Fiction Books Read in 2008

Kids' Fiction

The Treasure at Greene Knowe, and The Stones at Greene Knowe by Lucy Boston are books in a series I started reading last year, about an old house with lots of secrets and ghosts and things. I have always loved books about houses with lots of secrets and ghosts, hidden passageways and so on, and this series is no exception. It's very well written and I'm looking forward to sharing it with Delphine.

I had to pick up A Coyote's In The House by Elmore Leonard because I wanted to know how he would handle young adult fiction. Well, first of all he managed to contrive a situation in which he could legitimately use the word "bitch" a lot. Kudos! This is a book written from the point of view of a coyote contemplating the life of a domesticated dog. The characters are well-drawn and the story is good. I liked this book.

Adult Fiction

I read Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers because it was recommended in the Globe and Mail Books section, and because I was intrigued by the premise: the book is written almost entirely in notes between a woman and her teenage daughter, left, as you might guess, on the refrigerator door. Surprisingly enough, the conceit works and the story is well-told. It's a tear-jerker but ends on a hopeful note.

Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff is a book which Blake got me to read because he really enjoyed it. It's a SF mystery thriller about a vigilante assassin, full of plot twists and lies within lies which keep you guessing and manage to hang together right to the final page. It's one of those books which, upon finishing it, you immediately want to start it again so you can see if it all fits together properly. A great book if you like that sort of thing.

I put I Am Legend (and other stories) by Richard Matheson on hold at the library back when the movie came out — I do that a lot, read books which have been made into movies without bothering to see the movie. I am often intrigued by the premise of a movie but know that the book will be better (not to mention cheaper). Anyway, everyone else in Toronto did the same thing before me so it took ages for my turn to come, and the memory of the unseen movie had long faded by the time I got the book. I like horror, though, so I gave it a read and quite enjoyed the title story. It's the story of a guy who remains uninfected when a disease very much like vampirism spreads over the world. Kind of a cool post-apocalyptic story with a grim but satisfying ending.

I started reading the other stories in the book, but they were all kind of samish and didn't do much for me.

The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen is a book my mother sent me, a mystery about a lady who finds some bones in her garden and goes off to Maine to investigate them. It was pretty good. I've seen some people say that Tess Gerritsen is really great and she's won a couple of awards and been nominated for an Edgar, but this book didn't blow me away. Maybe I should read Vanish, the book which got all the awards. (Except apparently the Toronto Public Library doesn't have a copy. Go TPL!)

I picked up Alice in Jeopardy by Ed McBain and Watchman by Ian Rankin in summer as my fluffy, mindless reading. I chose them because I like the authors and that's what the library had on the shelves, and I managed to get a McBain book that isn't an 87th Precinct book and a Rankin that isn't a Rebus book. However, they were both pretty good reads, definitely fulfilling what I required of them.


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