Over the past five months (or since this year), I’ve managed to read a few books in my spare time. This is significant since I’ve neglected reading novels for the last few years. Last year was an exception, as I finished four books, namely Rogue Lawyer (Grisham), The Games (Patterson), The Blade Artist (Irvine Welsh), and Barracuda (Christos Tsiolkas). I did most of that reading in the latter half of the year. This time I am more consistent, having done six books up until now. The following is a rundown of my finished texts:
The Whistler. Fairly easy to read, fast paced, but has some American slang/colloquialisms. I have to admit to consulting an online dictionary quite regularly because of the differences. Has some quality characters, and of course, a female protagonist. In a way not your typical Grisham novel, while cleaving closely to his niche of legal fiction.
The first phone call from heaven (Mitch Albom). It’s a quasi religious slash detective thriller. Imagine receiving phone calls from diseased relatives some day. It could be your sister, your spouse, or your mother at the other end of the line. Could it be real? ‘Impossible but true!’ To hear that soothing voice from the afterlife makes you so sure that heaven is the real deal.
The four legendary Kingdoms (Matthew Reilly). Let me get one thing straight: I am a fan of Reilly, not only because of his writing, but how he got there. By now, most Aussies are familiar with his being rejected by many publishers before finding the faith to roll the dice in self publishing. The rest, as they say, is history. I read his debut novel, Contest, a lifetime ago, and since then I have appreciated an artist at work. This book is another testament to that artistry, showcasing his wild imagination and adept storytelling.
The time keeper (Albom). Takes us back to Father Time and how he sets to right past wrongs. Two individuals, one with too much time, the other with too little time, would themselves be the link that may free Father Time from his nightmare (or not). Another tear jerker that lets us question the true meaning of family, love, and faith. With just around 200 pages to contend with, it’s an easy read that packs a fair bit.
Grey Mountain (Grisham). The first Grisham novel to feature a female lead since The Pelican Brief in the 90s. This is more than a tacky romance. It’s about coal country, meth country, right in rural West Virginia. Think black lung, big mining companies and hapless mine workers. Can an insignificant legal aid clinic stop the torrent of injustice and blatant abuse?
A Long way home (Saroo Brierley). The last book I read, it’s a gripping biography that takes us from the slums of India to suburban Tasmania. The premise per se looks impressive: a five y.o. lost in Calcutta, thousands of miles from his family. Through incredible twists of fate, he survives the streets of the big city, and an Aussie couple adopts him. The background behind the award winning film Lion, it’s a funny, heartwarming tale that features little dialogue and thus more description. At times It’s a difficult read given the lack of dialogue, but I persevered and saw things through the end. While not as long as say Grisham or Reilly, I took longer to see the finish line. In the future, I’ll stick to engrossing fiction that is dialogue heavy, but a few non fiction books every now and then, make Topher avoid being a dull boy.
So there you have it, six books by four authors; five novels and one work of non fiction. My advice to readers: find a book that interests you and start with the first twenty pages or so. If it looks promising enough, soldier on and enjoy the material. I’m sure that you wouldn’t want it to end by the time you’re nearing the finish line.