Bongo Fury 2: Holiday for Skins by Simon Maltman

Bongo Fury 2

Fast-talking, foul-mouthed, Jimmy runs a record shop in Belfast, selling weed on the side to help bring in the cash.  He’s the type of character that could be hard and dark but, written by Simon Maltman, he comes across as someone I think I might actually want to meet.

I don’t know as much about him as I should as I haven’t read the first book in this series of novellas (book two is only 47 pages long), but what I do know, I like because he’s sharp and funny, even when the police are breathing down his neck as they are in Bongo Fury 2.

The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

The language of dyingThe Language of Dying is one of those books I saw at the library and picked up for he cover alone. Then I realised it was written by Sarah Pinborough, who I haven’t read but I know has written other books other bloggers have loved.  I had high hopes, hopes which were originally met – at least for the first half of the short book (it’s only 131 pages).

It starts with a woman – whose name we never get to know (or if we did, I missed it) – sitting by the bed of her dying father.  She is alone, thinking back over her life and how she has ended up where she is, and waiting for her brothers and sisters to arrive to say their final goodbyes.

I found this bit so well written and the language, whilst it might have been about dying, was beautiful.  The thoughts going through the woman’s head, her inner monologue as her family arrives and she thinks back on their childhood and move into adulthood and how, somewhere along the way, it all went wrong for them, completely drew me in.  I was convinced that I had found a perfect book for me.

Tuesday Intro: The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

As you’ll know if you spend any time on my blog, I have a thing for covers and am often guilty of picking books for what they look like before I even know what they are about.  There is a bit of that here, with my latest pick, but more than that it was the title.  I just couldn’t resist as soon as I saw it on the library shelf….

The Room by Jonas Karlsson

Title: The Room
Author: Jonas Karlsson
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Review Copy
Rating: Liked it a Lot(4 out of 5)

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When I first put this book on my to read list, I remember writing that I thought it would be one of those books that I either loved or hated. Just the description made me think there wouldn’t be a middle ground.

Bjorn is a compulsive, exacting bureaucrat who discovers a secret room at the government office where he works–a secret room that no one else in his office will acknowledge. When Bjorn is in his room, what his coworkers see is him standing by the wall and staring off into space looking dazed, relaxed, and decidedly creepy. Bjorn’s bizarre behavior eventually leads his coworkers to try to have him fired, but Bjorn will turn the tables on them with help from his secret room.

In the end, I didn’t love it but I wasn’t far off. This is a novella more than a novel, running only 137 pages, and a real page turner. It is, however, hard to describe because in a way, it’s about nothing but office politics and perception.

Bjorn is one of those people I think everyone has met or worked with at some point. Someone who isn’t on quite the same page as everyone else in the office, who struggles to join in with conversations and whose attempts at interaction often feel awkward and forced. Through descriptions of his colleagues behaviours you get to see that is how they see Bjorn. Different is a polite word for it, especially when he starts insisting that the wall he is staring at is a door to a room.

At the same time, because the story is told by Bjorn and about Bjorn you get a glimpse into what is going in his head. It is another world. And in his world he is smart, capable, all seeing and all knowing. Everyone around him is next to useless and he has not time for them or their water cooler chat. He can’t and won’t attempt to understand why his behaviour might make them uncomfortable.

In the end, the two worlds collide and can’t co-exist. It isn’t surprising but at the same time, right to the end, I had no idea which world would win. I couldn’t tell if Bjorn had uncovered something he shouldn’t have or if he really was going off the deep end. It was fun trying to figure it out though and the book was really funny at times. It was also sad and disturbing in places. Hard to fit in in 137 pages and really well done. Highly recommended.