Whooooaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh – City On Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Writing, Writing Thoughts

It’s 1977, and New York City is home to a huge variety of people. But the seemingly random shooting of a teenage girl in a park links some of them – a super-rich family who run huge businesses, junkies, teenagers, post-humanists, musicians, gay schoolteacher, a reporter and a police officer. A huge cast of characters attempt to find justice, meaning and happiness in a variety of ways, as a greater threat is gradually uncovered and the city begins to ignite.

I am completely blown away by this book. It’s scope, plot, characters and composition are simply extraordinary. The way it fits together, and the sheer fact that despite it being extremely long (I had it on kindle but apparently it’s 900 pages) it kept me hooked from start to finish. It’s magnificent triumph in portraying such an array of characters in deep, flawed but identifiable ways. The exceptional way the plot comes together. I’m still reeling!!!

If objects could speak: a clever narrative device drawing history and people together in Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended


Jack, a dying man, entrusts a peacock pendant to his granddaughter, charging her to return it to it’s owner. The book opens different windows on the pendant’s history: Jack’s attempt to give it to the woman he loves after recovering it from a train of confiscated Jewish goods after the war; his disappointed and divorced granddaughter teaming up with a dealer of valuable goods and their growing mutual attraction, and the psychologist whose attempts to help the outspoken young Magyar woman whose dangerous political escapades with her tiny, passionate friend provoke in him an unspoken love.

It is interesting that, like my last reviewed book The Goldfinch, a central theme to this novel is a treasure: a possession that captivates people’s hearts and minds. But in each strand of the story, here, the pendant is not the focus, serving as a mystery and connection that hovers on the edge of the humans whose stories are told.

Pulitzer Prize winning The Goldfinch, a huge novel touching addiction, trauma and terrorism by Donna Tartt

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized


When Theo Decker survives the terrorist attack on an art museum that kills his mother, he takes with him The Goldfinch, a famous and invaluable painting. His life then unfolds in segments, profoundly impacted by the strong characters that he’s around, such as his con-man drunken father, emotionally stunted Andy, trustworthy Hobie, frantic Boris and wonderful Pippa. Unable to escape his past despite forays into drugs and crime, the painting becomes a secret that seems necessary to his survival. But this too catapults him into betrayal, violence and the European criminal underworld. He writes his memoirs as a way to try to piece it all together.

This was a strange book! As perhaps the summary suggests, there are so many strands, segments and themes to it – and it’s so long – that it’s hard to form a cohesive thought about this book. Plus of course, it won a Pulitzer Prize. So it must be good. Right?

How to get the very latest books free! (or very cheaply on kindle)

Book Thoughts, Uncategorized


Books, and especially the new ones, can be expensive! This week I’ve worked out a couple of ways to get the best and newest books at affordable prices – like, free. In short, I’ve signed up to a reviewing site and worked out a formula for kindle….