Archive for April, 2015

The return of 52 pick-up: February

Posted in Books on April 12, 2015 by thebigsmoke

5. Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffanys

An easy classic to read.  Very short, but bolstered by some good short stories.  I need to see the movie.

6. Jason Cosmo by Dan McGirt

Jason Cosmo

I’ve had the Jason Cosmo books on my shelf for a while after getting them off eBay as a cheap set.  They are pretty immature stuff.

If you’re curious, you’re probably better off reading some Pratchett instead.

7. Royal Chaos by Dan McGirt

Royal Chaos

More of the same.

8. Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Imperial Bedrooms

Rounding off a rather dull month of reading was Imperial Bedrooms.  I’ve read all of the other Bret Easton Ellis books, so this had been on my radar for a while.

It’s a sequel to Less Than Zero, with some knowing nods to the movie adaptation and, I think, the movie adaptation of The Informers, plus a few other things.  So, it felt like an attempt to blur fiction and reality, the sort of thing that Ellis usually does well.

Unfortunately, though, it also felt like a throwaway book, something to keep the agent happy after between one long writing hiatus after another.  An attempt to spin something out of tried and tested characters.  Not a patch on Less Than Zero really.  Shame.


The return of 52 pick-up: January

Posted in Books on April 3, 2015 by thebigsmoke

I didn’t read a whole lot of books in 2014, so I decided to repeat the 52-books-in-a-year challenge that I completed in 2013.  I intend to post an update for each month, just as I did last time, so here’s what I read in January.

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

I’m a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, so this book club pick was instantly appealing to me.  I liked the way the story jumped back and forth in time and found this an easy read.  There were certainly some poignant moments. Unfortunately, it was let down by being a little bit twee, for want of a better word.  I like my post-apocalyptic worlds to be suitably brutal and this was only superficially so, ultimately sort of quaint.

2. All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

All You Need Is Kill

I enjoyed the movie adaptation, Edge of Tomorrow, and wanted to check out the book because of the possibilities of the plot structure.  It was a fun read, but the film managed to be superior to the book and the potentials of the plot were never properly explored.  It’s only a matter of time before someone does the same thing again but a lot better.

3. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carré

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The first Le Carré I have read and possibly not the best to start with.  Nevertheless, this was a great book, intelligent and well-crafted, with believable characters and situations.  A very British kind of intrigue, where both the action and dialogue is consistently restrained.

4. Stoner by John Williams


This book is pretty fucking good.  It was a book club book and I have spent a considerable amount of time arguing about it in the pub because of this; not a bad thing, but I feel like I have already analysed this one to death. A plot summary wouldn’t do it any kind of justice anyway, as it transcends its subject matter.  I will just say it left me with a profoundly altered perception of life, and there can be no higher praise than that.

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