Book talk · Reviewing my monthly reads

Reviewing my October reads

Saint Odd – Dean Koontz

The last in the Odd Thomas series. I’d be lying if I said this didn’t sadden me. It’s a series I’ve been reading and enjoying for years. I’m not an avid Koontz reader, but I love the charm and different approach that he has to Odd Thomas. The style it’s written, the constants and the character. It’s told first person and the quirky companions along the way from Elvis to Boo to Ana-Maria to Mr Hitchcock, enhanced my enjoyment.

Ending a series can’t be easy, you want to do the character justice but it’s tough to get an ending that everybody can be happy with. I won’t spoil the ending for anybody who wants to pick up the series and give it a go, but I felt a little mixed. It made me both happy and sad and when I sat down to think about it, I’m not really sure where else Koontz could have taken it. It felt in-keeping with Odd and what he’s always told us along the way.

So what of the book as a whole? I thoroughly enjoyed it. It picks up exactly where we left off in Odd Apocalypse, so we know something bad is coming. I liked that we got to see (you know what I mean) Odd back in his hometown of Pico Mundo. It allows us to revisit characters, and places, we got to know and love from previous stories but it’s also a crucial part of Odd’s make-up. Essentially it brings us 360 in his journey and it felt like putting on your favourite winter jumper; comfortable.

The story line is interesting though, tying in previous threads I hadn’t quite anticipated and it was satisfyingly dark and interesting as have been the others. I was always sad that the film version of the first book, with Odd brilliantly played by the late Anton Yelchin, never received better treatment, or focus, effecting squashing any hopes of us getting more films. It’s such a visually interesting story and I’ve got such clear images having read the series that it would have been nice to have had those realised on screen. I’d recommend the film regardless, it’s an example of where a film does a good job versus the book.

How would I sum up this series? Fondly. I’ve enjoyed it from start to end, not everything I wanted to know was truly answered or taken care of, but I was satisfied with the way it handled it for the most part. I’m cool with not knowing everything because Odd is happy and that’s ok by me.

If I really am craving more, Koontz did some graphic novels that tie into the series (though are not required to follow the books and the story) that I can delve into.


 

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

Re-watching the extended versions of the trilogy recently prompted me to buy this again. I believe I would have been a schoolchild when I last ventured into this version of Middle Earth and I definitely got way, way more out of it now an adult.

It was fascinating to see how largely close the films followed the book. Sure, perhaps dragging it from one to three films wasn’t required, it’s hardly the thickest book, but it did allows us more time in the company of Bilbo, Gandalf, Thorin and the company and having finished the book, I definitely wanted to spend more time with them. Tolkien’s style is old-worldy now, but charming and you feel a part of the story but equally entertained and wanting to keep delving deeper. He of course touches on things here that would be expanded in The Lord of the Rings series, which I’m ashamed to say I’ve still not read. So I look forward to doing so (it’s on my Christmas list, hint hint).

With the film so fresh in my mind, I had visuals aplenty while reading this and happily they all married up, reaffirming my thoughts that the casting was pretty spot on. Despite me reading the Kindle version, I still got the gorgeous little drawings along the way, as below. I absolutely loved having this there.


I burned through reading this one, finishing it on a train commute and a little saddened to have reached the end so soon. Plenty more Tolkien to sink my teeth into though.


The Outrun – Amy Liptrot

I went into this one without knowing what it was about, but solely because my Mum suggested I’d like it and that was good enough for me. It has a pretty enough cover too (see feature photo). It’s nice sometimes to approach a book like that, I rarely do, as I don’t often get recommendations or books handed to me, but it was nice to open it and have no expectations.

I really knew nothing, so the fact it’s a memoir was a pleasant surprise. I don’t tend to read a lot, but I’m certainly more tempted to having enjoyed this so much. I burned through it in two days and finished it with a huge amount of respect for Liptrot, those who live in remote islands and with a sense that I need to visit some of these places.

It’s an easy enough book to get through, at a snappy 270 pages and I really enjoyed it. It’s certainly made me want to visit the Orkney islands at some point with an honest, but intriguing, description of them. Written incredibly honestly from Liptrot, she shies away from nothing and it’s a fascinating insight into addiction. Into what drives it, how it became more than just the social drinking most of us are familiar with. It intersects these with the current day, her journey as a sober adult and being back, so it moves along at a fairly leisurely pace, but that was fine by me. Things are hinted at and then properly explained and it’s a look at  how devastating addiction can be but incredibly uplifting in the sense of her getting through it and rediscovering herself.

Having not known that I would be reading about any of this, it was a surprise and while it’s a viewpoint I can’t quite say I understand, my worst addiction is just I really, really love coffee, but it was interesting to read the frank assessment. Beautifully put together, Amy is a woman I’d love to go out for a cold sea swim with!


Here’s what I’m now reading/planning to read in November:-

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