Some authors seem to have a gimmick when they write a series, such as Sue Grafton with her “alphabet” series ( A is for Alibi) or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series (One for the Money, etc). I can’t help wondering what will happen when Grafton reaches Z and Evanovich gets past 21, what will they name the novels? You don’t have to write a series in order to use these gimmicks. Here are some examples of authors using numbers in their titles:
I had to include the classic A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Even if you have never read the novel I bet that you have heard “It was the best of times, it was the worse of times…..” This novel has sold over 200 million copies. Its 45 chapters were originally published in 31 weekly installments. It is set in London in the period before and during the French Revolution and has a “cast of thousands” by following many character, most notably Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Please don’t let that discourage you; it is well worth the read.
Admittedly I have not read The Three Cornered World by Natsume Soseki yet, but I am looking forward to it. The Sunday Times states that Soseki is “the greatest Japanese Novelist of the modern period.” Now available in an award winning translation by Alan Turney, this novel was intended to be a “haiku-novel”. The novel explores a painter who escaped to a spa in the mountains. There he meets the mistress of the inn and imagines painting her. This novel has been cherished as a treasure of the author’s works by generations of Japanese readers.
Having reached this age (a little bit beyond) I agree that “Fifty is Not a Four Letter Word“. This novel by Linda Kelsey explores the trials that some women feel once they have reached the half-century mark. I for one have always admitted to my age, after all it is just a number, but there are people who go into crisis mode. With Hope Lynhurst-Steel, she does face the a variety of crises; a job loss, a distant son and husband, and a sick mother. This funny heart warming novel show us that middle age crisis is not just a male issue.
I first read Robert McCammon’s wonderful novel, Boy’s Life many years ago and then he kind of slipped from my mind. With The Five,I am regretting this and now plan to read the novels I missed . The Five title kind of reminded me of the “Fab Four” and that is what drew my attention in the first place. The members of this band are not the Beatles. Their last tour is traveled via a broken down van, with band members fighting, and ready to quit. Along the way they meet a mysterious young woman that write one last song about and an Iraq war veteran. The war veteran is convinced that he must kill the members of the band. If I can’t persuade you maybe this will :
“The Five isn’t just Robert MCCammon’s best novel in years; it’s his best novel ever! Terrifying, suspenseful, unputdownable, and full of rock and roll energy. It’s also uplifting, a book you’ll finish feeling better about your world, your friends, and you’ll beg your friends to read” Stephen King.
Dr. Robin Cook is an American doctor and novelist who writes about medicine. He seems to go in and out of fashion with readers placing his books on hold but he is on the upswing with the movie Contagion (based on the novel of the same name) in the theatres now. Chromosome 6 is another of his cutting edge medical thrillers. Organ replacement has grown into an underground business. In this novel the organs are not coming from humans but from apelike creatures called bonobos. It is not one of his best books in my opinion as it was a bit predictable, but there will always be a place on the bookshelf for Cook.
There are only so many hours in a day so there does occasionally come a time when I have discovered a book through a movie that I watched. Seven by Anthony Bruno came to my attention through the wonderful movie starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The plot presents two mismatched cops. One is a “newbie” and the other is a seasoned cop just days away from retirement. They are presented with a case in which the killer who intents to kill using the seven deadly sins as his trademark, starting with gluttony. While reading this I kept trying to remember what the deadly sins are. This is not a read for the faint-of-heart.
Unlike Christine, Stephen King does not present a flesh eating car in his novel, From a Buick 8. In the novel the Buick acts as a vortex; mind you one with teeth. When Ned Wilcox’s father is murdered he takes to visiting Troop D and his father’s friends. They are the ones who explain the story of the mysterious Buick 8. When Ned decides to climb into the seat of the Buick….well, read the book to find out what happens to him. You may be in for a surprise!
I read The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong a couple of years ago. If I had the time I would re-read it; I enjoyed it that much. I don’t know if it was because to the history, the setting or that the characters are so believable. The novel blends fact and fiction as it is written by Charlotte Taylor’s own great-great-great granddaughter. Can you imagine having a history of you ancestors, especially the female members. I guess that is the part I enjoyed the most. Taylor was supposed to be the first white woman in the Miramichi area. An extraordinary woman, she traveled form England, the West Indies and ended up in New Brunswick. It is quite the read and I believe most people would enjoy it.
There are some books that you read to savour; each word or phrase makes you want to linger and even re-read that passage it is so good. And then there are books that appeal to the adrenaline junkie in you. The Last Ten Seconds by Simon Kernick is one such book that gets my fingers racing to turn the page to the next exciting word, page and chapter. They just zoom past. The book opens with Sean Egan lying seriously wounded surrounded by dead men. The story then flies back to 37 hours earlier and you find out that Sean is an undercover policeman on the hunt for a serial killer, “The Night Creeper”. The other strong character in the novel is DI Tina Boyd who is also hunting the killer. They arrest Andrew Kent, who may be be innocent of the crimes! The chapters alternate between Tina and Sean’s point of view which makes the story whip by. Does it take you 10 seconds to read this book? No, of course not, but I bet that it will be a real page turner for you.
So there you have it, novels one through ten and you don’t have to read them in order like a series. Enjoy!