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books and reading

The Devil of Nanking

I’ve read a few of Mo Hayder’s books in the Jack Caffrey series, starting with Birdman, then The Treatment, then Ritual. I plan on finishing those, but when I discovered this one-off book that also was set in Japan (to fulfill a PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt), I was pretty excited. Someone I follow on bookstagram (here I am: https://www.instagram.com/being_fictional/) posted it, and thankfully it was 1.99 on Kindle, so I snatched it up.

From Goodreads: Like the thrillers of Thomas Harris and Philip Kerr, Mo Hayder’s riveting new novel animates the dark corners of modern history. The solitary Englishwoman Grey comes to Japan looking for a rare piece of footage that is said to document a particularly monstrous episode of the 1937 Nanking Massacre. Her quest will take her to a reclusive scholar and a wheelchair-bound gangster who clings to life with the aid of a mysterious elixir, and to a handsome American whose interest in Grey may be more sinister than romantic. The result is a work of spine-chilling suspense, masterful historical detail, and otherworldly beauty.

Fair warning that Mo Hayder’s books are graphic, and this one is no exception. My goodness. It’s definitely not for the weak-stomached. That said, it was a great story. I couldn’t put this down. Once Grey stumbles upon some answers, and secrets start being revealed, I was completely sucked in and couldn’t read fast enough to see what the “truth” was. If you can handle graphic content, I definitely recommend this one.

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books and reading

A Tale for the Time Being

I like to read in the car when I’m waiting to pick my kids up from school. There are no distractions. I don’t have the internet beyond what’s on my phone, but I have most data turned off so I can’t really use any apps. I could be listening to podcasts, but that’s just not engaging enough. So, I keep a book in my car that I only read during pick up. This method works pretty well and gives me a good chunk of time to read because pick up lines are long. I read A Tale for the Time Being in its entirety while sipping tea and eating Belvita biscuits and waiting. And what a fun book it was to read.

Ruth lives in Canada on a remote island filled with interesting people who are the nosy sort. While walking along the beach, she finds a bag of books. One is a diary of a young Japanese girl. The others are related to the diary. The girl, Nao, is miserable. She used to live in the states, but when the technology world crashed with the economic recession, her family was forced to move back to Japan. She was bullied, and her dad was out-of-work. Nao spends the summer with her great-grandmother who is a Buddhist nun and learns her own superpowers. Meanwhile, Ruth is a struggling writer with a brain block she can’t undo. She makes it her mission to find Nao and connect with her.

The stories alternate with each chapter, but I really looked forward to reading Nao’s sections more, especially once she starts to learn about her family’s history. A friend recommended this book to me ages ago, and I see why. It’s one that is tough to read at times (Nao’s dad doesn’t handle unemployment well) and you really empathize with Nao and her struggles to find herself. But I really enjoyed this book.