Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Nevermore: Ove, Girl on the Train, Lucifer Principle, Summerlong, and I, Richard

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore readers have been divided over A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: some love it and some hate it.  Ove is a Swedish man, retired at a young age and recently widowed.  His obsessive habits show the strain he has been under and how he is desperately trying to regain control of his life.  He is not a particularly likeable character at the beginning, but even those who disliked the book agree that he becomes understandable and more likeable before the book closes.  Another reader said that she just started the book last night, but that she really understands Ove’s OCD characteristics.  Another reader is looking forward to the movie (coming soon to a library near you.)

Continuing with fiction, another reader had just finished The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  The story centers around Rachel who passes neighborhoods on the train and wonders about the people she sees, to the point of obsession.  As a crime is committed, Rachel becomes involved in the investigation because she has been observing neighborhood activity as she passes on the train.  Our reader called this a very well written and interesting book, although full of dysfunctional characters.

A masterful British mystery was next with I, Richard by Elizabeth George.  A series of short tales, this collection plumbs the depths and darkness of the human psyche.  The first story features detective Thomas Lynley who appears in other of George’s works.  Richard the Third is also featured in the title story in a twisting tale which combines actual historical figures with a modern mystery.  Our reader considered this a satisfying book from a very good writer.

Another reader turned to non-fiction with The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by Howard Bloom.  Although first published in 1995, this book continues to feel relevant today as Bloom explores how people form groups in order create societal change.  Calling his field “mass behavior,” Blooms draw from microbiology, physics, cosmology and psychology (among other areas) in order to understand how people have made changes through the relatively short time of recorded history.  Our reader found it very fascinating.

Next up was a fantasy called Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle.  Lioness Lazos is working as a waitress, but is a mystery to those around her.  She obviously has a secret, but is drawn to a couple who offer her a place to live on their property.  With some sort of mysticism, Lioness changes the lives of those around her.  Beagle is better known for his fantasy classic The Last Unicorn, but our reader very much enjoyed this newer novel.

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