It’s not often I get to say this, but I’ve read some pretty decent books in recent times. These days I read as much non-fiction as fiction, but with Christmas holidays and the beach fiction became the more natural option.
I’ve just finished John Le Carre’s latest, A Legacy of Spies. It’s another excellent book, and it’s my personal opinion he’s one of the best novelists writing in the English language, regardless of genre. Once more, this is a vivid, expertly crafted piece of prose, featuring characters we’ve become familiar with over many years now. My only reservation is that it had a relatively lame ending – rather than reaching a pitch it petered out a little too simply.
Before that, I read a book called The Force by Don Winslow. This is a very gritty, seemingly authentic crime novel set in NYC. It’s told in the first person by a corrupt cop forced into betraying his colleagues. He’s a strong character with a distinctive voice, and this another expertly written novel. Of its type, it’s one of the best.
I’m currently reading Elizabeth Costello, by J. M. Coetzee. I’m only halfway through, but it’s an interesting read, and very different from the preceding reads. I also read a book by Stanislaw Lem, and another, Wolf Winter, by Cecilia Ekback that was excellent.
In terms of non-fiction I’ve got a bunch of books stacked up to read – The Elegant Universe, by Brian Green, and Sleepwalkers, by Christopher Clark – a highly rated book about the origins of WW1. I feel like I’ve read a lot about that lately, which is why I’ve hesitated to read it yet.
One of the outstanding books I’ve read in the last eighteen months is Annihilation, by Jeff Vandermeer (I’ve also read the sequel, which is eerie, but not as good). The reason I bring this up is that it’s been made into a film starring Natalie Portman, coming out in a month or so. If it’s as good as the book, it will be well worth watching.