Reading List

reading list, cloud atlas, the lies of locke lamora, margaret atwood, stone mattress,, the book of strange new things, Station Eleven

You’d think that the world would be tired of post-apocalyptic premises after so many zombie movies, but two new talked-about books published in late 2014 have offered a fresh new spin on the genre. Michael Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things turns out to be less about the alien world most of the book is set in and more about a born-again Christian and preacher struggling with his faith and the gradual breaking down of his marriage. The book drew me in with its slow hypnotic pace, though at times the characters made me want to throw a brick at them rather than empathise with them. Meantime, two months on after reading Emily St John Mandel’s utterly poignant and beautiful Station Eleven, the book still touches a chord deep within me with its tale of various characters, each one searching for something – something – amid the loneliness and heartache of their lives (for a more in-depth review of the book, head to this space).

The Lies of Locke Lamora and Cloud Atlas are two older books which have been on my To Be Read list for some time. Locke Lamora is a name that just rolls off the tongue and the buzz this book has been creating ever since it hit bookshelves has intrigued me up to the point where I’ve finally bitten the bullet and bought the Kindle version. It’s a tale of thieves (both gallant and merciless), magic and alchemy, lots of lies (the book definitely lives up to its name) and a beautiful Venice-esque setting. Plus, there are any number of strong female characters who hold their own in this book, something I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of in the fantasy genre. The book doesn’t quite have me reaching for my credit card to buy up the rest of the series in a heartbeat the way Jacqueline Carey’s medieval fantasy Kushiel series did (that woman is a veritable sorceress with words) but I might be shelling out some cash soon for the rest of the Gentleman Bastard series, if only so I may dive further into Scott Lynche’s eerily beautiful and complex world outside the City of Camorr and also to find out just what the mysterious female con artist Sabetha is truly like.

As for Cloud Atlas, I’ve not seen the movie yet, though the trailer was what first led me to this book. I had a feeling I’d understand the movie, with its six interconnecting story lines, better if I read the book first and if anything, I’m more eager than ever to watch the film. David Mitchell is a genius in the way he’s able to apply a wholly unique and genuinely believable voice to each of his six story lines – from the 18th century puritanical tone of The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing to the careless, incorrigible letters of the charming but dishonest musician Robert Frobisher to the slangy, ungrammatical voice of the suspicious Sloosha in Sloosha’s Crossin’, Mitchell delivers up a composition as superb as his character Frobisher’s Sextet, without one false or jarring note to mar the piece as a whole.

Finally, to be read: Margaret Atwood‘s latest, a compilation of nine short stories in Stone MattressI’ve always enjoyed Atwood’s full-length novels, especially the MaddAddam trilogy, and can’t wait to dive into this new book of hers, which promises to be filled with her usual acerbic wit and startling observations about humanity, the future and the world that we live in.


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