I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.
Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:
- 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
- 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
- 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
- 4 Good, I enjoyed this
- 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted
Title(s): After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss
About: Eva’s life (and that of her family) surrounding the time she was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp up until the present day.
My Rating: 4, Good.
As you can imagine, this is a difficult subject matter. It’s not Eva’s first book and this is why it doesn’t concentrate on her time in Auschwitz but is more of a timeline from childhood, to being on the run from the Nazi’s, moving from place to place, eventual capture and then her life after the concentration camp.
Having read several stories of time spent in concentration camps for Jews (and others) during WWII I thought the book benefited from using the timeline of Eva’s life to give us context of the events leading to, and events after, capture. We become quite invested in Eva’s story and that of her family. Even though certain fates are not a secret (this is not fiction) we are still willing for the survival of those who we know unfortunately do not make it through this harrowing ordeal.
Read this if you like: History (WWII and Jewish history in particular), The Diary of Anne Frank (Eva’s mother married Anne Frank’s father and so the two stories are linked).
Title(s): ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King (Illustrated and Extended Edition + two further stories, which I’ll tackle separately)
About: Salem’s Lot is a small town in New England to which Ben Mears, a writer, returns after many years to write a novel based on the town in his youth. Strange happenings commence and I think we all know that a sh*t load of vampires are involved.
My Rating: 4.5, Very Good – Excellent.
This is not the first time I’ve read this (the third, in fact, I think) but I do get immersed every time. King has a knack of making us care about the characters and keeping us on the edge of our seats as the plot twists and turns.
The illustrations were nice enough but not really needed. The unedited sections were all at the end of the book, which was a bit naff. I was hoping it was like The Stand extended edition where they’re in their logical place in the book but nope, they’re bunched at the end so you completely lose context.
If you can read this and see an abandoned house without picturing Herbie Marston in the attic then you’re a braver soul than me.
Read this if you like: Vampire fiction (not Twilight…), Stephen King classics, edge of your seat horror
As this book contained two other related short stories, I thought I should treat them separately.
Title(s): One For The Road (part of ‘Salem’s Lot) by Stephen King
About: Recounted in the first person, this story concentrates on life two years after the end of ‘Salem’s Lot. A man and his family crash in the snow and the race is on to get to them before something else does.
My Rating: 4 Very Good.
Very short but fast-paced and enjoyable; a nice little addition to ‘Salem’s Lot.
Title(s): Jerusalem’s Lot (part of ‘Salem’s Lot) by Stephen King
About: Set in the mid 1800’s, we piece together the history of ‘Salem’s Lot through a series of letters penned between friends.
My Rating: 4, Good.
After a slowish start, this picked up pace and was interesting enough. A slightly ‘silly’ ending but again good context for the history of the town and how it came to attract such malevolence.
That’s it for February. March will contain at least two Cormac McCarthy books.