Book reviews: April picks


I have decided that April is the absolute most beautiful time for Geneva. I might be a little biased, because we arrived in Geneva in April (more than two years ago now!) and we were a little shell-shocked by the stress and Geneva blew us away by being just stunningly beautiful. But every year, I love this season more and more. It’s so lushly green it feels a little tropical. Yes, there’s a lot of rain, but it means everything is growing like crazy. I’ll just be walking down my street and can’t get over how insanely gorgeous everything is. Suffice to say I’m still in love with my adopted home.

The other day I was walking X to school and saw a man slowly pedal by us on his bike. He had a cigarette dangling out of his lips. It struck me as such a European thing. You would never see that at home. In Canada, bikers are nearly fanatical about health. I would be curious to know how many Canadian smoking bikers there are. Here, it’s like: of course I smoke. Of course I bike. Of course I do these things at the same time! It made me laugh.

Here are some good books I’ve been reading. Both are old-timey adventures, not too fluffy at all. Maybe suggestions to put on your summer reading list?

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

This book is so much fun. It is the kind of book that keeps you reading late into the night (and I am very jealous of my sleep time, so this is definitely saying something). I’ve read that it is like a mix of Robin Hood and Ocean’s Eleven, but I think that comparison is dated. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a mix of Ocean’s Eleven and Game of Thrones, set in a fantasy version of the Venetian Renaissance. A group of confidence men attempt larger and more daring heists, as different players in the criminal world try to take them down. And there’s just a little bit of magic. And lots of violence. If you really don’t like graphic violence in the books you read, I would avoid this. But other than that, I highly recommend this for some entertaining escapism.

The Devil in the Marshalsea, by Antonia Hodgson

I was very surprised to find myself enjoying a book about an 18th century debtor’s prison, and yet this book was also very fun. I find it can be quite the balancing act to write a book that is historically accurate, while also having a storyline that anyone would want to read, but Hodgson manages this very nicely and has created a classic whodunnit set in the squalour and corruption of the very worst of London. Our dissolute protagonist Tom Hawkins finds he must discover the identity of the murdered man who’s bed he’s sleeping in after being thrown into the Marshalsea, or join his fate. Was it his alluring widow? The corrupt warden? Or his rather devilish roommate?


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