These are the books I read over this last week.
Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch is the second in the Rivers of London Series. Detective Peter Grant is back, still a constable with the London Met, and still an apprentice wizard. This time someone or something is killing Jazz musicians, and if Grant and Nightingale don’t figure out what’s going on, Peter’s father could be in danger. The overarching story of the series amps up in this book, with things getting more complicated and dangerous on a number of levels. There is also a fair amount of sex in the story- but it does end up being an important element of the story, so it’s not gratuitous.
Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch is the third book in the series, and Grant is investigating a suspicious death in a railway station. Things are, of course, far more complicated than they seem, and new magical beings come to the attention of Nightingale and his ever growing crew. I can’t go into much more without giving plot points away, but it’s quite good. There is no sex in this one, but there is swearing.
There’s always a secret door,’ I said. ‘That’s why you always need a thief in your party.’
‘You never said you used to play Dungeon and Dragons’, Lesley had said when I explained my reasoning. I’d been tempted to tell her that I was thirteen at the time and anyway it was Call of Cthulhu, but I’ve learned from bitter experience that such remarks generally only make things worse.
Broken Homesby Ben Aaronovitch is the fourth and most current book in the series. Strange things are happening, people are dying, and it all seems to be connected to a tenement block in London. Grant and Nightingale investigate, and as they do, mysterious elements from other investigations come to light and then get more tangley. This whole series is so much fun. The relationships are well developed, the descriptions of London are vivid, and the mythology of magic so cleanly thought out.
That’s why a sudden cat in the night can make you jump and some people, when distracted, can walk right out in front of a bus. Your brain just isn’t interested in those large moving chunks of metal or the static heaps of brightly colored stuff that piles up in drifts around us. Never mind all that, says your brain, it’s those silent fur-covered merchants of death you’ve got to watch out for.
That which does not kill us has to get up extra early in the morning if it wants to get us next time.
Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joyby Stephanie Nielson is a book club read, and I’m glad, because even though I was the one who suggested it for book club, I don’t know that I would have gotten around to reading it for a while. This is the true story of Stephanie Nielson, author of the popular blog nieniedialogues. She and her husband were in a plane crash and she was burned over 80% of her body. When I posted yesterday, I was only about 1/2 way through the book, and I will just say that things get more intense after the halfway mark. After the accident, Stephanie was put into an induced coma for 3 months so that her body could heal. When she woke up, it was another number of months before she would look at herself in the mirror. Her experiences are so hard, her struggle so immense. She says that she was given the choice, of allowing herself to die or to live, and that she was told that if she lived, her life would be incredibly hard. But she chose life so that she could be with her children. When her children finally see her, months and months and months after the accident, her baby doesn’t recognize her as his mother, calling his aunt momma instead. One of her daughters refuses to come in the room, too scared to look at her mother for months. This is where the heartbreak really is, as so much of Stephanie’s identity and sense of self worth is in being a mother. When she physically can’t mother her children, and when they refuse her as their mother, it’s just devastating. But life goes on, and tiny step by tiny step, things get better. And it’s a beautiful thing to watch, (especially knowing how it all turns out, via her blog) as what is weak is made strong, what was broken is repaired.
What I love about this book is that it’s a book about hope, but it doesn’t shy away from exposing the moments when that hope is threadbare. Stephanie struggled with depression, anxiety, guilt, and pain for a long time after the accident, and she doesn’t sugar coat that at all. And that just makes the joyous moments when that hope is fulfilled all the more beautiful. I love how it shows that just because we feel a certain way at one point doesn’t mean that we will feel that way forever.
There’s a lot in this book; because though thankfully few of us will be in a horrific plane crash; everyone goes through hard times. There’s a lot to learn from Stephanie, her husband, even the doctors who treat them in the hospital.
This is my life now, and it isn’t going away.
We’re trying to help her, not just give her what she wants.
Life isn’t like it used to be, but it’s still going to be wonderful, Stephanie. It’s still a beautiful life.
We look for Christ’s scars because they are evidence of what He did for us. They’ll be the first things He shows us when we see Him again. Your scars tell a story too. Although they may not make you feel attractive, they are a witness of a miracle, that God blessed you to live, and that you have accomplished very difficult things.
That makes 8 books this month (2500 pages) which is my lowest month so far this year. Next up I’m diving into The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, which is the size of a small planet, but I’ve heard delicious things so I’m excited.
What are you reading?