Oprah Time: Jarhead by Anthony Swofford, Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn, Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

Back again with a couple of good books for you, courtesy of Amazon’s summer sale. First up is a marine sniper turned english teachers memoirs of Gulf War I. Well written and painfully honest, Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead exposes the tedium and the base attraction of war from viewpoint of an educated grunt. Highlights include Swofford’s disgust and realisation at being billeted in barracks that were built years before in preparation for American soldiers to fight for Saudi oil and then lain empty waiting for him.Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is a classic chambara tale of honour, love, duty, retribution, sacrifice and revenge with a side dish of court politics. Hearn’s academic background and love of Japanese culture shines through the copy on every page. Part one of a trilogy, I will be certainly looking out for the next two books.

I was attracted on a whim to the title of Bangkok 8 because of a colleague of mine Lucy was leaving to go travelling. John Burdett’s book was a pleasant surprise, part murder mystery, part travel guide and reflection on Buddhism. The story centres around the death of a policeman and a foreigner in Bangkok. It unfolds in front of you, in an intelligent yet light read.