May reads 2016

It’s already June! I didn’t do a lot of reading in May, and it was a bit of a mixed bag enjoyment-wise. In the order I read them:

a brief history of seven killingsA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (novel)

This is one of those rare longer books that I don’t think could be any shorter. It’s not an easy read, but it’s worth your time. Brutal and violent and messy and genius. Full review here (though the competition has now closed).

Einstein's dreamsEinstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman (short stories)

This is an inter-linked short story collection that reminded me a bit of Sum by David Eagleman. I didn’t like Sum. Though I thought this was better written and more interesting, it hasn’t really stuck with me a few weeks later. If you liked Sum, check this out, but if you didn’t, give it a miss.

All SoulsAll Souls by Javier Marias (novel, Spanish in translation)

Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. I’m a sucker for a campus novel, particularly those from the perspective of slightly disgruntled professors. There’s not a lot of plot to All Souls, but I really enjoyed much of the writing in this. It’s often very controlled and Marias has an excellent way of writing small set-pieces centred around minor characters. I particularly liked the section on the ageing porter who places himself in a different year/decade every morning. But despite this, I often also felt unsatisfied. I’m not sure whether it’s Marias’ style or Costa’s translation, but sometimes the writing would lose its control and a paragraph would go on a couple of sentences too long and labour the point/observation for no apparent reason.

a long way to a small angry planetThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (novel)

This isn’t as good as all the hype would suggest, and the writing style was too exposition-y and the pacing was a bit off. But, I really enjoyed it. It was absolutely what I needed when I was feeling under the weather and I’m definitely going to pick up the sequel. Full review here.

Currently reading: Ex-Machina by Brian K Vaughan & Tony Harris (comic – fiction)

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