November Reads in the 50-books-in-52-weeks challenge


I love this sign that I saw on a library entrance on the weekend-

At the end of November I had read 56 books in the 50 book challenge.

A Bewitching Smile – Christopher G. Moore.  This is the 2nd book in the Land of Smiles Trilogy and I think it is the best of the three.   I think you need to read the first in the trilogy  (A Killing Smile) first to explain the Thailand scene but this could almost be read as a stand-alone book.   Some of the characters from the first book embark on a journey to Northern Thailand to rescue a friend and a sub plot emerges as they travel.   There is much examining of beliefs and values, myths and magic in this book.     I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it for one of these long cold winter weekends.


A Haunting Smile by Christopher G. Moore   – the 3rd book in the Land of Smiles Trilogy.    Set amongst the 1992 political upheaval in Thailand*, this book switches back and forth between short stories of the characters,  a documentary film,  radio reports of the violence on the streets and ghosts and  dreams.  It is an insiders’ look at what was happening during those violent few days.  I found it interesting but it was very hard to finish as I did not like the ghost and dream sequences at all.

*   17-2o May 1992 is commonly called “Black May” when a protest in Bangkok against the government  turned bloody.  There were 52 officially confirmed deaths and many, many disappearances.   More than 3,500 arrests were made and many of those were tortured.


The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson   This book was originally published in 1952.    It is a dark and edgy book written from the perspective of Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford as he struggles against the “illness” inside him – his need to kill.    I really enjoyed this book though perhaps “enjoyed” is not the right word to associate with a book on serial killings!   There are no gratuitous, bloody descriptions  – all of those are in the reader’s own mind,  but it is  gory in its warped psychopathic evil.


The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan.   This is a “young adult”  book which was recommended by a couple of my old Vox neighbours.   It was a fast read and perfect for my metro rides.

Mary lives in a fenced-in village run by the Sisterhood. She dreams of what might lie beyond the fence – a world that her mother has told her about; a world full of oceans.   Outside the fence is the Forest of Hands and Teeth and where the Unconsecrated zombie-like people live.  The unrelentingly persistent Unconsecrated press against the fence daily until the day they get in…….    and then a little band of survivors head off in search of Mary’s ocean.    This book sucked me in from the first page and had me writing to Jane/Cat at the end to ask  “what do you think happened to…”


Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke.  This is the 7th book in the Robicheaux series.  This one was published in 1995  and the 17th book was published in 2010 so I have a way to go yet in this series!     This book has drug dealers, the mob and Nazism. Oh, and Dave Robicheaux!   A good fast paced book.


15 responses

  1. I love that library sign! I wish ours would put up one like that, but unfortunately they’re being picketed by Vets Against the War because they allow kids to play war-themed video and computer games on their Wednesday game nights. So the librarians are afraid of making other patrons think they encourage “sinister and even frightening things,” even though books are marvelously good at scaring us.

    Speaking of which, I was thinking of getting the Jim Thompson book after reading a review of the recent movie made about it. The problem was that years ago I had read another one of his novels, “Savage Night,” which was so creepy I couldn’t finish it. I’ve heard that Thompson’s novels are so dark that you can’t read them all together—one every 10 years is enough. So I guess I’m due now.

    • The Killer Inside Me is dark but it’s not graphic so I think I found it more disturbing than creepy. I will add “Savage Night” to my list of books to read – perhaps in a couple of years time.

      The library is in a building that also houses a little county museum where the greeter was wearing a shirt with huge embroidered letters: NRA !!!!

    • There are mobile libraries in more remote areas of Australia which are a great idea. Our library has been closed for over a year for renovations – it’s due to reopen in “Spring 2011” – we’re looking forward to that!

  2. How very considerate of your library to issue a warning. Heehee.

    I’m so thrilled to see that you’re enjoying the Robicheaux series. Burke is such a wonderful storyteller.

    It was BITTER here today. Really, really windy and cold. OMGosh I am NOT looking forward to that windy walk into the building tomorrow. I wonder if my laptop will freeze.

  3. That is wonderful that you enjoy reading so much. I am going to have to try checking out some of the books you reviewed! I am reading, “Eight Days to Live,” by Iris Johansen. It is very good.

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