Love of the library: the sequel

A few facts for you. Last year (2016), for the first time in years, I beat my reading target of 52 books. I read 68 books. I didn’t buy any new books in 2016 (although I did receive a few as presents). I did rediscover the library. 30 of the 68 books were library books, so in fact I rediscovered the library in a big way! This, of course, hasn’t helped with the huge backlog of unread books in my house. It did help me go on an exciting new obsession with dystopian fiction though.

The oxford dictionary online defines dystopia as “An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. The opposite of utopia” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/dystopia).

A lot of the dystopias I read about last year were in teen fiction books or YA. First, I read The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which had a great premise. I gave it 7/10. As the summer turned to autumn, I then read the two sequels and one prequel The Scorch Trials (7/10), The Death Cure (7/10) and The Kill Order. Sad to say, like their situation in the world they live in, the books get worse as they go on. If you’re going to read them, do, but I would avoid The Kill Order, which is a prequel. It’s bordering on nonsensical and has very little in the way of plot (5/10). Light reading, all four, but enjoyable in the main. Before I read the sequels, a very bookish friend lent me the Divergent  series by Veronica Roth. She lent me them with the words “they are better than The Hunger Games“. High praise indeed. I responded to this comment with a determination that it wasn’t possible. I love all three of The Hunger Games books. So I began Divergent (8/10), and it wasn’t long before I felt like the writer was either paying homage to Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, or writing her own slightly changed version. Basically, if you like The Hunger Games, then you’ll probably like this trilogy too. Or so I thought. I enjoyed Insurgent too (7 1/2 /10). Allegiant (6/10), however, has a lot to answer for. I am not going to spoiler this book but let me just say I am still raging at it. No mean feat for a book I read back in August (it’s now March). If you read the trilogy, obviously you will have to read it to hear the end. If you do want spoilers, I rant about it on Goodreads here.

Staying on dystopia, but hitting the adult shelves of the library for a change, I read Wool by Hugh Howey. I would give it 7/10. I really like the setting, and I loved the build up, but unfortunately, for me this built and built and then bottomed out without a great climax. I haven’t read its sequels. In September and October, I read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (7/10) and The End of The World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker. The former is scary and unnerving, the latter is by far and away the best new book I read last year. The End of The World Running Club is so good that I have since recommended it to three other people, two of whom have said it’s probably the best book they’ve ever read and at least one of whom has passed it on to someone else. I would like to read the sequels to Annihilation, but haven’t been able to find them.

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I also read all of these other library books but I feel that this post is getting long and rambling, so I am going to wrap it up. My local library is amazing, and many of these books I got by placing requests for them online.

This year, my nearest library has enabled me to become obsessed with the Pretty Little Liars series of books by Sara Shepard. More on that later…

 

 

 

30 day book challenge: Day 12.

Day 12: Your favourite authors.

I like this one. It won’t tax my tired Sunday morning brain too much. If you’ve read much of this blog you’ll know a lot of what I’m going to say already. Stay tuned anyway: I have a favour to ask at the end of the post.

Agatha Christie
The ‘Queen of Crime’ wrote close to 100 mysteries and ‘whodunnits’, her work spanning five decades. Her plays still run in the West End. Read almost any one of her novels, and I challenge you not to be hooked! When I first read Murder on the Orient Express, back in February 2006, I would go on to read six more of Christie’s novels that month alone. This year, I hope to finish the last of the Poirot books – I have two left to read.

Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen
Two similar crime writers, who know their stuff. They write gore, psychopaths and mysteries so well, and both ladies have come up with great detectives and medical examiners among their characters. My favourite Slaughter is probably Skin Privelege, my favourite Gerritsen either The Surgeon or The Apprentice.

Ian Rankin
Read his Rebus series. I started it in 2005, with Knots and Crosses, reading the books in order until 2010. I hear there is a new one though, which I must seek out. Rankin writes crime like nothing else I have ever read.

Nick Hornby
I’ve yet to read Juliet Naked or any recent works. Hornby makes the list for High Fidelity, Fever Pitch and About a Boy. Great writer.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The creator of 221b Baker Street, Holmes, Watson and Moriarty. What a genius.

I also love the following authors (I hope I don’t leave anyone out): Jeff Lindsay, Patricia Cornwell, Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer, Harlan Coben, Lee Child, Louise Rennison and Allan Ahlberg.

Off the topic at hand, as part of my Readarama challenge, next week I’m letting my readers decide what I should read! Just for fun, if you would like to vote, go here to vote for what I read next week. I’ll probably start reading whatever wins tomorrow, so vote today if you want to influence things!

Lastly, if you enjoy reading about the book challenge, check out my fellow 30 day bloggers at Flower Faerie Lives Life, Books on the Tube and Me, Bookshelf and I.