Batting .500 so far...
The Comfort of the Seine by Stephen Volk: everyone knows Holmes is a riff off of C Auguste Dupin, Poe's legendary detective. This meta tale breaks down the wall between Holmes and Edgar Allan quite nicely (once you shake off the idea of Holmes in teenaged lust.)
The Adventure of Lucifer's Footprints by Christopher Fowler: a rare miss by the creator of the Bryant and May mysteries. So good a build the end was destined to be a let down.
The Deadly Sin of Sherlock Holmes by Tom English: easily my favourite Holmes tale of all time. A cursed book written by a mad monk called Moriarty causes those who read it to enact the sins described...
The November and December book selections from the (I've now named it) "Are you fucking kidding me!" book club...
I've already read one of these, The Kindly Ones, and I've not and don't think I ever will properly recover from it. The Catholic School doesn't sound much lighter.
Combined, they are about 3000 pages long of pseudo biographical gut wrenching ugh. Gawd damn. Luckily I get to pick for the spring. I think lightness and funny will be my theme. Anyway, descriptions with the photos...
A semiautobiographical coming-of-age story, framed by the harrowing 1975 Circeo massacre
Edoardo Albinati's The Catholic School, the winner Italy's most prestigious award, The Strega Prize, is a powerful investigation of the heart and soul of contemporary Italy.
Three well-off young men--former students at Rome's prestigious all-boys Catholic high school San Leone Magno--brutally tortured, raped, and murdered two young women in 1975. The event, which came to be known as the Circeo massacre, shocked and captivated the country, exposing the violence and dark underbelly of the upper middle class at a moment when the traditional structures of family and religion were seen as under threat.
It is this environment, the halls of San Leone Magno in the late 1960s and the 1970s, that Edoardo Albinati takes as his subject. His experience at the school, reflections on his adolescence, and thoughts on the forces that produced contemporary Italy are painstakingly and thoughtfully rendered, producing a remarkable blend of memoir, coming-of-age novel, and true-crime story. Along with indelible portraits of his teachers and fellow classmates--the charming Arbus, the literature teacher Cosmos, and his only Fascist friend, Max--Albinati also gives us his nuanced reflections on the legacy of abuse, the Italian bourgeoisie, and the relationship between sex, violence, and masculinity.
Named one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times of London
"Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened."
A former Nazi officer, Dr. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, Speer, Heydrich, Höss—even Hitler himself—play a role in Max's story. An intense and hallucinatory historical epic, The Kindly Ones is also a morally challenging read. It holds a mirror up to humanity—and the reader cannot look away.
"I've a side project for you."
"Read a book."
A beat. "Sorry? What? Did you just take a blow to the head?"
"A specific book. Before the "Are You Fucking Kidding Me Book Club." I want you to read this ONE book."
"You've been writing a lot about the non-existance of good and evil. A very Buddhist point of view but you're not quite getting it."
"And this book will help me get it?"
"No. This book will test your resolve on the idea. The only way to get there is to get there. There are no shortcuts. Just a big hill and legs to walk."
(my Buddhist teacher is a good kisser. Otherwise I doubt I'd be able to put up with his Yodaness)
"This book will either make you BELIEVE in compassion and want to fight every single day of your life for it or you'll fall back into us/them/good/evil/right/wrong. But MOST OF ALL... this book will make you believe in the power of one person making a difference... a thing I think you've been forgetting lately."
"Your solution to my birthday blues is read a book?"
"Yea. I know you so freaking well."
The incredible true story of a Polish resistance fighter’s infiltration of Auschwitz to sabotage the camp from within, and his death-defying attempt to warn the Allies about the Nazis’ plans for a “Final Solution” before it was too late.
To uncover the fate of the thousands being interred at a mysterious Nazi camp on the border of the Reich, a thirty-nine-year-old Polish resistance fighter named Witold Pilecki volunteered for an audacious mission: assume a fake identity, intentionally get captured and sent to the new camp, and then report back to the underground on what had happened to his compatriots there. But gathering information was not his only task: he was to execute an attack from inside—where the Germans would least expect it.
The name of the camp was Auschwitz.
Over the next two and half years, Pilecki forged an underground army within Auschwitz that sabotaged facilities, assassinated Nazi informants and officers, and gathered evidence of terrifying abuse and mass murder. But as he pieced together the horrifying truth that the camp was to become the epicenter of Nazi plans to exterminate Europe’s Jews, Pilecki realized he would have to risk his men, his life, and his family to warn the West before all was lost. To do so, meant attempting the impossible—an escape from Auschwitz itself.
Completely erased from the historical record by Poland’s post-war Communist government, Pilecki remains almost unknown to the world. Now, with exclusive access to previously hidden diaries, family and camp survivor accounts, and recently declassified files, Jack Fairweather offers an unflinching portrayal of survival, revenge and betrayal in mankind’s darkest hour. And in uncovering the tragic outcome of Pilecki’s mission, he reveals that its ultimate defeat originated not in Auschwitz or Berlin, but in London and Washington.