At first the plot line of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency isn’t quite clear. It’s a little bit of everything. The story starts off with Richard MacDuff attending a dinner at his Cambridge Alma Matter with an old professor named Professor Chronitis. During the dinner the professor performs a magic trick that seems nearly impossible. He takes a salt shaker and a clay pot and then fuses the two together. It’s not until after dinner that Richard realizes he forgot to pick up his girlfriend Susan, the sister of his boss Gordon Way. He leaves an awkward message on her answering machine that will later incriminate him in the untimely death of his boss.
It’s this message that brings Richard and his old pal Dirk Gently together. Having taken many names before Dirk is now running his own P.I. business where he believes that all things are connected together in some fashion or other. Using very unorthodox methods, Dirk begins to work out what happened to Gordon Way and it’s far more complicated than a simple homicide.
There’s the Electric Monk, an alien from outer space trapped on Earth, and a time traveling professor who’s managed to hide his time machine disguised as his apartment. While he unravels the death of Gordon Way, clearing Richard’s name in the process, he discovers that the alien has a nefarious plan and his using a man determined to prove himself at any cost.
I won’t spoil the entire plot unraveling but I will say that this book is one rip roaring adventure. Just when you think you have it nailed down it takes a turn in the opposite direction. This novel had a bit of everything in it. There was humor, mystery, science fiction elements, and romance. It took a bit for the plot to start moving but once it did it moved quickly. Anyone who enjoys Doctor Who themed novels with love this one.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!
Have you ever wondered what a penwiper is? If you have the answer lies in this delightful novel. Set in 2057, time traveling Oxford dons are looking for lost relics from Coventry Cathedral for their boss Lady Schrapnell. It’s her mission to rebuild the cathedral because visiting the cathedral changed her great great great grandmother’s life. Sent to jumble sale after jumble sale, Ned Henry’s mission is to find out what happened to the bishop’s bird stump, the one relic Lady Schrapnell must have. His last drop send Ned into the hospital for sever time lag. Because of his time lag, Ned is sent to Victorian England in order to recover and complete a mission that might disrupt the time space continuum.
Verity Kindle is the reason Ned is sent back to Victorian England because she has done what no other time traveler has managed to do, she’s brought back something from the past. A cat to be precise. This cat has caused an incongruity that must be fixed or it could alter history forever.
This incongruity sends Ned and Verity on a delightful mission to right the wrongs done by bringing the cat into the future. They have to make sure certain couples meet, break up other couples, and get Lady Schrapnell’s great great great grandmother to Coventry Cathedral. But each time they try to fix the incongruity they make things even worse. That is until they find out that maybe the incongruity is fixing itself and their just part of the process.
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a love letter to literature. There are so many homages in this novel it kept me on my toes trying to keep up. From all things Victoriana, including Tennyson, hilarious Oxford dons, and spiritualism, to references to the Golden Age of mystery writer’s, including Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. This novel has it all. Some of the best moments are when Ned and Verity are discussing the incongruity like Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. They are trying to hard to piece the pieces together they fail to see the bigger picture. Willis took these beloved literary characters and gave them more human counterparts. I feel like Ned and Verity solve mysteries like any of us would. Looking at everything like it’s a clue and focusing on the minutiae trying to be Hercule Poirot.
With elements of science fiction, romance, and mystery, this novel can’t go wrong. It’s a great introduction into science fiction for those readers like myself who haven’t really read much in the genre before. You just kind of get your toes wet into the genre with the elements of time travel.
Rating: 5/5 Read it and try not to laugh at her sly look on literature.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!
The next book in Book Battle 2015 is a novel set in the future. Not having read many science fiction novels, I wasn’t really sure where to go with this category. I asked everyone I know who reads sci-fi and compiled some possibilities and then went browsing the local library. Funny enough, I didn’t end up choosing any of the novels that were recommended to me. I chose Connie Willis’s novel To Say Nothing of the Dog. I just kind of stumbled across the book while I was looking for another one and the title caught my eye. After I read the synopsis I decided that this was going to be the sci-fi book for me.
Set in Oxford, England in the year 2060, the novel is about a group of time traveling scholars who are looking for the Bishop’s Bird Stump in order to rebuild Coventry Cathedral for their patron Lady Schrapnell. The main character ends up getting something called time lag and then is ordered to take a break. To escape the demands of the patron, his team sends him to Oxford in the Victorian era to take a break. But apparently, there is boo break to be had as another colleague brings back an anomaly from Victorian England to the present that could destroy the space time continuum.
Needless to say, this novel sounds like a lot of fun. It’s got all the elements in it, mystery, intrigue, time travel, romance, humor. I can’t wait to get started. Happy reading!
“So they were trying to re-invent themselves and their universe,” says the narrator in Slaughterhouse Five. This quote sums up one of the main themes in the novel quite nicely. Trying to cope with his life and especially his experiences in WWII, Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time. He creates a new universe where he can travel back in forth in time to escape the situation he’s in. His time travel lets Billy conveniently escape whatever situation he doesn’t want to deal with, like visiting with his mother in the hospital. When each time shift occurs, it’s interrelated to whatever Billy happens to be thinking about or experiencing. Billy’s thoughts are heavily influenced by his favorite author, Kilgore Trout. Billy even states the similarities between his time on Tralfamadore and Trout’s novels, in particular the novel called The Big Board.
Slaughterhouse Five was my first foray into Vonnegut and I have to say it was amazing. This novel really got me thinking and analyzing making my English major kick in big time. There were so many themes and symbols that were just beautiful in the novel, like the one above. The other symbol I really liked in the book connected to this theme of mortality. Billy is talking to the Tralfamadorians about why they chose him to take back to their planet. The Tralfamadorians explain that every moment simply is. Like being an insect trapped in amber. This was a perfect way to explain Billy’s experiences in WWII, forever encasing him and connecting him to the tragedy of Dresden.
The narrative style of Slaughterhouse Five presents itself like a stream of consciousness writing but is very cleverly mapped out. The narrator begins the story providing the background and then the novel jumps to Billy Pilgrim and his experiences, with the narrator interjecting into Billy’s narrative making the story more universal.
I won’t give away any more about the novel because I really think you need to go pick it up and read it. Vonnegut is an amazing writer with such a unique voice and command of his own style. After finishing Slaughterhouse Five, I immediately wanted to read more of his novels. Perhaps I’ll get to explore more of the fourth dimension. So it goes.
Stay tuned for the next installment in Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!
Since reading the Veronica Mars novel Mr. Kiss and Tell, I’ve been feeling nostalgic so I decided to read a favorite book from my childhood for this part of the Battle. The novel is Dreadful Sorry by Kathryn Reiss. I was totally obsessed with this book in elementary school and on through middle school. I must have read it at least 3 times over the course of a few years. I remember being so intrigued by the plot and the characters.
Essentially, from what I remember, the plot revolved around a girl named Molly who suffers from a crippling fear of water and drawing. She has terrible nightmares about something that happens in the past and must find what the connection is between herself and a girl that died many years ago in a different time and place.
Now I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories and mysteries which is probably why this book appealed so much to me. I devoured R.L. Stein Fear Street novels, Christopher Pike, and Diane Hoh. Novelists that always kept you on your toes and created story lines that sent chills down your spine.
The only thing I hope is that the novel stands the test of time and that I’ll still enjoy it just as much as I did as a child, which is hard. Many of the other novelists have not stood the test of time. Things I loved as a kid I just scratch my head at now. Here’s to hoping this novel will not be one of those.
Happy reading fellow Book Battlers! Let me know what your favorite reads were as a child!