Fiction Mini-Reviews: Trying a New Genre and Revisiting an Old Favorite

January 11, 2021 Uncategorized 6 ★★

Fiction Mini-Reviews: Trying a New Genre and Revisiting an Old FavoriteTitle: Let the Right One In
Author: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

I’m currently working through the backlog of unread books on my shelves. That sometimes means a departure from my current reading tastes – more YA, more fantasy and sci-fi, and fewer books by authors of color. This book is one I requested in a gift swap when I thought I might try reading some horror. I’ve since discovered I don’t like horror very much, but this is one of the books in that genre that I’ve enjoyed best. The supernatural horror was delightfully creepy, perfect for fans of the recent Netflix show Evil. The human horror in the story was far scarier to me. I often found it stressful to read about. There one truly awful scene where cats are injured that I saw coming and was able to skim, but I nearly knocked a star of this rating for it. It was just terrible to read. The book did keep me turning pages, wanting to know how everything would turn out. I wasn’t emotionally invested though and it just wasn’t my kind of story, so there wasn’t anything to make me really love it. It’s also now been a little while since I read this and I’m finding that this story hasn’t stuck with me, so I have knocked a star off for that!

Fiction Mini-Reviews: Trying a New Genre and Revisiting an Old FavoriteTitle: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman, Neil Smith
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

This book was the opposite – a book I fully expected to love by an author I’ve enjoyed before. Fredrick Backman is one of several delightful authors who writes the sort of stories where random strangers get to know each other and as a result, their lives are all improve. Sarah Addison Allison’s plots come to mind as similar. Backman also manages to deal with surprisingly heavy themes though. I can’t imagine one of SAA’s books starting with a bank robbery turned hostage situation, as this one does! Despite the more or less harrowing back stories of all our protagonists, this book feels cozy, funny, and uplifting. There are moments of tragedy, but they only make the moments of human connection and kindness feel even more powerful. I cried several times while reading this one. I loved that the author had that ability to pull me in and move me. The plot was delightful – bouncing between before, after, and during the robbery; full of surprising twists; and keeping me invested with foreshadowing and cliff-hangers. The writing was perfect, mixing run-on sentences and shorter snappier ones. The dialogue was often particularly funny. The descriptions of people quickly conveyed little details that made me love every character, especially combined with backstories covering foundational moments in their lives. This book really had it all – emotional investment, pacey plot, delightful dialogue, and the most human of characters. I know it’s a bit early to make this prediction, but I’m certain this book will make my favorites list at the end of the year.

6 Responses to “Fiction Mini-Reviews: Trying a New Genre and Revisiting an Old Favorite”

  1. Helen Murdoch

    I got Anxious People from Book of the Month just the other day and am looking forward to reading it after seeing such good reviews on a number of blogs. I liked Beartown by the same author.

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, awesome! Book of the Month seems like a good way to get it; library hold lists are very long right now. Beartown is one of the few books I’ve not read by this author, but I’d definitely like to pick it up.

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, I’m excited for you too! I ended up having to buy this for my book club, because the library wait lists were so long and I’m not sorry to own it. I hope your holds list is a bit shorter though 🙂

  2. Rennie

    I remember reading Let the Right One In years ago and loving it, although I have no idea why I would have because horror isn’t my thing either. The story hasn’t stuck with me over the years either!

    • DoingDewey

      I did think Let the Right One In had a lot of great, creepy scenes. My husband is more into supernatural horror than I am, so I might pass it along or at least suggest he watch the movie.

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