August was all about visiting my family, resting, and getting back in shape which unfortunately means I spent a lot of time away from my computer. The Science-Fiction & Fantasy World Tour didn’t stop though, and I reviewed Blindness by the Portuguese Nobel Prize author José Saramago. Next month, we stop in Japan! Don’t hesitate to jump in!
Other reads this month
The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde
That was the pick of the month by the GoodReads’ Science-Fiction & Fantasy eBook club. It was a lovely read! It was funny, completely crazy in a Douglas Adams way, and I loved how the plot was based on British literature, especially Shakespeare’s works and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Basically, the protagonist gets into books, which are worlds in themselves and can be threaten if the first copy of the manuscript is modified. I really loved the concept and I will certainly read the second book in the series.
Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
This is the biography of Shin, the sole escapee from Camp 14, North Korea. This is a terrifying and deeply shocking book, but also one of the rare accounts on the atrocities happening in North Korea. I learned a lot about North Korean issues, what affect people’s life inside the country, what the problematics are behind reunification with South Korea (away from Kim’s dictature), the existence of a Korean-speaking prefecture in North-East China, and more. It was really insightful. The biography itself is, although very interesting, a bit subject to caution since there are almost no way to check Shin’s story and he already changed some part of it. Nonetheless, the book is a good way to raise awareness and I highly recommend it.
The 13 Secret Cities by Cesar Torres
In June, I was quite enthusiastic with the beginning of The 13 Secret Cities: the Aztek theme, the identity issues of the main character, torn between the culture of her Mexican parents and her new country, the creepy side of the story, I felt it was a really great start. Well, part 2 was not only as good, it was mind-blowing. The beginning of this second part is probably one of the best horror scenes I’ve ever read. We join Clara after she crashed into… something. After regaining consciousness, she realizes she can’t see or hear anything. She’s not even sure if she still has a body or still even exists. Confused and terrified, she tries – and so did I – to understand where, when, how she is. Soon after, she senses danger. But she still can’t see a thing. Where to hide then? Can she even move? Is it a nightmare? Is it death? This second part honestly creeped me out and I can’t wait, just can’t wait, for the third part!
Faute d’identité by Michka Assayas
I bought this short book in France because I liked the theme. A few years ago, Michka Assayas lost his French passport and when he tried to have it renewed, he bumped into a somewhat absurd issue: he just couldn’t prove he was French. The first “issue” was that his parents weren’t born in France. The second issue is that French administration can be sometimes quite inflexible and narrow-minded: for instance, you always need the right paper. Discussion is often difficult. So, there’s a lot to be said on this subject. Unfortunately, Faute d’identité really didn’t live up to my expectation. It felt like Michka Assayas was only bragging about his family: how they knew André Malraux, how they come from an aristocratic family… After the first few pages, it’s all about childhood memory. It’s not completely uninteresting, but I thought it all belonged more to a personal diary instead of a published book.