What a difference a month makes! The sun is shining, the snow is gone, and people like me are no longer hibernating in a blanket fort. We are getting ever closer to being able to sit with the window open or in the backyard with a nice book. As always, there is a lot to read and more coming soon. So here is what we at Windsor Public Library have been reading. Maybe you’ll find your next read here?
Pratchett’s mind was one for the ages. With the recent unfortunate passing of the prolific thinker, satirist, and author, it was a great time to revisit Discworld. This month, I did so by checking out Mort.
Death has as tough job, so an apprentice seems like a natural idea. Even Death needs some time off, and so in this book he recruits young Mort who had been having trouble finding a job. Use of the company horse, room and board, and pretty good benefits turn this into a pretty good job for the young hero of our story. Of course, things get a little tougher when he meets a romantic interest on the job. Life is tough for Death, and things might be even tougher for his apprentice. This is one of my favourite Pratchett’s. It takes a light look at a serious topic. The author’s penchant for excellent story telling, sublime satire, and excellent world building shines through in this excellent tale. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys humour and satire, and I promise you’ll scythe through it in no time.
This book is a collection of short stories about all kinds of rogues, from authors like Gillian Flynn (best known for Gone Girl), Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind) and George RR Martin himself (Game of Thrones). The stories are from many different genres – while some have a magical setting, others are more based in reality. I tend to read mostly fantasy so I liked that this anthology gave me a chance to try different authors and genres I don’t normally read, like crime or historical fiction. I haven’t finished all the stories yet but I am enjoying the anthology. My favourite so far was a story about a former thief who is given an impossible task – make an entire street disappear within a year and a day (A Year and a Day in Old Theradane by Scott Lynch). Once I am done with this book, there are other anthologies edited by George RR Martin that I plan to try next, like Warriors and Dangerous Women.
The Flavia DeLuce series is a wonderful mystery series by Canadian Alan Bradley. The main character is a precocious 12-year-old girl whose fascination with poisons is just one manifestation of her remarkable talents. After reading the latest in the series, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, I started thinking about spies in the war, and how they received and transmitted their information. This led me to think of pilots and the different missions they performed. I picked up The Aviators by Winston Groom (ebook version), and was drawn into the early years of flight. The stories of three young and influential aviators are told in a compelling manner, and are supplemented with images of the men and their aircraft. It is a great book to read to learn more about how individuals contributed so significantly to World War 1 in dangerous but necessary ways.
It is 1897. A man, alone in his apartment in a squalid neighbourhood of Paris, writes furiously into a journal — a technique suggested by an acquaintance, Dr. Froide — hoping the actions of his hand will reveal what his mind cannot recall. Who is this man? Simone Simonini: a man who loves good food, but despises most people, and especially hates Jews. As a boy he absorbed old hatreds while sitting on his grandfather’s knee. As a man, Simonini has been a notary, a forger of official documents, an employee of the government, a spy, a murderer and a co-creator of fictitious conspiracies. But who is Abbe Dalla Piccola, who also writes in Simonini’s journal? Or this other unnamed narrator commenting on both? I read on hoping to learn whether a traumatic event or the accretion of deception lead to the fracturing of Simonini’s identity.
Eco’s epistulary novel is a challenging read, perhaps best appreciated by fans of political intrigues or those with familiarity of the revolutionary events of fin-de-siecle Europe.
This month I must confess to a guilty pleasure; I have been reading James Patterson. Of course, I know I am not alone given the overwhelming success of his many, many books. First I read Private: Vegas, the most recent installment of the Private series, written with Maxine Paetro. This volume features Jack Morgan, the owner of Private Investigations and while some of the story does take place in Las Vegas, most occurs in California. As is usual with this series, there are a number of story lines involving murder and intrigue plus we get treated to a bit more back story in some of the recurring characters. It was a good story and a quick read.
I am now reading Invisible, written with David Ellis, a stand-alone thriller. This story features an FBI research analyst who is convinced that a series of fires, all of which have a single victim and all of which are classified as accidental, are the work of a serial killer. How can she prove her theory when everyone thinks she is “crazy”? So far, a compelling read with interesting characters.
Each of these titles, like most of Patterson’s works, are available in both print and ebook format.
Thanks for reading!