Monday, 24 May 2010

Richard Laymon – One Rainy Night

Ten years or so ago I used to read a lot of Laymon, in fact I think I managed to read most of his books. After his death in 2001 there were a couple of new releases but since its impossible to write from beyond the grave there hasn’t been anything since. I was browsing a second hand bookshop a few weeks ago when I found One Rainy Night, reading the blurb on the back it didn’t sound familiar so when I got home that evening I checked my bookshelves to make sure I didn’t have it. I didn’t, so the next day I went back and bought it.

The basic synopsis is that one evening a strange black rain starts falling over a small town. The rain sends anyone it falls on into a homicidal rage going after people to kill, especially the dry ones.

The book was fairly standard Laymon. Lots of sex and violence (in fact I’d forgotten just how violent his books can be, I think I’ve gotten more squeamish as I’ve got older). It was a quick read but enjoyable. Not among his best, but the characters were likeable and the fast paced action was engaging. I tend to prefer the more realistic storylines but for £2.50 it was good for keeping me occupied on a train journey to London and back (although I did feel a tad self conscious reading my horror novel when the people all around me were reading things like The Times and New Scientist)!

Having read this book I feel tempted to go back and re-read some of the Richard Laymon books I read years ago. I always feel guilty about re-reading though, as my to read pile is so big but as it’s been so long since I last read the books it will almost be like reading for the first time anyway. I have got some other re-reads planned as well so I’ll have to see.

If you want a fairly quick, easy, entertaining read and are not adverse to blood and gore then One Rainy Night should satisfy. If you want deep and meaningful you best look elsewhere.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Barbara Vine – No Night is too Long

This is the story of Tim Cornish and the events surrounding the murder of his lover Ivo. It is written in the first person, mainly as an account written down by Tim in an attempt to exorcise some of the guilt that he feels.

I was very quickly drawn into this book and hooked by the story. The characters were well written and the story engaging and suspenseful. One of the things I particularly like about Barbara Vines books is the way in which they build slowly and have excellent insight into the characters and this book did not disappoint.

Nice twists at the end, some east to spot and some not so.

Overall very enjoyable and would certainly recommend although if you have never read any Barbara Vine I’m not sure this one would be the best place to start (I’d suggest Grasshopper or The Chimney Sweeper's Boy as a good starting point).

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Book Habits Meme

I saw this on Floor to Ceiling Books (who saw it on Genre Reader and The World in the Satin Bag) and I thought it was fun and interesting so decided to give it a go myself.

Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack:

Very rarely. I tend to find it too distracting. Occasionally I may eat some biscuits or a bar of chocolate but only if I’m really hungry!

What is your favourite drink while reading?

I normally don’t drink while reading either! When I do then it’s blackcurrant squash. Or maybe a hot chocolate if I feel cold.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I couldn’t write in a book ! If I do want to mark something I’ll use a scrap of paper or a post it note but that is very rare anyway.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

I use a bookmark. At the moment I am using a Budleigh Salterton postcard as my bookmark. I did have a proper bookmark but my husband replaced it with the postcard so that’s what I’m now using. I have also been known to use leaflets (Kelevdon Hatch being the favourite) as bookmarks and even an old envelope in the absence of anything better. I will also lay the book flat to keep the place if I’m only leaving it for a short period. Anything longer than a couple of minutes and the bookmark goes in. I NEVER turn down the corner. I hate that.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Mostly fiction. For me reading is a fun pastime done for entertainment and fiction delivers that. I do occasionally read non-fiction as well though. I enjoy a good autobiography and I enjoy reading non-fiction books on subjects that are of particular interest to me (most notably seaside piers, I have a good collection of books on the subject).

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I prefer reading to the end of a chapter but I will stop in other places as well. I have to get to a convenient stopping point though such as the end of a paragraph. I couldn’t stop mid-sentence or at the end of a sentence mid-paragraph. When I was a child I always insisted on reading to the end of the chapter. That was mostly a ruse to get more reading time when told to stop reading and go to sleep though!

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

No. I’d have to be really, really irritated to even come close to throwing the book and I’d probably have stopped reading the book long before I got to that point if it was that bad.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

No, I don’t like interrupting my reading flow. I can generally work out what words mean anyway (if not the exact meaning then at least a general idea of what it means).

What are you currently reading?

I have just started No Night is too Long by Barbara Vine.

What is the last book you bought?

I bought 3, I went into a new shop that had opened up and was just leaving when I noticed their book section which contained cheap books. I came away with 102 Minutes – The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn; The Road Taken by Michael Buerk (autobiography) and another book about an unknown actor who does extra work (it’s called something like Tales of an Unknown Actor) but I can’t remember the exact title or author at the moment and a quick search of Amazon has proved fruitless (it’s at home and I’m at work which is why I can’t just get the book and have a look).

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

Just one at a time for me. I can’t understand why people would want to read more than one book at once anyway.

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

My favourite place to read is in bed. I mostly read before going to sleep. I’ll read pretty much anywhere though except for in a car / coach / bus as that makes me feel sick !

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

I like both. If I had to choose I’d go for stand alone but there are some great series as well. Ones that spring instantly to mind are the Dark Tower books by Stephen King and the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris (of which I am eagerly awaiting the release of book 10 in a few weeks).

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

It depends who I’m recommending too! But I have always loved Stephen King and will always recommend him (the particular book I recommend would depend on who I was recommending it too based on what they like). I would always recommend Swan Song By Robert R McCammon (I got my sister to read it and even she enjoyed it and we have very different reading tastes).

How do you organize your books?(by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)

I keep all my signed books together (in no particular order) and all my first editions together (again no particular order, they are mostly Stephen Kings as I have tried to avoid starting other collections of first editions). My paperback books are just randomly scattered round the bookcases really! I have two dedicated Stephen King paperback shelves and I did start trying to group by author but it didn’t really last long! I’m tempted to sort them all out by author but I don’t have the time at the moment.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

John Connolly – The Reapers

This story centres around Reaper (assassin) Louis and his partner Angel who find themselves targets due to events in Louis’ past. They must draw on all of their experience and skill in order to survive.

For me this book was a slow starter, it took me a while to get into it, perhaps because I’ve been reading a lot of very fast paced books recently. This one started off quite slowly with the pace picking up gradually throughout.

I found the characters to be well written and likeable, my favourite being Willie Brew the everyman mechanic who is caught up in the events due to his association with Louis and Angel. One of the things I particularly liked about this book were the flash-backs into Louis’ past. It gave an interesting insight into his past and what had shaped him into the man he had become.

For me this book wasn’t one of those obsession books that I try to grab every possible second reading. However, once I got into it I did look forward to reading it each day and found it to be enjoyable.