2017 reading journey

Winter Reading Challenge (Part 1)

Who would have thought that our year would be flying past so quickly? Here are the first four books which I read through this Winter!

the slapThe Slap – Christos Tsiolkas (2008)

Can a grown man slap another person’s small child? Across the face? At a BBQ? What if that child is threatening another child with a cricket bat, what about now? What if the child is no longer holding the back, because the adult man has lifted him off the ground already – taking him out of harm’s way. Can he slap him now? What do you think? Christos’ The Slap will challenge you, it will challenge you in making your decision – it’s a shocking event, with consequences ricocheting off a group of people’s lives – directly or indirectly influenced by the slap.

This is one of the first books I have read after having seen the mini-series, I have not seen the American version, only the Australian version and I haven’t been able to look at Anthony Lapaglia the same way since! Melissa George’s character, Rosie, is to me, one of the most draining self-entitled and arrogant female characters out there. Yet my girlfriend really empathised with her and her side of the story. Again, I think not having children directly impacts my outlook on the story – also, we were smacked as kids. Naughty kids who are threatening or hurting other children were smacked in my household and I am thankful for it, to be honest. Does that mean I am in support of a grown man slapping another man’s child at a part? No. But be warned, it is never that simple – with 485 pages and the point of view from six different people, The Slap will challenge your expectations. It is provocative and it encompasses the nature of happiness, of our expectations, of compromise and of truth.

the girl with the dragon tattooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson (2008)

Oh my goodness, why did I take so long to read this book? I loved it! In fact, when I borrowed it off my mother to read it – I chose it as my book challenge’s ‘a book everyone has read’. When I did start reading it however, an old airplane ticket dropped out with my name on it from seven years ago! So it looks like I had planned on reading it in 2010 and just never got around to it. What a shame!

The book is fantastic, something a little different – it’s challenging, although brutal in places. I really enjoyed it. I love a book with a good catch and I am mildly obsessed with anything Scandinavian at the moment so I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. My heart ached for her in several parts of the book though. I have the second two books in the Millennium series, though I have not started them yet, if you like mystery/crime and like me, you have not read this one then I recommend it. Just be warned it is heavy and has some pretty intense assault scenes in it, but for the most of it, it is a fast paced and enjoyable read.

echoes in deathEchoes in Death – J.D. Robb (2017)

I borrowed this book off of a friend at work, I was on a mystery/suspense kind of roll. I was probably reading too many graphically violent (sexual violence) books without realising what I was picking up. To be honest, I am kind of sick of it. I understand the reality of sexual assault but I don’t understand why every movie and nearly every book needs to have a sexual assault scene in it. I am not trying to hide the fact that it does occur under a rug – but I think I need to just be mindful of what I am reading, as I was really absorbing the negative feelings and given my delicate mental state at the time, I don’t think the books I was reading was helping much.

Echoes was well written and followed Lt Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband – Eve Dallas has fought crime in many other books, which I was not aware of, I had actually never heard of J.D.Robb before, but I have since found out that the Death Series are bestselling books. I also found out only half way through the book that they are set in the future (should it have taken me this long to work that out?!). Definitely suspenseful, but yes, quite graphically violent but also a few good twists and turns and Lt Dallas is a bad arse, I am a convert for sure.

the space between usThe Space between Us – Zoya Pirzad (2014)

This book is gorgeous, I am so glad I picked it up at the library. It was the simply blue cover which drew me in, I also had it saved on my Goodreads ‘to read’ list, although I can’t recall where I found the recommendation to read it. In a small town on the edge of the Caspian Sea, two young children are growing up together, though their friendship is strained as Edmond is Armenian and Tahereh is the Muslim daughter of the school’s janitor. The book then follows the life of Edmund and the trials and loss he has over the years. This book was so moving and I found myself shedding a few tears when he speaks about his Mother and his childhood. It certainly opened my eyes to the uncertainties and emotional conflict which many Iranians experience in living their everyday lives, and I guess a reflection of any country at this time in our world. Too much conflict and far too many unnecessary cultural divisions. It is described by Goodreads as poignant, wistful story about belonging and otherness, pride and prejudice, and the pressures and family expectations that inform our decisions’; and I could not agree more. If you have a chance, please do read this book – it is absolutely beautiful.

To be continued…

Lucy

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