Some end-of-year fiction reviews

November 27, 2008

I’m always reading books but I haven’t written any reviews here for a while so I thought it was time for some end-of-year fiction reviews. I have given up on the bookclub – there just weren’t enough committed people to make me feel like it was worth my time and energy – so I might try to attend one or two of the bookclubs out there organised by libraries. One of the things I’m really looking forward to when I move back to Brisbane (probably some time next year) is joining my friends’ bookclub.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Not a bad kids’ book about a boy who grows up in a graveyard (after his family are murdered) and is raised by the ghosts who live there. Quite cute. Unfortunately I haven’t read the Jungle Book so can’t compare it (I think it’s meant to be in that style).

Girls of Riaydh by Rajaa Alsanea
An easy-to-read story in the form of regular emails sent out to subscribers of the loves and losses of young, rich women in Saudi Arabia. It didn’t do anything to lift my opinion of Saudi culture and its treatment of women but it shows how you can get around/try to live within oppressive cultural restrictions. The women in this book were all very well off. Made me wonder about the poorer Saudi women who lack the resources and opportunities that the women in this novel had.

Zodiac by Neal Stephenson
Really fun, interesting story about pollution in the Boston Harbour and the environmentalists working to catch the various culprits – lots of racing around on zodiacs and scuba diving and being chased by evil businessmen. It’s also a lot easier to read than some of Neal Stephenson’s hard sci-fi books.

House of Clay by Naomi Nowak
Short, but very beautiful graphic novel about a girl searching for what to do with her life while working as a seamstress in a sea-side town to save money to study. The artwork is very colourful, and sometimes a bit confusing. The story is quite short but I enjoyed the look and feel of it.