Book Review: The Dinner

The DinnerThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

While most people were introduced to Herman Koch through his novel The Dinner, I read  Summer House with Swimming Pool first and really liked it.  Most psychological thrillers usually involve a psychopath who really can’t function in society as a whole, Koch’s psychopaths are particularly high-functioning and that is what is so enthralling and alarming about his novels.

Koch got the idea for The Dinner while having dinner out on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona in 2005.  While observing everyone at the dinner table (a party of sixteen) he came up with the first two sentences and decided right then and there to write the book in five sections, Apertif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, Digestif.  I found this fascinating in and of itself from taking a moment to read his essay at the back of  The Dinner.  The essay is entitled  The First Sentence and is as much a must read as The Dinner.

Koch’s novel moves quickly and is a fast-paced and easy read.  At 292 pages, it is extremely well-plotted.  Regular readers of this blog know that I have great disdain for mysteries and thrillers that I figure out the ending for before I get there.  No worries with this one.  The ending is spectacular and will blow you away at the genius of it.

2016 is off to a great start with The Dinner and  The Travelers by Chris Pavone.  This looks to be a great year for reading.

Note:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (October 29, 2013), 320 Pages, ISBN:  978-0385346856.

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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 43 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Real Simple’s Gifts for Booklovers

Real Simple magazine has put together a list of gifts for booklovers.  The gifts are well-chosen and best of all — not expensive!  Make sure to check it out if you are buying for a bibliophile this holiday season.

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Book Review: The Other Son

51tncx1id4l-_sx327_bo1204203200_ The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

When this book became available on Blogging for Books, I requested it right away. Soderberg’s novel The Andalucian Friend was a good read.  I enjoyed it and thought that this sequel would be a enjoyable.  Not so.

From the publisher:

From the moment Hector Guzman entered a coma, Sophie Brinkmann has regretted joining his crime family. Hector’s right hand, Aron Geisler, is doing all he can to keep the sinking ship afloat and keep Sophie in their steely grip. But when Hector’s brother is murdered in Biarritz, Sophie gains the upper hand, and intends to use it.

Sophie becomes a player in a game where the rules are constantly changing, where loyalty and friendship are rendered meaningless. In order to survive, she must look inward and find her inner darkness. If not, she will be swallowed whole by the forces closing in on her: vengeful mobsters, cunning detectives, charismatic arms dealers, and possibly her own son.

It was difficult to get into the novel and I wouldn’t recommend this book at all if you haven’t read The Andalucian Friend.  Although many of the same characters were present, it was difficult to remember exactly what role they played in the first book and to put them in their proper place in this book.  The Other Son is probably worth it if you want to keep up with the story and the characters (none of whom are the least bit likeable), but frankly I found that I don’t really care what happens to these people.  If you are a fan of  The Andaludcian Friend and read this book, let me know what you think.

Book Details:  Published by Crown (July 21, 2015), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-0770436087.

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Amazon’s Best Books of the Year

Business Insider just posted an article listing Amazon’s top ten books for 2015.  Topping the list is Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies.  I feel a little out of touch this year, not having read a single book in the top ten — not even The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  Winter is coming and it will definitely be time to catch up on reading for me!

Business Insider‘s article includes also a link to Amazon’s complete list at the end.  You can read the article here.

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The Guardian: The 10 best quotes in a crisis

The Guardian featured an article on their Website for those times when “it won’t be okay, that the world as you know it has ended and you are doomed. It feels like the end.”  My personal favorite quote from the article is from Coraline, a book I haven’t read, but certainly intend to.  Check it out here!

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Book Review: Slade House

The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

David Mitchell is one of my favorite writers, so when Slade House came out I had to pick up a copy right away and read it.  While I enjoyed the read, I can only give this book three hearts and not the usual five I would award for a David Mitchell novel.

Slade House is Mitchell’s take on the classic ghost story and is a good read for this time of year, when it gets dark early, seems to rain everyday, and a chill sets in early in the evening.  Slade House spans five decades from the 1970s to the present.  Every nine years a guest is either invited or happens to find Slade House on the same day late in October.  Every nine years, there are unexplained disappearances.

Slade House has a tie in with The Bone Clocks, which makes the book interesting for those readers that have read The Bone Clocks.  Slade House is a worthwhile read, but isn’t quite up to Mitchell’s usual standard.  The book uses the same plot over and over again, only changing at the end.  One feels a little let down at the end, the author could have done so much more with this.  It really could have been fabulous.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (October 27, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0812998689.

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