Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2) by Stephen King

bookshelves: summer-2015, published-2015, series, mystery-thriller, books-about-books-and-book-shops, lit-crit

Read from June 30 to July 04, 2015

Description: A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

"Suicide is circular"
- from The Notebooks by Rothstein

Pete, and even more so, his sister Tina, are given thought processes beyond their tender years, annoyingly so. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this straight mystery to a sturdy three+ stars – there is something so chilling about dysfunctional and obsessive readers, yet Finders Keepers is not anywhere near the excellence of Misery.

3* A Death
3.5* Finders Keepers
3* Joyland
3* Mr Mercedes
4* The Shining
3* The Stand
4* It
5* Misery
3* Carrie
5* The Gunslinger
3* Pet Sematary
4* 11/22/63
3* ‘Salem’s Lot
3* The Green Mile
3* Needful Things
3* Cujo
4* Different Seasons
3* The Drawing of the Three
3* Firestarter
5* The Waste Lands
3* Wizard and Glass
4* Insomnia
2* Dreamcatcher
3* Desperation
4* Four Past Midnight
2* The Tommyknockers
4* Dr Sleep
2* The Mist
4* Hearts in Atlantis
3* Rose Madder
4* Full Dark, No Stars
3* From a Buick 8
3* Just After Sunset
3* Blaze
3* Storm of the Century screenplay
1* UR
3* Children of the Corn

The Wisdom of Forgiveness by Dalai Lama XIV, Victor Chan

bookshelves: summer-2015, nonfiction, nobel-laureate

Read from April 19 to July 04, 2015

Description: Imagine for a moment that you have a good friend who just happens to be in the Dalai Lama’s inner circle of friends. Now imagine that you have the opportunity to spend time with this friend, hearing about his travels and conversations with His Holiness, relishing every minute detail.

Chan’s presents a very personal account of his time spent with the Dalai Lama, unlike other books that tend to be more academic or intellectual. As a result, the reader is able to see the Dalai Lama in a different light. It’s like viewing Mount Fuji from an angle different from the picture postcard; still the same beautiful mountain but with new angles and lines.

Some of Chan’s descriptions border on the unbelievable. Did His Holiness really say that about the gun? And did he really say that about wanting to exact revenge on the Chinese soldier (if a certain situation arose)? And did His Holiness really say that to Oprah? These passages give “The Wisdom of Forgiveness” its uniqueness and color.

Maxwell’s Movie by M.J. Trow

bookshelves: summer-2015, published-1998, series, skoolzy-stuff, sussex, under-20, britain-england, cosy

Read from June 24 to July 04, 2015

Read by………………. Peter Wickham
Total Runtime………. 7 hours 25 mins

Description: The school trip to the Museum of the Moving Image was Peter Maxwell’s idea. It results in the disappearance of one of his colleagues, Alice Goode, and sixth-former Ronnie Parsons. Maxwell’s subsequent search takes him to the sleazy world of Soho, to blackmail, vice and murder.

Alice doesn’t Live Here Anyore

This is the one with an eight stone soaking wet Anthony Perkins and a jolly to MOMI where one of the upper sixth goes missing. Sparkling wit, Stalin history and the porn industry.

4* Maxwell’s House
3.5* Maxwell’s Flame
4* Maxwell’s Movie

Tumbleweed by Janwillem van de Wetering

bookshelves: published-1975, series, dutch, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, summer-2015

Read from June 26 to July 04, 2015
Description: Maria van Buren, a beautiful, high-class prostitute, is found dead with a knife in her back in her houseboat on an Amsterdam canal. Grijpstra and de Gier must solve the murder. Her tony clients all have sound alibis. Before the murderer is caught, the detectives and their commissaris will investigate allegations of black magic, travel to Curacao, and pursue clues to a chilly island off the coast of Holland.

Opening: ADJUTANT-DETECTIVE GRIJPSTRA FELT THAT THIS WAS not the best morning of the year. He sat slouched behind his gray steel desk in the large room in Headquarters that he shared with his assistant, Detective-Sargeant de Gier, and held his heavy square head between his hands.



This is the one with birdwatching, control merchants, and mandrake roots.

Let’s have some music: Michelle Shocked “5 AM In Amsterdam”

4* Outsider in Amsterdam
3.5* Tumbleweed

Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell

bookshelves: summer-2015, biography, adventure, iraq, published-1988, travel, politics, nonfiction, radio-4

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 22 to July 04, 2015

Description: The story of Gertrude Bell and her crucial role in the foundation of the state of Iraq. A ferociously independent-minded young woman, leaves Oxford and experiences the desert for the first time. A few years later oil is discovered in Mesopotamia.

First published in 1997, Queen of the Desert Georgina Howell has been reissued – partly to coincide with the Werner Herzog film of the same title, but also to provide the long view on the troubled history of a remarkable country.

Using letters written by Gertrude Bell throughout the period, the book tells the story of an extraordinarily talented and determined woman who has often been overshadowed by her more famous friend, T.E. Lawrence.

Read by Sylvestra le Touzel and Deborah Findlay (the letters)

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

Description: Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.

In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece–the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure–and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot’s biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead’s life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

bookshelves: summer-2015, chick-lit, medical-eew, boston, north-americas, abandoned

Read from April 26 to July 04, 2015
Description: From Lisa Genova—whose novel Still Alice is soon to be a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, and Kristen Stewart—comes this New York Times bestselling novel of resilience in the face of a devastating diagnosis. A vibrant mother in her thirties learns what matters most in life when a car crash leaves her with a traumatic brain disorder called “left neglect.”

Sarah Nickerson, like any other working mom, is busy trying to have it all. One morning while racing to work and distracted by her cell phone, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In that blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her over-scheduled life come to a screeching halt. After a brain injury steals her awareness of everything on her left side, Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In so doing, she also learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.

In this powerful and poignant New York Times bestseller, Lisa Genova explores what can happen when we are forced to change our perception of everything around us. Left Neglected is an unforgettable story about finding abundance in the most difficult of circumstances, learning to pay attention to the details, and nourishing what truly matters

Sarah was not a woman I wanted to spend anytime with.