Zoo City - Lauren Beukes

Well, for a novel that has been awarded the 2011 Arthur C Clark Award and was shortlisted for the 2011 World Fantasy Award, I was sadly disappointed.

The premise for this novel is very unique and I was excited to get my hands on a copy. The novel follows protagonist, Zinzi December, ex-journalist, recovering drug addict, murderer and animalled criminal.  Permanently accompanied by Sloth, Zinzi uses the 'talent' bestowed on her as one of the animalled to find lost things in order to pay off a drug debt owed from what she calls her "Former Life."  After being accused of the murder of one of her clients, Zinzi accepts a job and begins a week long investigation into finding a lost pop starlet, only to get in way over her head.

This novel had real potential.  I can understand some of the praise being heaped on Zoo City, but for me it was only a good idea and a well executed novel, but not a great story.  I kept feeling that I was just skimming the surface but that I was never able to penetrate into the heart of the novel.  It didn't stike a cord.  It didn't leave me thinking.  I was left at the end wanting more.  Maybe I will venture a try at her first novel, Moxyland.   Here's hoping it's more enjoyable.

New Irving in May!

Wheeeeeeee!  John Irving's 13th novel, In One Person, is expected May 2012.  Does that seem really far away to anyone else?  This news made my day. Library Journal's prepub review describes this new novel as a throwback to Irving's Garp days, with many odd and wonderful characters to meet along the way.  Very much looking forward to this book!


Back in the stacks

I'm finally back after a whirlwind year.  Having a baby and maternity leave left me with little time to devote to writing. I've missed posting to my blog and hope to get right back into the swing of things, starting right now!

One of the best things about the second half of a lovely year off with my son was afternoon naps. His naps, not mine. Afternoon naps meant and hour or two totally devoted to reading. I devoured many books in the last six months and thought that, this being my first post back in some time, I would highlight the best of the bunch.

The first novel I actually finished after my son arrived (general sleeplessness made for lots of failed reading attempts), was The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein.  I have to admit, I was totally skeptical about a book narrated by a dog.  I mean, how good could it be?  Well, I LOVED it!  I pretty much bawled my eyes out through the whole novel.  Stein made this style of narration work and was able to tell the story of this family in a truly moving way.  Definitely worth a read.

Once I realized I had time to read again, I went on a huge fantasy/sci fi kick.  Here are some titles of note:

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  The second book in the trilogy continues Kvothe's adventures and was a book I couldn't put down.

Speaking of books I couldn't put down.  I recommend hurrying up and reading the Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, before the movies come out.  Excellent, quick read, with a very dystopian slant.

A Dance With Dragons, of course, I had on  hold at the library before the book even came out.  There's something about being the first to use the new library copy.  Although, not my favourite of the series, I still spent every free second reading.  I was glad to reconnect with my favourite characters absent from the previous novel.  Can't wait for the next volume and hopefully we don't have to wait so long this time. As an aside, I also love the show.  They are doing an excellent job and I'm totally looking forward to the next season.

So this is turning into a long post.  I'll cut it off here.  It's very nice to write about books again and I'll be back soon with a review of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84.  About a third of the way through, and it is, for sure, one of the best books I've read in a long time.