Thursday, 21 June 2018

summer books vol. II

I know, I know, I missed the last two seasonal book recs, but that just means I won't be missing them next year because I already have two half written posts! (For real though, I'm sorry! Hope you enjoy this one!) For now, here's this years list of cold thrillers and crime stories for hot summer days. (Non-crime books included, even though you might argue they still are, in a way ... find them at the very end of this post!)

The first one is a rec that shouldn't be one because everybody who likes thrillers and crime novels is highly likely to have already read these books: The Hannibal Lecter-series by Thomas Harris. I love it so much I have to mention it anyways. It's genius, honestly. Though, you might want to be a bit smarter than me and a) start with the books and not the NBC series (it's incredibly good tho, even better than the movies in my opinion) and b) read the books in the right order, even though the order might be debatable. I've started with Hannibal (the third book in the series), then Hannibal Rising (a prequel but published last) and then I read Red Dragon after I realized Silence of the Lambs is the second one. Anyways: The Hannibal Lecter-series is a masterpiece across all media. Go read it. Or watch it. (And please forgive me not trying to summarize it because I could never do it justice.)

Don't get me started on Sebastian Fitzek. I've started reading every one of his books I own sometime in January and quickly decided he's my new train journey author (and God knows I have to be on trains a lot), and whilst I enjoyed pretty much every story, one of my absolute faves is The Soul-Breaker (Der Seelenbrecher in German, sadly it hasn't been translated into English yet, but a few of his other books have been!). I might or might not have stopped paying attention in a seminar of mine just to finish the last 150 pages of this ...
Three young women go missing. Within a week, they return, but they're broken, completely. Quickly, the press starts calling the psychopath that did this to them "the soul-breaker". A man called Casper finds himself in a very expensive psychiatric clinic in Berlin, where he is treated for his total amnesia. The memories come back little by little, and most of them seem quite odd. Then, an accident occurs in the middle of a snow storm right in the clinics driveway and the staff takes the passengers of the ambulance in. Little did they know they just let a killer enter their precious facility ...

I started reading Simon Beckett's Animals after I finished all the Fitzek-books I own and then, on chapter two, convinced the boyfriend to read it to me. Safe to say, he enjoyed it just as much as I did (and he even asks if he can read to me now, so this is definitely a win-win situation!). We were hooked and it was hard not to finish the book in between the weekends we got to see each other and we were constantly pushing the chapter count we wanted to read (" Hey, you already done with chapter 13? Shall we update it to 14? Or rather, 15." "15 sounds good." "... How about chapter 18?") 
Animals is a weird, twisted story about a guy called Nigel who lives in what used to be his parent's pub, goes to work on the weekdays and enjoys TV on the weekends. He likes Cheryl, a woman from work, and he's not too fond of drinking alcohol or naughty activities. In his basement, he has a few pets, the only annoying thing is when they decide to talk back to him or don't want to play his games.

Because we can't have a summer books without the one and only, here's my Stephen King pick for this year: Cujo! Cujo is a St. Bernard and everybody in Castle Rock loves the huge dog. One fateful summer day, he starts chasing a rabbit and, in the process, is bitten by a bat. The dog is infected with rabies, and soon becomes a very real danger for the people in his hometown.
Cujo is the fifth Stephen King-book I own (next to On Writing, Night Shift, Full Dark No Stars and a collection of short stories that feature a story by him), I got it from a used book store and it makes me very happy! (Usually, I get my King fix out of my dad's bookshelf, but since I moved away from home that's gotten a lot harder. What definitely hasn't gotten harder is absolutely enjoying Stephen Kings novels!

You probably have at least heard of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. What many people don't know is that it is based on a non-fiction book written by Piper Kerman, who spend a year in a women's prison because of a drug crime. I've read her book last year and it's incredibly entertaining and interesting and heartbreaking. Sure thing, it's told from a very priveleged perspective, after all Kerman is a white, comparatively wealthy woman with a supporting family. Keep that in mind while reading it but also remember the book doesn't claim to tell a realistic, typical prison experience, but rather a very specific story by a very specific person. And don't be mislead by the Netflix series, there's nowhere as much lesbian sex in the book.

We had to read Lord of the Flies for English class in year 11 and contrary to most school reads, I didn't hate it. I actually liked it quite a lot, maybe because I'd seen a play based on the book the year before, maybe because it was actually a book that was meant to be read (looking at you, Romeo and Juliet, why the heck would I have to read a play?! It's made to be seen on stage!). Whenever I think about it I feel sticky summer heat and I smell sweet, rotten fruit. A plane full of boys crashes on a deserted island and they have to figure out how to survive. Quickly, a hierarchy emerges, and what seemed like a fun game for the longest time becomes something very dark and very deadly.
William Goldings book is a deeply patriachal story. I remember my English class spent a whole lesson discussing if things had turned out the same way in the book if a plane full of girls had crashed - we all agreed, they wouldn't have, because society raises girls to be much more understanding, careful and considerate. It's a really really good story.

If you have any summer book recommendations (non-crime books are very welcome!) or have read any of these books, please, tell be about it! I hope you have a very productice summer reading wise!

Last year's summer books // autumn books

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