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? 😉 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.
Stranglehold (Detective Greene #4)
By: Robert Rotenberg
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
It’s just after Labour Day and the city is kicking back into gear. All eyes are on the hotly contested election for Toronto’s next mayor and crime is the big issue. Greene is no stranger to the worst of what the city has to offer, but even he is unprepared for what happens next when he stumbles upon a horrific homicide.
In one nightmare moment his world is flipped upside down. Soon he is pitted against his young protégé, Daniel Kennicott, who arrests him for first-degree murder.
Tied down on house arrest as he awaits his trial, Greene has to find a way to not only clear his name but to face some very hard truths: that he didn’t really know the people he believed in most; that there are unseen forces at work prepared to see him take the fall; and most of all, that he should never underestimate the price people will pay for love.
Okay, ideally I would’ve read Stray Bullets, the third book in the Detective Greene series, but as I don’t have a copy of it on hand and I had picked up this book first, well now, here we are 😛 I’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series (see author tag) so naturally I was looking forward to reading this one. This book in particular came out at a very interesting time as it was during the time the Rob Ford scandal emerged in the news.
So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂
Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” 😀 So for this month I decided to feature Guy Gavriel Kay and his books. He’s a Canadian historical fantasy author who has written a span of novels, some of which are popular and beloved within the genre. I had long heard of him and his works but I didn’t get around to reading any of his books until I was in grad school. Unfortunately I was busy then so I wasn’t able to review the books that I read then here on the blog. Nonetheless I enjoyed them enough to want to read his other books, which sat on my TBR pile for a number of years before I finally got around to reading them earlier this year 😛 His novels are pretty amazing in that he really researches into ancient and great societies of the past, and then weaving it into an alternative history story. Historians and avid history fans may find it hard at times not to compare too much into actual historical events, but he writes some interesting characters and character arcs that it becomes easy to put aside the history (at least for a little while 😉 ).
So without further ado if you’re interested in reading her books for the first time, here’s my recommendations on where to start:
- Tigana — This was the book that really showed to me how well Guy Gavriel Kay can not only construct this fully-realised world and society but also tell a story within a span of a single novel. I love how this book was about a lost people engulfed by another, larger empire, its people scattered and society and culture forgotten except to the minds of this people. It’s a story of survival and national identity all wrapped up in a storyline heading towards a common goal even as the major characters are all struggling with their own personal conflicts and interests. It’s a great starting point for new readers to his novels, but overall is also just an excellent fantasy standalone.
- The Lions of Al-Rassan (review) — While I personally did not love this book as Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan is still a strong book in that it really showcases Guy Gavriel Kay’s ability to balance personal storytelling with the larger political landscape that is shifting as desert sands with the historical research that lends Rassan’s familiarity to medieval/Moorish Spain. It really felt like a tangible place for me and I cared for the pincipal characters and the stories that were before them.
- A Song for Arbonne (review) — Wrapping up this list is the last book by him that I’ve read to date. Reminiscent of the troubadour culutre in Europe and the various kingdoms in Medieval Europe, like the other two above Guy Gavriel Kay does a wonderful job in not only creating the world of Arbonne but also the complex political and personal entanglements that these characters find themselves in. Themes of love and betrayal, the lengths you’d go for what you believe in or for a person, and cultural differences all weave in and out the stories of these characters, not to mention it was just a very absorbing read.
I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Guy Gavriel Kay for the first time! If you’ve read his books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂
milk and honey
By: Rupi Kaur
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
Towards the end of summer I hit a bit of a low, and part of the low was being in the mood for some poetry. I had already read all of the poetry books on my TBR pile and wasn’t entirely in the mood to re-read what was on my shelf; I wanted some contemporary poetry for a change. I had been seeing this book around a lot over the summer that I finally decided to check it out for myself. Very cool tidbit bonus: she’s based here in Toronto! But anywho…
Time and Regret
By: M.K. Tod
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the author as part of the Time and Regret France Book Tours
When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…
Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.
Exciting, a new novel from M.K. Tod! I read her first two books (see author tag) as part of book blog tours in the past so naturally I jumped at the chance to read her latest novel and take part in this wonderful blog tour today. The premise of this novel is a bit different from her previous two, which particularly piqued my interest. This book was released on 16 August 2016. Included in this post are an excerpt from the book and details on how to enter for a chance to win a copy of this book!
Thank you to France Book Tours for letting me take part in the book tour for this novel.