Showing posts from February, 2012

The Books that Mean the Most

A few days ago I re-read a book I had first picked up as a fourteen-year-old and which had completely stunned me at the time. If anything it was more powerful almost thirty years later and I am still reeling from it. We all have books we enjoy and that have meant a lot to us over the years, but I suspect we have just three or four which have had a great impact on us or changed our lives and outlook. Restricting myself to fiction, I'm going to tell you about the books which mean the most to me.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham is that book my sister bought home from Southend High School for girls in 1982 and which evidently never went back. Although you have to pick it up from the clues because it doesn't state it outright, it's set in a dystopian future of post-nuclear winter and tells the story of a boy, David Strorm, who is different in a world which doesn't tolerate "mutants, blasphemies and abominations" including David's little friend, Sophie, who has s…

Book Review: Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

I'm a big fan of all Stephanie's books, and this one didn't disappoint. In part, however, it was because it included so many elements I'm familiar with, and appreciate, in her work.

She usually has a large cast of characters, and on this case there were so many that I had to keep flipping back to remind myself who they were and how they were connected together. But it means that she can use them to full advantage to place plenty of red herrings, and it sets the scene and breaks up the action extremely well. (It's something I struggle with in my own books, so I admire the way she can juggle so many different personalities and voices.) The heroine was a little too self-effacing and saccharine sweet for me to warm to her particularly, and my favourite character was Carrissa who was flawed, and yet somehow still very likeable.

Another thing I appreciate about Stephanie's work is that the people who are murdered are usually bad types, so I don't waste my sympath…