Saturday, December 13, 2014

books from bus time

hi there

ok so i have not been quite killed by this uber-ebola strength variant of manflu. not, at the least, look you see, yet. i fully anticipate it to, and indeed you are welcome to run around telling all who might have the most passing of interest that i told you so, for i will be unable to do so.

onwards, then, to three more books that i have read whilst on, or if pedantic ways are your persuasion yes in, the bus. these were to be the last three of this calendar, if not quite academic, year, but it turns out that they shall not be.

what or which three? well, the first was i think hinted at in several ways by the last set of reviews i did, but here we go.

short, spoiler-free review of them? all the novels you see above were really rather good - yes, the one in the middle too. surprisingly so, perhaps, but if you wish to learn more then do read on.

links, as ever, are for ease of reference alone and are not in any way an endorsement or shared with you for any sort of commercial purpose. just trying to make it easy for you if you wish to buy them without leaving your computer, phone, or whatever device you are reading this on. and thanks for reading.

i picked up The Spy Who Came For Christmas earlier in the year - July sounds familiar, but it could have been August or June -  and had an inkling that it might be reserved for reading until a season popped along that felt suitable for the title. well, it is close to Christmas, so there we have it.

plot? a very deep under cover agent type of spy dude faces a moral dilemma, breaks cover, crash lands into a family house whilst being chased by those that caused him to have the moral dilemma thing. he, for the most part, discusses who the three wise men, or kings or whatever, out of that story people tell at this time of year might have actually been.

it's very good. also, it is very short. it is one of them "novella" things as they were once called, but i am not sure the phrase is terribly popular or widely used anymore. but hey, if you judge a novel by its length you are heading for trouble. if you applied the same criteria to music, and i think i have done this here before, the one and only album Jedward were allowed to release was almost twice as long as the majority of Beatles albums. does that mean that Jedward are twice as good as the Beatles - even allowing for the Ringo factor?

i was, by this novel, mostly reminded of how good David Morrell is. i read the original novel of First Blood some 30 years ago and can still quite easily recall some of the rich descriptions and passages in it. i believe i should have a gander at his other works, too, and read some.

onwards, then, to Spa Wars, which might not seem like a natural choice of novel for me. that is because it isn't, but a friend thought i might quite like it. they turned out to be correct.

plot? goodness me, i am not sure i can do this. some sort of apparently blonde lady allegedly devoid of intelligence and  famous only for being in one of them reality show things off the television stumbles into a beauty spa when she has an emergency situation with one of her nails - something to do with acrylics and a chip, forgive me for not knowing the specifics. a friendship forms, or does it?

i was kind of expecting this to be easily dismissed trash, and i anticipated not reading anything of it beyond the first couple of chapters. it turned out, however, to be jolly good fun, entertaining and - above all - exceptionally well written. if you slapped the name, for example, Ben Elton on this, or some sort of Amis, it would be hailed as a "great post-modernist challenge to 21st Century culture". instead, however, it has the name of a lady called Chris shoved on it and this it gets a nice, sparkly, glitter loaded cover featuring a fancy model with one of them hairdryer things.

good fun, Spa Wars was, and i would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. in a worst case, the elitist and the aloof could read it, thoroughly enjoy it and then be dismissive of it so they could look all big and clever and impress people.

and finally, then, something called The Watchman, which i believe is volume X in a series of Y novels, which i loathe the concept of, but all the same i managed to read it and not have too many references to other novels fly over my head.

plot? some ex-copper gets in to bodyguard a witness to a car crash. the witness is busy being tried to be made dead by possibly known but also perhaps unknown people who are not at all happy that she witnessed the car crash. guns, bullets, chasing, hiding, evading authorities, intrigue, twists, etc, follow.

i have, over the last ten or so novels, got quite tired of certain formula-esque, by the numbers premises and turns in novels. so if i say from that perspective the premise of this novel, and the way that it all goes, was really very good indeed maybe that means something. or maybe not. all i know for certain is that this was a really enjoyable read - sure, some elements of "super bodyguard" were quite "out there" in terms of being fine to digest, but it makes no claim of being "authentic and like, something that could totally really happen". as with the other two novels, i would not have any issue or quarrel at all with reading further works by this writer.

so there you go, three novels which - despite any ideas i had beforehand - kept me thoroughly entertained on the bus. read any or all of them without fear or hesitation, then.

back of the books? sure, why not. 

we have, dear reader, very few working days of the year left. for that reason, i was going to leave books alone for the remainder of it, and just listen to the pod of i or something.

however, some business took me past HMV for the third time this week, and HMV waved the following at me for a price that said "it does not matter that you have 2 or 3 copies of it, look at it, it has a different cover from all your other copies and go on, read it again".

it is not really Christmas reading as such. it's also not really all that pleasant reading. it is, however, quite brilliant; it being from a time when the author still gave a damn about what his name appeared on.

i shall read it, then, on the remaining journeys ahead of me for the year. will i post a review? i am pretty sure at a push i could do that for you now, really, so perhaps not. in short, it is far from being for everyone's tastes.

whatever you are reading, happy reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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