Friday, July 04, 2008

Four brief book reviews.

I’ve been a bit behind on the whole “a book a day” thing, as well as reviewing them for the blog. But anyway, here’s four books I read this week:

- Memories of My Melancholy Whores (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Underwhelming, to say the least. It was turgid, dull and extreeeeeeemely unsexy (I don’t want to hear about a 90-year-old man’s waning libido, cheers). Marquez, you can and have done so much better.

- Dumb Witness (Agatha Christie)
One of my favourite Agatha Christie mysteries. Not quite up there with The ABC Murders and And Then There Were None, but certainly one of her finest, in terms of plot, character development, and narration. The idea - of Poirot investigating the murder of a woman who sent him a letter long before she died - is ingenious, and there are various twists and turns throughout.

- Star Struck (Val McDermid)
Emma 4-xing loves this book!!! After I ploughed through my own “script” of Butterfly, I thought the two words “crime comedy” would instil nothing but a shudder in me. I was wrong, for Star Struck has got crime and humour in spades. It’s about Kate Brannigan, a P.I. in Manchester who has been hired to be the bodyguard of famous TV star Gloria Kendel, who has been getting death threats. But once she takes on the job, it's more than just scary letters that she has to contend with as a celebrity mystic-meg type gets murdered. The book encapsulates all of Kate’s life, from her employees who are getting arrested or hooking up in cyberspace, to her brooding boyfriend, to all the eccentric people she meets on the job. Kate Brannigan is an amazing role model. Honestly, with the influx of wags and empty-headed glamour models that we're seeing in the Media, reading about Kate, with her Thai-boxing, Chinese food eating, fast-talking ways was an absolute breath of fresh air. Star Struck is very clever, well-written and insightful, it played a bit like an episode of Jonathan Creek as written by Sophie Kinsella. I absolutely adored it. (And I've just found out that there are about 5 more Kate Brannigan books written! *is happy*)

- The Lady and the Unicorn (Tracy Chevalier)
If anyone can make the process of painting and creating and weaving a tapestry interesting to a complete art-phobic like me, it’s Tracy Chevalier. Girl with a Pearl Earring was one of the most beautiful and underratedly sexy books I’ve ever read. TLATU is a little less subtle in its characters’ carnal desires, and I for one couldn’t see what all the women in the book saw in Nicholas (who didn’t sound that fit, imo) and why they were willing to run the risk of getting pregnant by him. That said, the narration, which jumps from character to character, is really well done – their inner monologues are completely believable and it’s refreshing to hear a story from different angles. And a tapestry of a unicorn sounds sublime.

7 comments:

Kayleigh said...

Ooh I'd quite like to read the Chevalier one, GWAPE is obe of the sexiest books ever. I'm currently reading The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. It's a rarity - a ghost story that's actually pretty damn scary. What you reading next?

monkey said...

i read "the lady and the unicorn" for an art project but i also quoted it in my english lit c/w, killing two birds with one stone!

i loved it. it was vivid, sensual, romantic and the creation of the tapestry, as you said, was described so well.

and nicholas sounding like a shit, but whether he was fit or not wouldn't have affected alenoir, she couldn't see him after all ;)

Sharanya said...

Ooh, Dumb Witness. I liked it, though not as much as And Then There Were None. At college last year, we did the play version of it (ATTWN) and the ending was quite different!

Btw, I loved your idea of posting pictures for frequent blog topics :)

Emma said...

What am I reading next... well, I *still* haven't started on the Tamora Pierce novels I've borrowed, nor the Paul Auster ones, so they have to be top of my list. Though I found a book called "Short Stories by Vladimir Nabakov" and I really wanna read that first!

The Woman in Black - is that to do with the West End play by any chance?

Kayleigh said...

Yeah it's an adaptation of the book. I'd love to see it, apparently it's brilliant. I've still got Hamlet and Eclipse to read too.

Just a girl said...

♥ Lady and the Unicorn, and ♥ Tracy Chevalier.

Glad you're going to read Tamora Pierce! Happy summer reading!

x
JAG

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