November books — finally got to Larsson. Also: Barnes, Child, French, Greaney, Ness, Stross

* “The Sense of an Ending”:amazon by Julian Barnes. Late in life, a man is confronted with relationships and events from early in his life, and tries to make sense of them, struggling with his faulty interpretation of events. At my age, I find this story resonates with me. Amazon at 4 stars, “Goodreads”: almost 4, it is a fine tale.
* “The Affair”:amazon by Lee Child. Purportedly the back story on the Reacher character — how he came to lead his life of opportunistic vengeance. Good but doesn’t really explain how Reacher’s personality evolved — he is pretty quick to violence in this first book, how did he get that way? Amazon and “Goodreads”: both at 4 stars, just a 3 for me.
* “In The Woods”:amazon by Tana French. A detective, damaged by an unsolved tragedy in his childhood, investigates a murder in his childhood neighborhood, and the unresolved issues of his youth overwhelm him. Nice. Amazon only gives 3 stars, “Goodreads 3.6”:, there are large divergences in the reviews. I tend to be more towards 4 stars.
* “The Knife of Never Letting Go”:amazon by Patrick Ness. YA science fiction about an off-earth colony struggling with a native disease with unusual effects. Interesting premise but the main character is unappealing. Amazon and “Goodreads”: give this about 4 stars, I’m just a 3 star.
* “The Gray Man”:amazon by Mark Greaney. A super assassin. Kind of fun. 4 stars on Amazon, “3.96 on goodreads”:, that all seems a little over the top, but it is a solid book.
* “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”:amazon, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”:amazon, “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest”:amazon by Stieg Larsson. The upcoming movie finally motivated me to read these — I had delayed for a long time, fearing that their Da Vinci Code-like popularity. But the first book was awesome, contrasting two highly moral characters, one pursuing truth, one pursuing justice. The second book was ok but the super-human nemesis was a bit trite. The third was again great but in a different way — the interplay of media, criminals, victims, police, government agencies, and the good and bad players in each of these organizations made for compelling reading. Worth the buzz. 4+ stars for the first and third.
* “Rule 34”:amazon by Charles Stross. Eh. A near future with commerce, internet, spam, fabrication all run rampant. Interesting trends but characters are dead dull. Giving up at halfway point. Amazon says 4 stars, “Goodreads says 3.74”:, but this is just a 2 star for me.