Month in Books: April 2014

Here’s my wrap-up for April!

The Giver – Lois Lowry – 3 stars This Dystopian (soon to be made into a film!) is short, but no less powerful. The writer explores the power of memories, and the importance of the individual’s choice. It’s a fascinating read!

The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells – 2 stars While this took me a very long time to get through, I can appreciate that this sci-fi story of alien invasion is pretty hard-core.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion – 5 stars This is such a cute book! Our protagonist, despite finding social situations a little difficult, decides that he wants to be married, and draws up a survey in order to find a compatible match. Humourous and touching, this little ‘rom-com’ is a great read.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams – 4 stars I reviewed this here! A funny and quirky sci-fi story.

Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult – 4 stars This novel depicts the unfolding of an investigation of a school shooting. It’s moving and gritty, and don’t be put off by how long it looks! You’ll fly through it.

The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker – 3 stars A bildungsroman set during the apocalypse…that I wouldn’t recommend to lovers of apocalyptic literature. Its gentle pace and carefully drawn up characters made it a lovely read – just not what I was expecting!

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn – 5 stars This was my Book of the Month! This thriller is also being made into a film. Follow the story of Nick and Amy, and try to unravel the truth of the murder/framing/escape/suicide. ‘Try’ being the operative word.

A Room with a View – E. M. Forster – 5 stars This is such a lovely book! Follow a very quaint English group as they explore Florence, and have their lives changed completely by the people they meet there.

If you’ve read, or have been inspired to read any of the books in this list, do let me know!

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

~Dani

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Review: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams – 4 stars

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

I love Douglas Adams. His novels are quirky without being contrived, easy to read without forfeiting richness of writing, and consistently hilarious.

This is my second Douglas Adams book – the first being ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ – but
I think until now I had concentrated on the witty quirk rather than the genuine quality of Adams’ writing. Some of the descriptions in this book blew me away – I’d had him pinned as ‘Just Another Sci-Fi Writer’; now his subtle genius has made him a firm favourite for me.

The structure of the story weaved here grounds everything, and allows space for whole realms of wacky without the reader getting completely lost. As threads are tied we begin to see the writer has not only a child-like imagination but a profound intelligence, something I admit I hadn’t credited him with before.

I loved the characters too: despite a distinct lack of female presence (this book fails miserably at the Bechdel Test), every character felt well-formed and believable. Even better, I think the author knew his characters well too; while they were all a little quirky, and perhaps embodied some of Adams’ own characteristics, they were a joy to read about and made the story special.

In spite of all this, the book did drop a star, and for me this was because of the philosophical undertones. Now, don’t get me wrong: I believe books should make you think, and I’m all for a dose of Deeper Meaning. What I don’t appreciate is an author that, instead of presenting his own views, ridicules others’. There were parts of the book that I felt the author’s opinions bleeding through in such a bitter way that it leeched some of the enjoyment out of the book for me.

Nevertheless, four stars is still a great rating, and I did genuinely enjoy this book.

 

If you’ve read this too, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you for reading, and had a lovely day!

~Dani