This week was a pretty good reading week. It was all fiction, and one of the books was even a classic. I’m kind of pleased because it’s my second classic of the year. I always want to read so many “new and shiny” novels from the new releases section of my library that I sometimes neglect older novels.
I seem to be averaging two to three books a week right now (and I’m almost at 91 books for the year, so yay!), and this week is no exception. I do have to say that both books I read this week were a little bit too much on the trigger warning spectrum for me, but it was still a fun journey.
1984 is a classic and much beloved book. It tells the tale of Winston, a mid-level government employee. His job is to rewrite history so that Big Brother’s regime is always right and always good. Each day he receives “corrections” to make to old newspaper articles and he makes them before burning the notations of corrections. However, he has budding thoughts against Big Brother as well as a clandestine romance with a younger government employee that could get him arrested or killed if Big Brother were to ever find out.
I’m surprised, since apocalyptic fiction is one of my favorite genres, that I have never made the time for this book. I am glad that I did. I could really feel how well of a handle Orwell had on the motivations of an authoritarian regime. I felt that both the populist right in our country and the progressive left are guilty of many of the infractions that make Oceania such a truly limiting and frightful place.
This book is also very dark. It’s not going to win you with a “happily ever after” type of ending. Trigger warnings also abound (as is common in the genre). I finished it feeling as if I might break down sobbing or vomit, and i was not sure which was going to happen first. It is super intense, and I know I will be thinking about it for a long time to come.
Kingdom of the Blind is the fourteenth Inspector Gamache book. He’s still suspended from the Surete du Quebec, and he’s also still working behind the scenes to try and clean up the mess he has made. He also finds himself in the position of being named one of the executors of a will. As it happens the will is really bizarre, and soon a body turns up as well.
The story is good. I really like the whole story with the will and the murder. The people involved there are also a lot of fun to read about. On the other hand, the ongoing Surete mess ends up involving a cadet at the academy, and I found that to be a particularly stomach-turning storyline to follow. I was also not enchanted by Beauvoir’s usual hand wringing and mental gymnastics. I really feel like, fourteen books into the series, we should really be past some of that. As with most Gamache books, there are trigger warnings in this book as well, and as I said, I this one left me a little triggered.