The first day of a new month and it’s time to take a quick snapshot of what I’m reading, hearing and watching.
It seems insensitive to say I’m enjoying reading a book set partly in Auschwitz concentration camp. Appreciate would be a more apt and tactful word perhaps to describe my reaction to A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar. It’s a curious mixture of alternative history and pulp mystery that imagines a prisoner in the concentration camp using his dreams to block out the pain of his experience. His dream envisages that Hitler’s rise to power was thwarted and Germany became a Communist state. Many of the former regime leaders, like Rudolph Hess, have fled to London. Wolf (the meaning of the name Adolph) has become a private detective, hired by a beautiful Jewish woman to track down her sister. I came across this when the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prizes were announced last month and Tidhar’s book was named as one of the winners. I’m perplexed why this hasn’t had more attention because its a stunning novel.
I’ve returned to some crime fiction for my companion on the work commute. Ruth Rendell can be relied upon to tell a good story and The Vault is up to her usual standard so far. It features her best-known creation, Chief Inspector Wexford, except that in this novel he is chief inspector no longer having retired from the force. He’s finding the transition difficult so is more than happy when a former colleague asks him if he’d be able to help as unpaid advisor on a gruesome multiple murder. The Vault is the penultimate novel in the Inspector Wexford series. Sad to think that with Rendell’s death earlier this year there will be no more Wexfords.
I’ve been playing around with some apps and software programs that enable you to create pictures based on quotes. You know the kind of thing I’m sure – Facebook and Twitter are chock full of them. I thought they might liven up some of my Writers on Reading posts. Inevitably the free programs are rather limiting and I’m not ready to commit to a subscription just yet. My attempts are a bit basic so far.
Has anyone come across a good but relatively easy to use program?