Have been reading like a madwoman all summer, before the academic year kicks back in and I no longer have time to read for pleasure. So this is going to be a bit of an epic post...
John Boyne, Next of Kin - I'm kind of cooling off Boyne, I have to say, his last couple of books have been extremely predictable.
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridien - I was a bit, meh, to be honest. McCarthy is an unparallelled wordsmith, but this just left me cold.
Yann Martel, Life of Pi - beautiful book, but my first thought on finishing it was "That's unfilmable." Watched the following evening, and that opinion stands.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby - all felt a bit, I don't know, inconsequential? None of the characters were really developed properly. It'll be interesting to see how the film compares.
John Boyn, This House is Haunted - good old-fashioned ghost story. Not actually scary, mind you, but still very enjoyable as a bit of brain-fluff.
Michael Connolly, Dark Hollow - an early Charlie Parker novel where he's a bit more of a caricature than in the later stuff. Louis and Angel kind of overshadow him in this, but tbh a lot of Connolly fans would consider them the more interesting characters anyway. Connolly, at this stage in the CP novels, can't quite seem to make up his mind whether he wants to be a hard-boiled detective writer, or a horror one. Still enjoyable, though.
Kingsley Amis, Lucky Jim - erm, only alright, I have to say. I was expecting laugh-out-loud funny, but it induced only mild snorting, and very little of it. I just found Jim a bit of a wet dishcloth of a character. I think that's more my own fault than Amis', though, as I have yet to really warm to a dithery, no-self-confidence, woe-is-me type character in any novel. They always just annoy me, tbh.
Michael Connelly, 9 Dragons - formulaic, Harry Bosch-by-numbers stuff, but an enjoyable enough way to kill a few hours without having to engage your brain in the least.
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl - this is going to be one of those books where anyone who read it early will have raved about it, then dismiss it as potboiler cr@p once it hits critical commercial mass. It's not Tolstoy, but it's well-written, well-structured and will keep you turning pages well into the night. The end feels a little bit rushed, though, and is completely preposterous. But it's worth a read for the build-up alone.
Stephen King, The Wind Through the Keyhole - a tangentially-related Dark Tower novella. I'll be the first to admit that I'd read King's shopping list and enjoy it, but non DT readers would be totally underwhelmed, I'd say, despite King claiming in the forward that you don't need to have read the series to appreciate this one.
Gillian Flynn, Dark Places - a whodunnit for the 21st century. Manages to have several of the most dislikeable characters in recent fiction while still managing to be completely engaging.
Jon Stark, Games Traitors Play - spy story, not really my usual cup of tea, but I'd finished all my other books and needed *something* to read. Anyway, it's the second book involving a recurring character and referred to events in the previous book so often that it just got kind of tiresome.
Stephen King, Joyland - an absolute joy of a story, although more because of the characters and the "feel" of the book than for the actual plot. It worked best as a guy's bittersweet memoir of a particular time of his life rather than as a ghost story. And, tbh, I think where that's where King is at his strongest; with character and tone. He definitely doesn't get enough credit for his writing, imo.
Alan Glynn, Bloodland - found it randomly down in the sitting room while on the hunt for something to read. He's a young Irish writer. Read it in one sitting. Fast paced, rollicking crime caper with about a million different story strings.
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca - I enjoyed it, but I was expecting much more of a ghost story, possibly because of the huge influence it had on Stephen King's Bag of Bones, which is a classic "haunted house" yarn. I also identified far more with Rebecca than I did with the narrator. There were so many times that I went "Ah would you cop on!" that it kind of pulled me out of the story a bit.
Alissa Nutting, Tampa - left me rather nonplussed. It makes for very uncomfortable reading, which is obviously the idea. But I'm not sure if Nutting has an actual point to make. She seems to be content to just make the reader squirm, without really backing it up with much of a moral.
So now I'm currently about halfway through Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. So far it's reminding me quite a lot of Needful Things, I have to say. I also have an anthology of zombie short stories on the go, which I've been dipping in and out of, but I have to say, so far they've mostly been shite...
"Yeah I been starvin' 'em, teasing 'em, singing off-key - me may my mo, me mo my may..."