Electricity & Lust

Electricity and Lust Book Club

Posted in books, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 28, 2008

Last year, when running the Plattenspieler blog, I ran a book club between myself, Betty and Tommy with the basic outlined challenge of reading at least 52 books over the entire year. The categorisation of what constituted a book was very open indeed and therefore allowed for some leeway to be taken by all of us as regarded the length of books read. Otherwise, in all honesty with our busy ol’ lives and hectic schedules of working and socialising, we just couldn’t fit it all in. Unfortunately, we still didn’t quite manage it but both Tom and I got through over 40 which is still not bad for us.

This year, no such rules are being imposed on the competition. We are keeping it all nice and easy and, unfortunately also, I’m likely to be the only on participating. So this year its a case of reading anything and everything I can and everytime a tome is finished, I will deliver some reportage on my opinions on the work and maybe even call upon by previous reading knowledge to recommend some other works for those who enjoy. It’s all very up in the air right now but today I’m just going to give a quick run down of the books I’ve got through this year so far, what I’m reading right now and a couple which will be next up on the radar. I also warn you that I read a number of books at a time normally so which one gets reviewed next will depend entirely on my reading moods.

A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory
A part of the Richard & Judy bookclub for the year, this one is not too bad in the beginning but tales off towards the end as the chronology speeds up. The ‘twist’ too is far to easy to guess and as it plays such a major part of the narrative framing device, it loses some power. The early scenes though are written with graceful, if slightly busy streams of prose and the characters all feel strong if not always entirely likable.

The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
A truly astounding achievement of exploratory narrative journalism, this work on the seeds of Al Qaeda’s rise and the principals character involved in the 9/11 attacks is stunning. It won a Pulitzer and no wonder. It’s evocation of time and place, it explanations and characterisation are just wonderful and the book is written almost in the form of a thriller. It’s depressing sure, but it really is an essential modern work.

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
Gruelling crime drama that further renders its recent film adaptation into ignominy. Ellroy’s attention to detail gives the story a realistic and grisly tone and the story itself is an intruiging exploration of criminal minds, the capitalist greed of LA and also a smaller depiction of how obsession and desire to win can harm the lives of good police.

Currently reading: Then We Came To An End by Joshua Ferris

Coming Up: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon, Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandreskan, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.


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