Ah, so delayed. But better late than never.
1. The Hunter – Andrew Reid (agent sibling–this was fun and clever. Thriller with a badass female MMA lead who kicks a lot of people in the face!)
In the ring, Cameron King is known as The Hunter. A celebrated champion. A warrior.
But when her brother, science genius Nate, deliberately crashes the car they’re in and vanishes without trace. Cameron is left with a career in ruins, a reconstructed body and one burning question: why?
18 months later, working to find bail-jumping fugitives, Cameron discovers a dead body – apparently killed with her gun. As a detective comes through the door, she receives a panicked call from her missing brother: ‘They’re coming, Cam. Get out.’
Sucked into a lethal and sinister conspiracy hidden in the darkest shadows of power, Cameron is forced to fight her toughest, bloodiest battle yet – not only to survive, but to uncover the terrifying truth.
2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han (as cute as the film)
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.
3. Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to Reality in Western Literature – Kathryn Hume (definitely recommended if you have an academic interest in fantasy)
Since Plato and Aristotle’s declaration of the essence of literature as imitation, western narrative has been traditionally discussed in mimetic terms. Thus marginalized, fantasy – the deliberate departure from reality – has become the hidden face of fiction, identified by most critics as a minor genre. This book rejects generic definitions of fantasy, arguing that it is not a separate or even seperable strain in literary practice, but rather an impulse as significant as that of mimesis. Together, fantasy and mimesis are the twin impulses behind literary creation.
In an analysis which ranges from the Icelandic sagas to science fiction, from Malory to pulp romance, from the Odyssey to the nouveau roman, Kathryn Hume systematically examines the various ways in which fantasy and mimesis contribute to literary representations of reality: offering forms of escape in adventure stories, pastoral, face and pornography; complementing each other in expressive presentations of “new” realities; pressuring readers to accept a didactic author’s interpretation of reality; or battering the reader into agreeing that his or her interpretation is unprovable and that reality may indeed be unknowable.
4. Thirteen – Steve Cavanaugh (legal thrillers aren’t my usual thing, but I loved the concept and it was well-executed)
The serial killer isn’t on trial. He’s on the jury.
Hollywood actor Robert Soloman stands accused of the brutal stabbings of his wife and her lover, but he is desperately pleading that he had nothing to do with it. This is the trial of the century, and the defence want Eddie Flynn on their team.
The biggest case Eddie has ever tried before, he decides to take it on despite the overwhelming evidence that Robert is guilty. As the trial starts, Eddie becomes sure of Robert’s innocence, but there’s something else he is even more sure of – that there is something sinister going on in the jury box.
Because of this, he is forced to ask: what if the killer isn’t on the stand? What if he’s on the jury?
5. A Skinful of Shadows – Frances Hardinge (seeing her at the Book Festival reminded me I needed to read this!)
This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .
Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard.
And now there’s a spirit inside her.
The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father’s rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret.
But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.”
6. Transmission and the Individual Remix – Tom McCarthy (required reading for our students’ innovation module)
Sub-titled “How Literature Works” this essay by the renown novelist is a provocative and entertaining work of postmodern theory that re-evaluates literature and literary meaning from Aeschylus to Kraftwerk.
Tom McCarthy is one of the most vital young voices in contemporary literature, and in this essay he identifies the signals that have been repeating, pulsing, modulating in the airspace of the novel, poem, play—in their lines, between them and around them–since each of these forms began. Tom takes us back to the Greeks and the origins of literary meaning to show that information, rather than being a natural or abstract phenomenon, is always based in artificial media–in ones and zeros, dots and dashes, signals and noise. He takes us through Ovid, Rilke, Conrad, Joyce, Beckett, and others to re-imagine the very idea of what a writer does, and what the act of writing is. Rather than praising individual creative genius, Tom re-tunes our ears to the crackle of information as it has passed through the feedback loop of literary culture.
Also halfway through a few others!
Total this year: 51 books
Loose reading goals:
- Read more romance: TATBILB – Jenny Han
- Re-read some old favourites: Not exactly sure I’d call Remix a favourite, but I’ve read it before.
- Read more classics: None
- Continue to read diverse books/books by marginalised authors: TATBILB, the lead of The Hunter has a bunch of metal in her arm after her car accident.
- Read nonfiction: Fantasy and Memesis, Remix
- Read women: TATBILB, Fantasy and Mimesis, A Skinful of Shadows