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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's April Ketchup 4/4

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message 1: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1388 comments 13)The Bones of Avalonby Phil Rickman (historical thriller)440 pages. Source: Paperback Swap Started: 4/21 Finished: 4/22

Why Read: I like books that deal with John Dee, Elizabeth I's court astrologer. This book is actually from his perspective. He's seeking the remains of King Arthur which were allegedly stolen from Glastonbury. He's working on behalf of Elizabeth I who wants to build a shrine for King Arthur.

Comments: This is a thriller, not a mystery. There is a murder, but it's soon solved and it's also rather beside the point. The main focus of the book is a plot against Elizabeth I. The people involved in the plot are the only surprise. I liked the John Dee perspective better than the plot. Rating B

14)The Nanjing Massacre: A Japanese Journalist Confronts Japan's National Shameby Honda Katsuichi (history) 357 pages. Source: Library Started: 4/22 Finished: 4/24

Why Read: This is an account by a Japanese journalist who wants to make his country aware of their war crimes in Nanjing during WWII. It was originally written in Japanese. I found out about this book from an author's note in Ha Jin's novel Nanjing Requiem: A Novel. It was difficult to obtain from the library. I had holds canceled when libraries couldn't locate their copy. I wonder if copies of this book are getting stolen.

Comments: There is historical background that was very illuminating. Honda describes a killing contest between two Japanese soldiers. I learned from Wikipedia that the families of these soldiers sued Honda for defamation of character. But Honda had good evidence and the court ruled in his favor. I gave this book an A. See the rest of my review in my April blog posts at

15)Lone Wolfby Jodi Picoult (legal thriller)421 pages. Source: Library Started: 4/24
Finished: 4/25

Why Read: I have really liked almost all the books that I have read by Jodi Picoult, and this one is about a wolf researcher which is right up my alley.

Comments: The wolf researcher, Luke Warren, is an interesting character though not completely sympathetic. The character I liked most was his son, Edward. It seemed to me that Edward was more of a lone wolf than his father. I liked the way the book resolved. I gave it an A. Jodi Picoult mentions a book about a real wolf researcher who is like Luke Warren. I did a blog post about this novel and the book about the real wolf researcher in May at

16)Half Blood Bluesby Esi Edugan (historical fiction) 319 pages. Source: Library Started: 4/27 Finished: 4/28

Why Read: This is about a half African/half German jazz musician. He started out during the Weimar Republic, but once the Nazis came to power both his music and his ethnic heritage bacame dangerous. I knew nothing about Afro-Germans and this seemed like a good choice for a Germany book in the Around the World challenge.

Comments: I really didn't like the viewpoint character. He was very unreliable narrator. I gave this book a B- See the rest of my review in my May blog posts at

17)Strangersby Mary Anna Evans (mystery) 311 pages. Started: 4/29 Finished: 4/30

Why Read: I'm determined to be caught up on Faye Longchamp.

Comments: This is a better book than Plunder: A Faye Longchamp Mystery. The characterization is really good. I also liked the way the plot strands got braided together. I gave this an A.

That's quite a number of books though a number of them were shorter e-books. It took me this long to catch up because I was such an active blogger this past month. Sorry about that.

message 2: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments You might be interested in reading this one. I read it several years ago and it's one of those that you never forget. Unfortunately, the young female author committed suicide shortly after her book was published.
The Rape of Nanking (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Similarto The Rape of Nanking (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II is a bestselling 1997 non-fiction book written by Iris Chang about the 1937–1938 Nanking ...

message 3: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1388 comments Brakedrum wrote: "You might be interested in reading this one. I read it several years ago and it's one of those that you never forget. Unfortunately, the young female author committed suicide shortly after her bo..."

I know about Iris Chang's book, Lorraine. I may eventually read it. You may want to read Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Amibition, and the Loss of an Extraordinary Mind by Paula Kamen.

message 4: by Shomeret (last edited Jun 11, 2012 06:26PM) (new)

Shomeret | 1388 comments One other thing about Honda Katsuichi's book as opposed to Iris Chang's--Iris Chang did not have access to the Japanese sources that Honda uses. He uses journals from Japanese soldiers which describe what they did in Nanjing. He also uses a Japanese military manual which justifies killing Chinese prisoners. It's really quite an eye opener.

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