The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – Thoughts


The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my TBR list for a long time. I’ve always wanted to read it, but for some reason, there was always something else to read first.
Maybe it was for the best, for when I started watching the tv series which is inspired by the book, I only knew the basics of the story, as I obviously had heard about the book and its contents.
I think watching the tv series first helped me in facing this story.
As I read Offred’s account, I could imagine a face, as well as for the other characters, even though many aspects in their physicality is different in the book.
I won’t go into a detailed description of what the book is about because everyone should know. This book should be mandatory at school. It’s not something that might happen in a distant future if we don’t act blah blah. It’s something that has already happened, and it’s happening right now.
I fell into the pages of this book immediately. The way it’s written allows you to be one thing with Offred, as we go through her story.
The ending was a wise way to let the readers make their own decisions, whether we want to believe that there might be hope or not.
Now that I have read the book, I am very curious to know how the tv series will continue, in a path not already marked by the book. For once a tv series that does justice to its source.

Some of my favorite quotes include:
“Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”
“You might even provide a Heaven for them. We need You for that. Hell we can make for ourselves.”
“Humanity is so adaptable, my mother would say. Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations.”


David Baldacci – Hour Game (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #2) – Thoughts


In the second book featuring Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, the two now work together as private investigators. While starting a new case they are hired to investigate, they find themselves in the middle of a more dangerous chase to stop a serial killer.
I enjoyed the first book that introduced us to the characters of Sean and Michelle.
Unfortunately, in this second book of the series, my problem is precisely with the two main characters. Specifically with Michelle. She spent the whole book running around shooting people, being partially left in the dark by her partner who basically does all the detective work. She looks uncharacteristically short of intuition, while Sean is always the one with the smart plans and is always a step ahead. Since they are two former Secret Service agents, who were both very good at what they did, I would have expected more balance between the two. Sean was too much Sherlock, Michelle too much Watson.
The case itself was interesting enough, but the dynamic between the two main characters somewhat ruined the story.
I will keep on reading the King and Maxwell series, hoping the next book will bring more balance to the duo.

Stephen King – Cose Preziose – Riflessioni

Cose Preziose è l’ennesimo esempio della genialità di Stephen King.
Il paesino di Castle Rock assiste all’arrivo di un nuovo personaggio, il misterioso proprietario di Cose Preziose, un negozio che promette di offrire per ogni abitante un oggetto- un oggetto senza prezzo, dal significato personale e profondo. Sia esso una figurina, un ciondolo, una fotografia, un paio di occhiali, una teiera. Gli abitanti di Castle Rock saranno pronti a tutto pur di ottenere ognuno il proprio oggetto prezioso.
Ma chi è il misterioro proprietario del negozio prodigioso? Cosa si nasconde dietro alla sua aria affabile, ai suoi modi gentili, e soprattutto dietro alle insolite richieste fatte come riscossione degli oggetti in vendita?
King dipinge un ritratto realistico delle debolezze umane, dei desideri, delle presunzioni.
Pur essendo lungo, questo libro si legge con rapidità, si rimane rapiti dalla storia e dai personaggi.
Il finale mi ha lasciata piuttosto perplessa, soprattutto in quanto mi è sembrata sbrigativo, dopo aver costruito i preamboli in maniera così astuta e dettagliata.
Nel complesso si tratta di una storia coinvolgente, e con quel tocco che solo Stephen King sa dare ai propri romanzi.

Matthew Sullivan – Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore – Thoughts

‘Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore’ by Matthew Sullivan is a captivating and smart novel.
Lydia, the protagonist, works as a bookseller at the Bright Ideas bookstore, which is not only her place of work but also her refuge. This is a place where many different kinds of people find comfort in the soothing presence of books. Among them, Joey. At a certain point, though, the books and Lydia’s friendship are not enough anymore. Joey kills himself, inside the bookstore. Lydia finds his body, along with something else. A photo of Lydia herself, blowing the candles of her birthday cake when she turned ten years old. How is it possible that Joey had it? Who gave it to him? And why he killed himself? How is Lydia connected to Joey? From that photo, and from the few possessions the young man has left to Lydia, our protagonist will unravel a mystery that involves her directly, and very personally. There’s something in Lydia’s past she doesn’t want to recall anymore, but she will have to.
I read this books in a few days, and I couldn’t really put it down. The characters are so very well written, all of them. As a reader, you become part of Lydia’s investigation in a way I have never experienced in any mystery book I have ever read before.
The plus side of this book, coming from my first PageHabit subscription, is that it contained notes from the author explaining certain choices and details of the story.

Tim Parks – Calm – Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed “Calm”, a book part of the Vintage Minis collection with selections from Tim Park’s “Teach Us to Sit Still”.
Park, in these selections, explains how he’s an absolute skeptic about spirituality. Until he finds himself immersed in the alien world of a Buddhist meditation retreat and, slowly, he really finds that inner peace.
How to find that peace? How to stay calm, how to not be submerged by problems, by pain?
“Calm” is a very fast read and a very enjoyable one. I myself am very skeptic about spirituality. I’ve tried once, one session of yoga and I still can’t understand how you’re supposed to free your mind from the everyday’s problems and stress. All I could think of was exactly what I was supposed to avoid. Free your mind! I know one session is not enough, but I started reading this book fully sharing Park’s point of view: skepticism.
I loved reading his journey towards finding what he was (probably not) looking for. His writing is captivating, funny, and honest.

David Baldacci – Split Second – Thoughts

I discovered David Baldacci’s series dedicated to King & Maxwell watching the tv series inspired by the books.
Split Second is the first of six books that focus on former Secret Service agent Sean King, and Michelle Maxwell, a Secret Service agent as well who is under investigation after she fails to protect a politician who is a candidate for the presidency.
The two team up to solve what initially seem two separate cases, only to discover there might be more lying under the surface.
The book is a fast read, the story is captivating even if it seems a little far fetched towards the end.
The two characters are very well built, and they go along perfectly together; they are definitely the most interesting and fun part of the story.
Split Second is an enjoyable read with two promising characters who seem equipped to solve any kind of mystery.

Orhan Pamuk – My Name is Red – Thoughts


My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is one of the most strange yet interesting books I’ve ever read. I would describe it as sumptuous. It wasn’t an easy read, it requires a lot of attention and focus. I admit sometimes I got lost into it.
The story centers around the murder of a miniaturist, who was working along with others on a book celebrating the life of the Sultan in Istanbul. Who is the murderer? Someone who didn’t want the book to be completed? Another miniaturist?
The aspect I’ve found the most interesting is the way this story is told. Every chapter narrates the events from the point of view of different characters, with the first chapter introducing us the victim. The corpse talks to us. And as the story unfolds, we can read a chapter in which a drawing talks to us, even a color.
As I said, it’s a difficult read, but definitely a satisfying one.