Pulp Fiction – Jim Thompson

Any Jim Thompson is worth a read. Some are better than others but this is pulp fiction.

The characters are dark, gritty, often beyond redemption, selfish motives, there are no happy endings in Jim Thompsons world. His characters are greedy, self-involved, lying, cheating scoundrels and often killers to boot.

Just the titles are awesome “The Killer Inside Me”, “The Grifters”, “A Hell of a Woman”, “A Swell Looking Babe”, if you like dark novels, he’s your guy.  Lou Ford from “The Killer Inside Me” is one of the scariest, if not the scariest character I’ve ever encountered. Just like watching too much true crime shows reading Jim Thompson can make you question the people around you.

Plus the books look great on a book-shelf!

Your Voice In My Head

This is my favourite book from last year.

It was written by Emma Forrest for her psychiatrist Dr. R who passed away.

It is a story of mental illness, finding yourself, falling in love, falling apart and piecing yourself back together. Of course what initially drew me to it was hearing that she had written about her boyfriend that she called her “Gypsy Husband”. It’s never been confirmed but it’s totally Colin Farrell. I’m nosey and curious so of course I wanted to read all about this relationship. As it turns out this is a very small part of the story. It’s about so much more. I’ve read it several times and each time I can see more and more of the relationship and the impact Dr. R had on her. Did he save her? I don’t know he certainly helped her find her way.

They are now turning it into a movie and I really hope they don’t f*ck up the casting.

Worst Date Ever

Oh you think you’ve had bad dates? Try pretending to be a serious journalist to capture the heart of the glorious peace keeper, setting a date to meet in Uganda and then he doesn’t show up. That happened to Jane Bussman. A comedy  writer, celebrity interviewer and suddenly news journalist?

While being very insightful and providing a lot of information about the war in Uganda and also Joseph Kony it is still a funny read. Really. It begins with her life interviewing celebrities, which after reading this you’ll never read a celebrity interview the same way again. Then she meets an attractive peace keeper and devises a plan to meet up with him in Uganda as a serious journalist.

He doesn’t show but she stays and actually does the research and poking around ending up with a very compelling expose on what is happening, only nobody wants the story.

It’s well worth reading as part expose on war, part behind the scenes to celebrity interviews, part real life Bridget Jones.

Mario Vargas Llosa

I discovered Mario Vargas Llosa when I travelled to Peru.

He is a Peruvian writer and his novels are wonderful, his prose is beautiful. I started with “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter”:

I mean a novel about a young writer, having an affair with his older Aunt, wandering the streets of Lima? Count me in. I love the books because I can picture many of the places he talks about, his characters are honest, this is a young man just starting to find his way, writing scripts for a radio show and falling in love with an older woman. The book is quite a journey and one well worth taking Mario Vargas Llosa is a wonderful story teller.

Another one I loved is “The Bad Girl”, Mario seems to like his bad women. This time a young student falls in love with a woman he can never have. This tale follows them over the course of their lives. Timeless tale really and throw in Cuba and a revolution, move everybody to Paris and you again have a wonderful heartfelt story.

His novels have a wonderful rhythm that is so easy to get caught up in.

A Demon Who Loves Jelly Beans!

Nurd is the demon who loves jelly beans and he is a character in both The Gates and The Infernals books written by John Connolly a writer from Dublin who perhaps was drinking Guinness while he was writing these?

It starts with Samuel Johnson and his daschund Boswell witnessing the portal to the underworld being opened and his neighbor Mrs. Abernathy being taken over by a creature from the underworld. This the story of how Samuel fights back and saves the world, with the help of his friends, his daschund and a demon named Nurd (who likes jelly beans and is my favourite character).

Then the Infernal s is the other way, Samuel and Boswell are sucked into the underworld and then must find their way back. This one has beer drinking rude elves, Nurd returns, there is an ice-cream truck, what more could you want? With a host of returning characters and some great new ones it’s a very good sequel and I’m hoping there will be more.

The books are funny, heartfelt and well worth reading.

Haruki Murakami

Yesterday I said that Banana Yoshimoto’s books stay with me long after I read them. The same happens with Haruki Murakami, the stories linger.

Almost as if something is happening between the lines. I am now reading 1Q84 and will be sad when it is finished. It has kept me up late at night as he moves the plot along. He is so good at intertwining plots, characters and idea’s. He has patience in revealing the plot, his prose is beautiful.

Christopher Moore

I LOVE Christopher Moore, I always count down the days when he has a new novel coming out. There is something for everyone, trust me he’s worth a read.

My favourite vampire trilogy was written by Christopher Moore:

An easy funny read, great characters and some over lap with:

Some of the same characters pop up. Vampires and Death (that’s the dirty job), how can you go wrong?

A fan of Shakespeare? How about Fool, the tale of King Lear told from the Fool’s perspective:

Ever wondered what Jesus’ life was like growing up? Then Lamb is for you, the story of Biff Jesus’ childhood friend:

Curious about the world of Art in Paris during the time of Van Gough and Henri Toulouse-Latrec then Sacre Bleu is a good choice:

There are many, many more and I’ve never been disappointed. His books are easy to read, the stories are well paced and there are always scenes that make me laugh out loud.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is a new love.

I had never read a Dickens’ novel until this year but always him on my list. I started with Great Expectations, then read The Old Curiosity Shop, the last one I read was Nicholas Nickleby. Dickens is so good, now I get it.

I love his characters, usually a supporting one becomes my favourite. He really makes me care and I will be reading more. Also I have my Grandmothers Dickens books and they make me feel a connection with her, she passed away over ten years ago. The books used to be in her family home when she was growing up and now they are with me.

Also some have beautiful illustrations throughout, I think there are fourteen of them which should keep me in Dickens for a very long time.