Thursday, April 19, 2012


by Nick Harkaway
2012 by Knopf
Rating: 4/5

     I loved Harkaway's "The Gone Away World", it was one of the most fun books that I have ever read. I had a lot of fun with this one too, but it wasn't quite as good. I still loved exploring his world and fascinating characters.
     Joe Spork, the son of one of London's most successful criminals, wants nothing to do with his dead father's lifestyle. He just want to run his repair shop for clockwork machines. Unfortunately, his past catches up with him and he is thrust into an adventure that may involve him saving the world. Joe is an everyman character, not the most exciting person in the book, but the easiest to identify with. He is surrounded by a cast of amazing & strange people, including Edie Bannister, an 80 something former British super-spy and her aging, blind, and somewhat noxious pug.
     This is a hard book to categorize, it is a mystery/thriller, science fiction, historical, love stories. "Angelmaker" and "Gone Away World" both are closer to a more grounded "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" then anything else I can think of. "Gone Away World" was a near perfect book in my opinion, this one seems a bit padded, but still was a great read. Here is one of my favorite quotes about it, from the author of one of my favorites from 2010: “A puzzle box of a novel as fascinating as the clockwork bees it contains, filled with intrigue, espionage and creative use of trains. As if that were not enough to win my literary affection, Harkaway went and gave me a raging crush on a fictional lawyer.” - Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Red House

The Red House
by Mark Haddon
2012 Doubleday
Rating: 1/5
Received an E-galley from the publisher.

     I had "The Red House" on my list of most anticipated books of 2012. I absolutely love Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time" and I found his "A Spot of Bother" a fascinating, but disturbing look at a British family.
     Unfortunately, I didn't find anything likable about the characters or story in "The Red House". An estranged brother & sister and their families vacation together in the English countryside in an effort to get to know each other better.The book is somewhat similar to "A Spot of Bother", in that it deals with some not very likable people, but there is no sense of humor or any redeeming qualities here.
     Haddon is experimenting with narrative voice here, having all eight family members take turns in telling the story. The problem is that everyone of these people are selfish, nasty, and just plain mean to each other. I could not wait for this one to end. I will give Haddon another chance if he does another book, but this one was just not for me. Interestingly, Library Journal loved the book, but Publisher's Weekly didn't much care for it.