Add to that the mediocre writing style, and what could have been an exciting novel comes up a fizzer. I found Night Wing to be predictable and not overly thrilling. I doubt I’ll be seeking out any more of Smith’s work.