Yeah, I did this to myself.
When Richard Adams died, I wanted to put one of his books on my list. I read Watership Down as a teen, and though it was all about nature being hard there was a pleasing amount of worldbuilding around the rabbits that scratched my fantasy itch, and I enjoyed it greatly.
I knew people talked about The Plague Dogs in the reverent tones reserved for the British tradition of traumatising kids with beloved media, and I kind of wanted in. Surely it couldn’t be that b-
Reader, it’s harrowing. Spoilers and cruelty to animals follow.
First things first, if you look this book up all the marketing blurbs tell you it’s a thriller. It is not. And expecting it to be a thriller does a disservice to the book.
As we’re still in “books based on films I watched in 2016” I only had vague memories of this one (the film’s title is Nocturnal Animals). The story within a story’s beginning I remembered, and some dark weirdness in the framing story. Some of it matched the book and some of it didn’t. I’ve since looked up a synopsis of the film and I can see those differences pretty clear now. Interesting choices were made!
This time, an actual spoiler warning. Also contains men raping and murdering women, if that’s something you are not in the mood for.
This is the last non-fiction for a while – 2016 Sneak was really full of Based on True Story films – and it was a nice one to end on. Sullenberger is the pilot who landed that plane in the Hudson, if you will recall. If you’re like me, you may not have immediately appreciated how impressive this was!
The film was a little ehhh – you could tell it was reaching for drama, and the ratcheting up of tension in the post-ditching inquiry scenes might be seen by some as distasteful (I don’t doubt they’re stressful but in the end they do good work and must be thorough) – and I wasn’t expecting much from the book, but it was a pleasant surprise.
Snip for length.
Another book I saw the film of, but I think we’re still in 2016 here so I don’t remember much about the details… I remember finding the film pretty interesting as far as Sneak-films-based-on-true-stories go, and that’s about all that remains.
I know the war on drugs is very unfashionable at the moment, but this is a far cry from sending someone to prison for fifty years for smoking a joint. I also don’t know enough about the US to know if undercover customs agents are part of the general police problem over there, so all I can do is apologise if so, but at the same time I think Mazur is the kind of person I’d want to be bringing financial criminals to account.
You know what though? I really enjoyed this one.
Before we start, no, I have not seen Field of Dreams, so you won’t find anything out about how similar or different it is to the book.
Secondly I don’t know if the classic spoiler warning counts here? Field of Dreams was popular I guess? And it’s quite old? Eh, who knows. Use your best judgement.
I think I have a reading problem.
Anyway. This was sort of unintended – I’d meant to read a Dickinson a while ago after I heard he died, but I couldn’t find the book that was on my to-read list. Later, in a secondhand bookshop, I saw Eva and bought it, forgot to put it on my to-read list, and went on. The other day I was doing some tidying and came across it, and as I’d just finished The Snowden Files I thought it would serve nicely as a fluffy palate cleanser before I dived back into the murky world of depressing international politics.
It was… not fluffy. One day I’ll learn this about kids’ books.
It was so good.
The back copy of this book is intentionally very vague to avoid a major early event/twist, so if you want to read about animal rights, environmentalism, scientific morality and the nature of the self, I will lend this book to you. Don’t spoiler yourself.