Monday, 30 June 2014

Bookspotting Day 8 & 9

It's been a busy couple of days and didn't write anything down, so am going to have to do from memory. Also, I'm writing this early the following week as it has been a busy weekend too. I'll do my best...

The first book I spotted was 'To Hull & Back: On Holiday in Unsung Britain' by Tom Chessmyre, which was being read by a trainee accountant colleague of mine. There has been something of a trend in the last decade or so for writing "warts and all" travel books going to the more unfashionable places off the tourist track and this is one of these. Unusually for this sub-sub genre, the author apparently isn't intentionally trying to be funny, its more of a straight up travel book. A straight up travelogue about reputedly dull places, but it gets fairly good reviews on Amazon.

Next book spotted was 'Deadline'. Only problem was I only caught a glimpse of the cover, and not the title. In turns out that there are quite a few books called Deadline, it is particularly popular in the crime genre - there are books by Craig McLay, Simon Kernick, Sandra Brown, John Townsend... All I saw was that it had a green cover with blood splatter and heartbeat monitor. After scrutinising the titles, I found it was 'Deadline' by Mira Grant. This is Book 2 of the Newsflesh Trilogy (the first book is 'Feed'). It's about zombies... in 2014, two viruses, designed to combat the common cold and cancer, combine to form a new virus that... raises the dead. Book One starts out with two bloggers covering an American election, this book is more political and more nuanced than most zombie novels you'll read.

'Swimsuit' by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. Set in 1906 about the ancestors of Patterson's character Alex Cross, this story is about a swimsuit model who disappaers, and then her parents get the phone call the next day. Seems very run of the mill story, but this gets good reviews.

Arabian Nights. Arabian Nights is a collection of South & West Asian folk tales collected together over the course of centuries. The stories vary depending on the version of the collection you are reading, with some of the more famous stories to Westerners - Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor etc - were actually only added in by English translators although they were undoubtedly Asian folk tales. The overall story which 'frames' many of the others is that of a Persian ruler, Sharyar and his wife Schehezerade. I didn't know anything at all about Arabian Nights before spotting this, other than a vague memory of reading some of the stories in a children's book of tales. But it sounds interesting and as it is free on Kindle, I might just have a read.

'The Black Box' by Michael Connelly was next. It is book 18 in the Harry Bosch crime series, about a Los Angeles police detective. I've read a few Harry Bosch books and they are almost universally good. If you've not read any more you might want to go back to one of his earlier books like 'The Black Echo' which is the first book he features in. But generally, the stories are standalone so you could start with any one of them.

'My Autobiography' by Alex Ferguson marked the first sports related book I've spotted. For those of you who don't know him, he was Manchester United manager from 1986 to 2013, a record in top flight English football. He won the English Premier League with Manchester United 14 years in his tenure, along with lots of other trophies and is considered one of the most successful British football managers ever. There's a lot about his football manager days (particularly the last 10 years or so) and various opinions on football.

On Friday afternoon, I spotted a book with 'Death' in the title by Charlaine Harris but alas didn't note down the name. I looked up on Amazon and most of her books have death in the title, so I can't identify the exact book. It was probably one of her books about 'Sookie Stackhouse' novels, which is a supernatural series about vampires. It formed the basis of the TV series True Blood. If you want to check it out the first book (there are 13 in total) is 'Dead until Dark', first published in 2001.

To finish off for the weekend, there was an older lady reading 'Head over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy' by Chris Harrison. Until I looked this up later, I thought it was a romance novel, it had that look (and the lady reader was in my eyes a stereotypical older woman who reads romance novels) but it turns out it is a travel book about Italy. The author fell in love with an Italian girl, whom he followed back to Italy and then fell in love with the place too.