May Reads…..

More contributions to my 50 Book Challenge (read 50 books in 52 weeks)……   these are my May reads:


The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu:  The story of an exiled Ethiopian in DC along with a couple of his friends, Congo Joe and Ken the Kenyan, and a white woman, all unfulfilled in their search for peace and acceptance.  I bought this primarily because it is set in a neighbourhood of DC very close to where I live.  I found it to be a very thought provoking book and highly recommend it -  I think the premise can be summed up in a passage from the book itself:  

"What was it my father used to say? A bird stuck between two branches gets bitten on both wings.  I would like to add my own saying to the list now,  Father; a man stuck between two worlds lives and dies alone.

"We walk away and try not to turn back, or we stand just outside the gates, terrified to find what's waiting for us now that we've returned.  In between, we stumble blindly from one place and life to the next. We try to do the best we can.  There are moments like this, however, when we are neither coming nor going, and all we have to do is sit and look back on the life we have made."   


     The Sun Storm – Asa Larsson.  My continued venture into Swedish authors took me this month to the first book by Asa Larsson. 

Sun Storm
Asa Larsson

A murder mystery with a good plot;  strong personalities and a bit of a statement on religion in society.  This was one of those books easy to read when in the middle of a lot of distractions (eg: commuting on a train).  I have another of hers to read this month. 

The Fault Line – Barry Eisler
  introduces his new character, Ben Treven – a black ops soldier who comes to the aid of a

Fault Line: A Novel
Barry Eisler

brother he has not spoken to in years.  The story involves murder and conspiracy but I never really warmed up to any of the characters -  their development was very shallow. I loved Eisler's assassin John Rain so maybe I was bound to be disappointed by this one.  Not nearly as good as any of the five Rain books.


Caught Stealing – Charlie Huston. I didn't like this book very much.  It started off well but then it became what I

Caught Stealing: A Novel
Charlie Huston

would describe as a "man's" book – liberally sprinkled with violence, baseball and some car action.  There is a very disturbing chapter involving torture of a cat which was the final turn-off for me.  I did finish the book just to see what happened to the main character who was really just some poor guy in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to do the right thing – but I couldn't get the image of the poor cat out of my mind.   


Expiration Date – Duane Swierczynski….  "In this neighborhood, make a wrong turn – and you're history" .  This story was sort of loony but I it was really, really hard to put it down.  This is a pulp book -  a combination of dark fantasy,

Expiration Date
Duane Swierczynski

mystery and humor. The main character is believable but he takes some pills and wakes up in the past…. and then goes back and forth interacting with  dark characters as he attempts to solve a mystery.  I thought the ending was a bit wishy washy but I loved the trip getting there and intend to look for more of his books.  

Swierczynski also writes for Marvel Comics and there are great comic illustrations throughout the book.  He also has  his own blog called Secret Dead Blog which is fun to look at.   

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14 responses

  1. The Mengestu, Larsson and Duane (I won't attempt spelling that last name) all look cool, Emjay. Thanks so much, I love book reviews!! I prefer diversity in the theme so Sun Storm looks neat and I love the book cover. Cheesy, yes I know, but I'm a visual person.

  2. Yes – I quite often select the books I'm going to read based on their cover art or some random page I open to read. On the other hand there are some prints that have put me off – I don't usually like tightly packed sentences/paragraphs – I find them hard to read.

  3. Now I got really unsure… it was you who read Siteg Larsson and his Millenium triology, was it not? If you haven't, I recommend you, to continue the Swedish track.

  4. Yes – I love reading but have never thought to record what I read until I entered this challenge. I think I will be able to meet the challenge. I'm lucky in that I have an hour on the train getting home from work in which to read – I sleep for the hour *to* work which is sort of strange LOL. Normally people sleep on their way home after a long day!

  5. Hi Louise – yes I mentioned reading the first two of Larsson's books. The 3rd one has only just been released here in the US and I have it on my list to get. I've also been reading Helene Tursten who I've also enjoyed (I've read her first 3 books – not sure if she has written more).

  6. I've read Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men – both many years ago. I can't think of any others of his I've read. Oh- maybe East of Eden (though it's possible I only saw the movie). This month I intend to start your recommended James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series. I managed to find the first three books at very reasonable cost. (given that they are antiques LOL).

  7. I love Steinbeck's work. The quality of being able to tell a story in everyday language that flows and has a poetic flair (as Steinbeck did) is what I appreciate about Burke's writing. This can be especially hard to find in a mystery writer.

  8. I started Burke's first Robicheaux book today – I can see a difference between his writing of this book (1987) and the first Burke book I read which was the 2009 Rain Gods. I'm looking forward to following that development over the years in-between.

  9. No, it's the second book in a series featuring Texas sheriff Hackberry Holland – I didn't realise it was a 2nd book. The first one is called Lay Down my Sword and Shield – I will have to go back and read it after I've caught up on the Robicheaux series.

  10. I've seen Lay Down My Sword and Shield but for some reason thought it was one of the first books he published….before the Robicheaux series. I don't think I've read any with sheriff Hackberry Holland….what a name!!!

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