Read Books This will provide a list of the books I've read with a brief review. Users are blocked, contact me for access. I welcome discussions, but I'm tired of spam.

November 19, 2010

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

Filed under: History — Randolph @ 7:31 pm

The Known World by Edward P. JonesThe Known World is the story of a black in the American pre-Civil War south.  He gains his freedom, then acquires slaves of his own.  The book is about his relationship to his slaves, and his relationship to the rest of the community.

The book is difficult to read.  It struck me as a collection of short stories glued together by a few common characters.  The stories jump around in time, making it difficult to follow and the characters difficult to keep separate.  There is no discernible plot in the book and each story is left to stand on its own.  Edward’s sentences tend to run on, making the book difficult to read on another level.

I found the characters a bit flat.  There were none that I felt any ties to.

Generally, the stories are fairly nonviolent, but a few break that trend, some can be difficult to read.

Some of the short stories are interesting and informative.  The author works in historical information to tie the story to events we are familiar with.

In spite of its having won a Pulitzer, it isn’t one I can recommend.  I didn’t even finish this book, although I have strong urges to finish it just for completeness.  Some people seem to get a lot out of the book, but I did not.

November 2, 2010

Queen of the Night: A Novel of Suspense by J. A. Jance

Filed under: Mystery — Randolph @ 4:12 pm

Queen of the Night: A Novel of Suspense by J. A. JanceQueen of the Night is a novel of suspense involving the murder of four people at a formal dinner on an indian reservation in the middle of nowhere. The book tells parallel stories set decades apart, and the stories of several separate individuals whose lives become intertwined.

This is the fourth Brandon Walker book. I hadn’t realized that when I started, or I would have preferred to start with the first. I can’t say if that would have made things clearer.

I thought the book got off to a slow start. The different characters were initially hard to keep apart, and there was nothing to tie the stories together. However, once the stories did connect, I found the pace of the book pick up distinctly and it became much more interesting.

The characters are interesting, if a little flat. Although the murder was unusual, it didn’t seem to matter. I thought some of the information came a bit easy, so I classify the book more as suspense than mystery. The book does provide some interesting insights into the Tohono O’odham tribe, its culture, and a little of its language.

The writing was good, but not great. It had a good flow and was easy to read. I did enjoy the book, but found it difficult to read prior to the murder.

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