I’m sure you’ve all heard of The Hunger Games. Its a trilogy written for teenagers but with enormous appeal for adults as well. If you haven’t read the first book, do grab a copy before you go to see the movie. It’s a dystopian world, and the twelve states of the continent of Panem have to support the thirteenth state, the state of government. And of course people in the government live very, very well while the people in the other states all border on starvation. One of the ways government keeps everyone in check is to have a reality television show once a year in a huge arena, where every state has to send two teenagers who will join the others to fight to the death. The winner has a lifetime of fame and their state has food for the year. Into this comes Katniss with her expertise on the bow. It’s a terrific read, and I guarantee you’ll be back the next day for the second and third books.
I love a well written spy thriller – they are few and far between. Early last year I discovered Olen Steinhauer’s The Nearest Exit which is the second in a trilogy Steinhauer is writing revolving around Milo Weaver and his Department of Tourism (not a department for travel, a department for assassination). The third book has just been published, An American Spy. I know it’s really hard to make comparisons with other authors, but Steinhauer is the closest I’ve come to the great LeCarre. I’m about three quarters through the book, and I still have no idea what’s going to happen. The first book in the trilogy is The Tourist which I still haven’t read – the books do stand by themselves very well, but I will go back to read this one. Steinhauer’s that good.
I’ve just had seven days of sitting on a deck in Noosa, looking at the river, drinking cups of tea and reading. My idea of heaven, and the books – some fabulous, some not so good. The brilliant ones were Toni Morrison’s Home, due May 1, and Iain Banks’ Stonemouth, due early April. Toni Morrison has been a bit up and down lately, but this book is just so good. Only problem is that it is too short. Iain Banks returns to Scotland and a young man coming home to face a difficult family and a lost love. Brilliant! You’re going to have to wait a little while for these gems, but believe me, both books are worth waiting for.