July-ish
Gone tomorrow by Lee Child: One of the ones I bought to read on the plane, but I opened it, read the first few pages and then went and bought another one to read on the plane, so I could read this one immediately. The opening pages of Gone Tomorrow are *fantastic*. It rolls into a familiarly convoluted plot, but I still swallowed it whole, from memory.

Killing floor by Lee Child: one of his earliest novels, and it shows – it’s a lot wordier and unnecessarily dense prose-wise, but still good. Holly is such a bad-ass, although I would have liked her fundamental reason for being kidnapped to be more about her as it had appeared to be promised.

The enemy by Lee Child: Jack Reacher flashback to his army days. I spent the first third of the book mentally (and sometimes out loud) shouting: ‘or he could be gay. Did you consider he might be gay? There’s this thing called being a man who’s attracted to other m – oh, there we go! Well done!’ I am charmed by the sense I got that Lee Child really, really wants to make sure he thinks gay people are Just Fine, and are People even! Which... given how right-wing most of his readership are, possibly isn’t a bad thing to state outright.

Nothing to lose by Lee Child: Yeah, I was on a bender. Shut up – I was on holidays! Big chunks of the ending made No Sense. However Lee Child Jack Reacher supports deserters of the Iraq war because the government has betrayed the soldiers’ trust! *draws little camo hearts*

August
A small free kiss in the dark by Glenda Millard: I was seriously primed to like this one: the title and the cover are gorgeous, and the subject of a runaway boy making a family with the people he meets is right up my alley. The language is simultaneously that of a kid, and touchingly profound in places. But there are weird silences here: early on the boy sees chalk drawing of Native Americans which then echoes throughout the book. It made me assume it was set in America, when it’s actually apparently set in Melbourne. I can’t help thinking that there had to be some way to respectfully include Aboriginal Australians rather than inserting a culture from the other side of the world. I didn’t like the author’s treatment of Tia, not to mention there seemed to be several crucial action sentences missing near the end... “wait, what? Who is seriously injured and how?” Also, where did they get their water from? So, too many grumbles to properly recommend this book, but I might look at her others.

Oxygen by Carol Wiley Cassella: The language of this book was wonderful, a competence that just rolled on beautifully. I loved the early scenes of her in the operating theatre, and was completely there for the main character’s grief and guilt. I think, though, that this was a case where the cover quotes let it down badly; two of them mention a ‘shocking twist!’ which... I was fully expecting something which is never a good way to approach a twist, but when it came it was... not so much a twist as a rolling on of the plot, and a filling in of things that had been niggling at me. So I feel a little let down by the lack of advertised Shocking Twist! But it was still an excellently written book.

My stroke of insight by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor: a short, fascinating look into how the brain works, and which bits we use to process the world and what happens when the part that says ‘I am an individual, distinct in the world’ drowns. Recommended.
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