Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Five Last Books with Nick Garlick

As part of the Storm Horse blog tour, I am pleased to welcome author, Nick Garlick, onto the blog to tell us all about the last five books he read. 

I'm always reading. In fact I get irritated if I don't have a book on the go. The key for me isn't subject matter but readability: do I want to find out what happens next? If I do, then I'll read it - whatever it is. Here are the last five books that kept me turning the pages all the way to the end.
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
Adam is on his way to visit his father. On his own. He left home without telling anyone where he was going. He just grabbed his bike and went. As he rides, his story is interspersed with interviews between Adam and a man called Brint. We don't know who Brint is. Or when the interviews took place. Or why they seem to be about a past Adam can't remember. I Am the Cheese kept me reading, and guessing, right up to an ending I never saw coming for a second.
If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn
Aliya's living in London after escaping from Afghanistan. When her brother's falsely accused of a terrorist bombing, she teams up with local boy Dan to discover the truth. They're two likeable characters in a book I couldn't wait to get back to each evening. I loved the way the author kept slipping in little details about the cultural differences between them - language, food, etiquette and so on - without slowing down the plot. And the ending was wonderful.
The Thicket by Joe Lansdale
Joe Lansdale writes stories set - most of the time - in East Texas. The characters are strange and unpredictable. The dialogue is funny and endlessly quotable. The events are vivid and very often bloody. In The Thicket, a teenage orphan sets off in pursuit of his kidnapped sister. His companions are a bounty-hunting dwarf, a gravedigger and his half-tame boar along for the journey - and any dead bodies he might find to eat. Hard to describe, because there's nobody else writing like this. I love Lansdale's books.
The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr
Ukraine. The Second World War. Kalinka is a Jewish orphan whose family was murdered by the Nazis. Hiding out in an animal reserve, she encounters two Przewalski's horses and runs away with them when a detachment of soldiers is ordered to slaughter every animal. The pace and the tension of the story never let up, Kalinka is a clever and resourceful heroine, and the Przewalski's horses quite unique. In fact it's hard to tell sometimes who's rescuing who: is Kalinka saving the horses, or are they saving her?
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
I hated Science at school and remembered almost nothing I was taught. That's all changed with this book, which is one of my all-time favourites. This, in fact, was the fifth time I'd read it. And it was as fascinating as ever. Bill Bryson knows how to make science interesting, slipping in jokes and little details that bring every subject to life, and writing in an engaging style that's just a pleasure to read. I still don't really understand relativity, or quarks, or cosmic background radiation. But Bill Bryson makes me want to keep trying.
Storm Horse by Nick Garlick out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

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