This isn’t good – I only read three books in October. I was working, travelling, planning travels and erm, just reading stuff other than books. Oh well, I’ve still got two months to try to get my annual total up to something reasonable. Read on to find out more about what I read in October.
I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi
I found this on my Kindle and couldn’t remember what it was or when I’d downloaded it. I must have had a recommendation for it, but I can’t remember from where. Therefore I had no idea what to expect from it.
I started reading and quickly realised the author was both African and American (as opposed to African American without the ‘and’ in the middle). I’m not pointing this out because I was surprised to find a book by an African and/or American on my Kindle (seriously, my Kindle would give the UN a run for its money in the international stakes), but because it really hit me how distinctive the combined African and American (no ‘or’ because I really mean ‘and’ here) voice is. I can always recognise American writing and I can always recognise African writing. This is the first time I’ve considered the voice that arises when you combine the two. I liked how strongly it came across as I felt like I was sitting with the author over a coffee or glass of wine listening to her rant.
Yes, rant. The book is basically the author putting the world to rights. She’s funny (I googled her and she’s a comedian) and serious (she’s also an activist). With each chapter she takes on a different issue; everything from racism to the annoying overuse and misuse of hashtags. She talks about issues I’m aware of and agree with her on, but also issues I had never considered before.
I enjoyed listening (that’s really what reading the book felt like) to her and now whenever I see a hashtag I hear her voice in my head.
Deadly Web by Barbara Nadel
Barbara Nadel writes a detective series set in Istanbul. I’ve read many of her books and each one has a specific cultural theme along with the crime for her protagonist, Inspector Ikmen, to solve.
In this book Ikmen finds himself delving into the world of Istanbul’s Goth community and once he starts digging beneath the surface he uncovers a more sinister community of Satan worshipers who are using the Goths as cover. The Satanism might sound as much a fad as the youthful Gothicism except it involves ritual murder.
I always feel, that as well as enjoying a good story, I learn something about Istanbul and Turkish culture when I read these books and this was no exception.
The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
This slim novella is a beautiful piece of writing about a cat. A Japanese couple rent an apartment owned by an old lady with a large house and garden next door. They are not allowed pets. Soon a cat begins slipping into their apartment and making itself at home. The cat, being a cat, doesn’t care about the ‘no pets’ rule, or any other rule except those made by itself.
The couple become enamoured with their visitor and the book is the story of how their lives become intertwined with that of the cat.
Life moves on, the old lady moves into care and the couple take on looking after the garden and house until both it and their apartment is sold. I don’t want to give any spoilers here, but I will warn you; the ending is sad.
What have you read recently? And what do you think of what I read in October? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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