The return of 52 pick-up: January

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

Stoner

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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