I actually read 14 books in October but ain't no way I'll write reviews for all 14 books - I'm not that hardworking lol. But here are thoughts on some of the books I read:
The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child: Jeremy Logan, enigmalogist, braniac and sleuth of the unexpected is summoned to a mysterious mansion where he is tasked to solve the strange death of a scientist there. A think tank is using this mansion, but it would seem that they have stumbled on something - a pandora's box that could destroy humankind: A forgotten room that holds many strange secrets.
I think the reason why I love Child's books so much is because it reminds me of The X-Files. Jeremy Logan is sort of like Fox Mulder, but with a more academic bent (the term is enigmalogist). Though, I have to admit, Logan's "empath" abilities always throw me off. It seems out of place, far too convenient and ability to have; it sometimes feels like a deus ex machina to me. Every time it appears in a Jeremy Logan novel, I think to myself: "Spooky Mulder, much?"
Still, Child is a good thriller writer; he knows how to ratchet up the tension. Also, he does surprise me with the plot. Initially I thought the plot would go one way, but ended up in a totally unexpected area.
That's an ability I appreciate in any writer.
Stay by Victor Gischler: The cover of this book doesn't do it service, I have to say. Although predictable, this is a heart-pounding thriller with a dash of family fun (two things that don't usually go together but there we go). The premise is a great idea for a TV show, which is why I wasn't surprised that the rights has been sold to CBS.
When the Emperor was divine by Julie Otsuka: I've heard about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and wondered how it was like for these poor people. Well, I know now. The beginning of the book was pretty haunting. It's a typical day for a woman. The reader is not given anything about her background, but you know something is off. She's getting ready for a trip. But what trip? She's busy preparing food for her family. And then, without warning, the peace is brutally shattered.
The novel's economy of words is admirable. There's no long winded conversations, unnecessary scenes .. everything is just right. Times like these I wonder why don't more authors write like this - short, compact yet "full" books that tell so much. That's a skill I truly admire in Otsuka. Beautiful.
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is along the same vein, but this time the focus is on the Japanese women who came over to America presumably in the late 19th century or early 20th century. At times Otsuka's style can get a bit tedious, but it was because I read this really, really fast, I think.
Tiger Babies Strike Back by Kim Wong Keltner: As a fellow Tiger Baby, this book made me go, "Oh yeah" so many times that I had to write a long review. Coming out next Tuesday - watch out for it!
A Small Furry Prayer by Steven Kotler: When you decide to "just have a look" but end up reading it non-stop because it was written so well. An amazingly good book about a man's search for meaning, and how he found it in the rigours and heartbreak of setting up an animal rescue.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami: Read him, they said. He's a stupendously good writer, they said. So far, I don't get the common consensus about Murakami's genius. I still feel he's crazy overhyped.
The More of Less by Joshua Becker: Good minimalism lifestyle refresher. For a practitioner like me, he isn't saying anything new though I enjoyed it.