April 2005
... click on the book images to look at the book...
- Most of this month's books have extracts available to read online -

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write a new SR but I've been a little tied up. You'd be surprised how little time there is when your on tour to be able to sit down at the computer.

I've decided to give you less of my crap and more books listed. When Hitler claimed that, although there were way more Russian tanks and troops, the higher quality German ones would win the day, Stalin responded thus: "Quantity has a quality all of it's own" - or something like that.


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Simon's Library >>

 

SIMON RECOMMENDS:
"The Confusion"
by Neal Stephenson

The second book in his The Baroque Cycle trilogy, has an awful lot to live up to, given the outrageous bawdy historical fantasy that is Quicksilver, the first book in the series - but boy does it - live up to it that is. I must say Mr Stephenson fairly chucks them at you; no sooner had I finished Quicksilver than this book appeared on the 'coming soon' list. "So what " you think - well Yeah! Sez I; they're both around 700 pages long. I really have great admiration for someone who can come up with page after page of totally riveting reading, with events and twist so unexpected and bizarre, and what's more, it's so well written, you really seem to live through the story with the different characters - even the ones you don't like. If you like your buckle with an oversize helping of swash, get it (or get the first one) NOW! - coz that's entertainment.










 





SIMON RECOMMENDS:
“Train”
by Pete Dexter

Set in post war California this story follows the lives of three - misfits really, three people who because of their reaction to quite shocking events or maybe it's just plain reality, are unable to conform to the quite rigid standards of social behaviour which predominate the time. Train the eponymous hero is a quiet golfing genius, in fact he is good at almost all physical things, like gardening or roofing or machine maintainence; he's good with his hands, he has the knack, he is an adept. But he's terrible at communicating. Miller Packard is a good cop, severely traumatised by his wartime experience in the South Pacific (litrerally), he gets a thrill out of violence and only seems to feel alive in situations of extreme danger, in fact he's a psychopath. Norah is the third side of the triangle; subjected to a terrifying ordeal, which is unflinchingly narrated in horrific detail; she is numb and lost.

Somehow these three misfits lives come together for a while, and for a while it works.

One thing I really like about PD's style is that he doesn't labour the story, sometimes he just give you the barest bones of the plot and leaves it up to the reader to flesh out the story. It's actually very cool, I mean that in the sense of elegance.

Actually, I loved it.