The Book List #38

The Book List #38

Gentlemen and Blackguards by Nicholas Foulkes
year: 2010 | pages: 336 | rating: 4/5

Gentlemen and Blackguards focuses on the corrup Derby race of 1844 and recounts the gambling obsession, which gripped early 19th century Britain. Nicholas Foulkes turns this factual story into a gripping and compelling narrative where class rivalries, race dramas, and strong characters dominate telling the history of how gambling prompted a very important social change. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was well written with a steady pace. Foulkes weaves historical facts to recreate dramatic events and at no point does the book grow tiresome; a thoroughly interesting read and one I would recommend if you're interested in reading about the history of gambling.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July
year: 2015 | pages: 276 | rating: 3/5

Cheryl, an uptight worrisome woman who lives alone, is obsessed with her work colleague Phillip. When Cheryl's bosses ask her to take care of their twenty-one-year-old daughter, Clee, everything changes. This description makes this book sound pretty straight forward, but it isn't; Cheryl believes her and Phillip have been "together for many lifetimes" and she is also haunted by a baby she met when she was six, which she believes she meets as other people's babies. Clee is selfish and cruel, and engages in a peculiar silent contract with Cheryl where they fight to release tension and sexual frustrations. The First Bad Man sways from funny to tender, it deals with complex relationships and peculiar circumstances; there are moments that are especially poignant and others that seem a little silly. I honestly don't know how I feel about this book.

The Removers: A Memoir by Andrew Meredith
year: 2014 | pages: 192 | rating: 3/5

Unlike Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which is a fascinating exploration of the taboo of morbid curiosity surrounding death, The Removers is very much a memoir that involves working with the dead but isn't necessarily centered around it. I enjoyed reading this coming-of-age memoir, however, despite being darkly poignant in places, it wasn't quite the book I was looking to read; I didn't connect with Andrew Meredith or his life experiences and I would have preferred reading more about his experiences of working with the dead than his personal life and relationships.