Category: Books

Review: Worst. Person. Ever.

Posted 23 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Worst. Person. Ever.
By: Douglas Coupland
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Worst. Person. Ever. is a deeply unworthy book about a dreadful human being with absolutely no redeeming social value. Raymond Gunt, in the words of the author, “is a living, walking, talking, hot steaming pile of pure id.” He’s a B-unit cameraman who enters an amusing downward failure spiral that takes him from London to Los Angeles and then on to an obscure island in the Pacific where a major American TV network is shooting a Survivor-style reality show. Along the way, Gunt suffers multiple comas and unjust imprisonment, is forced to reenact the “Angry Dance” from the movie Billy Elliot and finds himself at the centre of a nuclear war. We also meet Raymond’s upwardly failing sidekick, Neal, as well as Raymond’s ex-wife, Fiona, herself “an atomic bomb of pain.”

Even though he really puts the “anti” in anti-hero, you may find Raymond Gunt an oddly likeable character.

One of the earliest Canadian authors I read growing up was Douglas Coupland. With a novel titled All Families Are Psychotic, how can one not pick up the book, you know? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyways, I read that and Eleanor Rigby when I was in high school/early university and loved them both, but I never got around to reading anything else by him for…a decade? So anyway, this book was on sale so I figured it was time to read another book by him.

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Review: Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892 – 1895

Posted 20 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Ward No. 6 and Other Stories, 1892 – 1895
By: Anton Chekhov
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

“Ward No. 6 and Other Stories 1892-1895” collects stories which show Anton Chekhov beginning to confront complex, ambiguous and often extreme emotions in his short fiction. This “Penguin Classics” edition is translated with notes by Ronald Wilks, and an introduction by J. Douglas Clayton. These stories from the middle period of Chekhov’s career include – influenced by his own experiences as a doctor – “Ward No. 6”, a savage indictment of the medical profession set in a mental hospital; “The Black Monk”, portraying an academic who has strange hallucinations, explores ideas of genius and insanity; “Murder”, in which religious fervour leads to violence; while in “The Student”, Chekhov’s favourite story, a young man recounts a tale from the gospels and undergoes a spiritual epiphany. In all the stories collected here, Chekhov’s characters face madness, alienation and frustration before they experience brief, ephemeral moments of insight, often earned at great cost, where they confront the reality of their existence.

Anton Chekov is one of my favourite Russian authors. He’s quite succinct when it comes to writing short stories, with their good lengths and rich with characterisation and wide-ranging themes. Admittedly I did pick up this book on a whim as I’ve read a number of his stories to date, but nonetheless this collection did contain titles of stories I haven’t yet read.

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Review: Strip Jack

Posted 17 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Strip Jack (John Rebus #4)
By: Ian Rankin
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

MP Gregor Jack is caught in an Edinburgh brothel with a prostitute only too keen to show off her considerable assets. When the media horde begins baying for political blood Jack’s friends rally round to protect him. But some of those friends – particularly his wife’s associates – are not so squeaky clean themselves.

Initially Detective Inspector Rebus is sympathetic to the MP’s dilemma – who hasn’t occasionally succumbed to temptation? – but with the disappearance of Jack’s wife the glamour surrounding the popular young man begins to tarnish. Someone wants to strip Jack naked and Rebus wants to know why …

Okay, I’m guessing the John Rebus novels are just slowly going on sale on Kobo or something because I saw this was on for a low price and picked it up almost immediately: the premise sounded really interesting as the case involves a prominent politician. I thought it would be interesting to see how Rebus would fare investigating such a case.

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Review: Tooth and Nail

Posted 16 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Tooth and Nail (John Rebus #3)
By: Ian Rankin
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Sent to London to help catch a vicious serial killer, Inspector John Rebus teams up with a beautiful psychologist to piece together a portrait of a depraved psychopath bent on painting the town redโ€”with blood…

Just my luck, apparently the third John Rebus novel was also on sale for eReaders a while ago. So naturally I picked it up ๐Ÿ™‚

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Review: Hide and Seek

Posted 15 March, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Hide and Seek (John Rebus #2)
By: Ian Rankin
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

A junkie lies dead in an Edinburgh squat, spreadeagled, cross-like on the floor, between two burned-down candles, a five-pointed star daubed on the wall above. indifference, treachery, deceit and sleaze that lurks behind the facade of the Edinburgh familiar to tourists. day, about a seductive danger he can almost taste, appealing to the darkest corners of his mind…

I immediately started reading this book after finishing Knots and Crosses (review); I wanted to read more of John Rebus’ cases, and it’s always nice to have a number of books in the same series reading and waiting to be read in your TBR pile ๐Ÿ™‚

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