#5Books: We made it; it’s 2017

#5Books for the week ending 1117

People, we made it. Happy New Year!

It’s 2017. After arguably a shit last week of 2016 with George Michael, Carrie Fisher AND her mom, Debbie Reynolds’ passing, 2016 could not end soon enough.

Given all the shit going down everywhere else, 2017 could be just as sucky, but I choose to be optimistic. And also, when real life gets shitty, that’s when books come in handy — or in this case, book recs.  Make real life wait for a bit.

So, for the first rec of the year, I have an unusual mystery and I think it’s one of those ones you either love or hate, there’s no inbetween.

Second, well now… let me put it this way — it’s about a most private kind of theft. Or weird. It entirely depends on your view of body fluids.

Third, who watches Scandal? Olivia Pope, White Hats Scandal? It’s been a little bit too soap opera-ish (but dear God, please tell me Mellie won the election) for me of late in the last season but I will never not bow down to the awesomeness of Olivia Pope in fixer mode. And while this guy in this book may not be Olivia, he is a fixer.

Fourth, what if you believed your mother left you, but when you see her again, you realise the truth was way different and infinitely more horrible than that?

Fifth, I am ambivalent about short stories, but sometimes there are those I have to read. Like this, the fifth book rec this week

The Borrowed

This book is divided into six sections and told in reverse chronological order, as it chronicles the career of Kwan Chun-dok, a legendary Hong Kong detective. This book takes place during major events in Hong Kong’s history, events like the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and in tandem covers major events of the detective’s career. One section is also set in the present, or rather 2013, and the book focuses on how everything in life is connected, and how history repeats itself – including political upheaval and change. There’s something here, that I want to know more about – connections maybe. How we’re doomed to repeat the past? I don’t quite know how to articulate it accurately, I just know I want this to be GOOD.

No Happy Endings

The premise of this book is so off the wall – and not at the same time – that I desperately want it to work so much. I mean, Fantine is released from jail and immediately blackmailed into robbing a sperm bank. For sperm from Ivy Leaguers, high IQers and the like. I mean – sperm bank! I never thought I’d be writing that in conjunction with a mystery. Oh, and there’ s a psycho after her called the … wait for it… The Milkman.

Shining City

The more I read this blurb, the more I think how masculine this sounds whereas if this were a female, it would be more… psychological? I don’t know, I’m basing this off how Olivia manipulates and calls in favours to fix her clients’ problems. But the President is about to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, he needs to be vetted so cue Peter Rena and Randi Brooks, fixers, who are hired to uncover everything the judge wants to hide… I swear there was an exact Scandal episode like this…but I don’t think it had the judge become a target for a killer, while Rena tries to keep him safe. How does a judge become a target for a killer? What secrets is he hiding?

The You I’ve never Known

Whew. This book. Okay, Arielle has always believed her mother left her and her father, who’s moved them around from job to job her entire life. Only, he lied. He kidnapped her from her mother, and when her mother finds her again, she tells her everything: that she was kidnapped, that her mother never stopped loving her, or looking for her. But, Arielle loves her father despite what he’s done. So how does she choose between the two? So much character potential, and this set-up, be still my breaking heart. How does she even make this decision? And more importantly, can the author pull this off???

The Near and the Far 

Is a collection of short stories from writers in Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Hong Kong and who are part of a Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange Program. I mean look at this blurb – because I don’t know how to summarise this:

It’s a sweltering night in Kuala Lumpur, and a journalist is protesting in a city on the edge of meltdown. It’s post-9/11 San Francisco, and a woman meets her foster child, who provokes painful reminders of her past. It’s contemporary Bangkok, and a writer’s encounter with ladyboy culture prompts him to explore gender boundaries. And high in Queensland’s Border Ranges, a boy prone to getting lost is having six tiny silver bells pinned to his chest …

I mean, KL, San Francisco, Bangkok and then Queensland? Diverse settings and equally diverse stories… sounds good right?

And that’s the first bunch of 2017 done! I think of them all, The You I’ve Never Known is one I can’t get out of my head. Don’t get me wrong, I want them all but this one sounds like it will have the most delicious characterisation – what do you think?


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