Thursday, July 29, 2010

Patricia Veryan: Some Brief Folly

One Word Summary: The chimney sweep

More Words: Either I'm sick of Regency, or Patricia Veryan is not Georgette Heyer. Clue, I'm not sick of Heyer. Two things I didn't like- first our lady has to beg her hero to marry her ad nauseum and he refuses on the most feeble of pretexts. Second- an unfaithful wife won't consent to a divorce? When does a Regency Lady ever have any choice in this matter?

Synopsis: Miss Euphemia's carriage accident forces her to accept hospitality in the home of a rake. They fall in love, but he wont marry her because... And her brother falls in love with the Rake's sister, but he wont marry her because...

Rate: 1 betrothal

St. Martins Press 1981

Rosina Lippi: The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

One Word Summary: Dog Lover's Paradise

More Words: Why can't a conversation just be a conversation? For the most part I'm incapable of analyzing people's words while they're talking. I usually need a few days to figure out what their word choice, inflection, and tone really meant (and what I should have said). If this novel reflects reality then other people must be more interesting/intelligent/crazy than me. Also Julia and Dodge rushed to conclusions, which is boring. I like a good tension filled courtship. I couldn't finish the last 20 pages; but I did like the expensive bedding.

Synopsis: A Claustrophobic and an Agoraphobic fall in love and then learn how to live with each other.

Rate: 2 pillows
G.P. Putnam's Sons 2008

Carloine Adderson: Sitting Practice

One Word Summary: the second noble truth/thinking
More Words: The blurbs on the back were so enticing that I had to try this book. And I wasn't disappointed. It is very well written. I especially liked how two people, so in love, can completely not get what the other is thinking or feeling.

The Globe and Mail review: Adderson achieves a remarkable
effect with her prose. Its clarity is so overwhelming that it becomes
The Vancouver Sun wrote: Adderson's prose is characterized
by fierce intelligence, razor-sharp wit, and wry omniscience. She writes with a
tone of subdued mirth or bemused wisdom that lends the book both immediacy and
intimacy. In her hands sex, religion, parenting, even something as simple as
making bread come from a completely unexpected vantage that makes them suddenly
new and strange.

Synopsis: Iliana and Ross are in love. Six weeks after their wedding a car accident leaves Iliana paralyzed. She and Ross struggle to cope with their personal and mutual tragedies. Plus a whole family of idiosyncratic people join them for the ride.

Things Some People Might Not Like (TPMNL): The F-Word, Adultery, Atheism, Gluttony
Rate: 3 tennis balls
Trumpeter 2008

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ally Carter: Only the Good Spy Young

One Word Summary: Tombs of Blackthorn
More Words: ummm, the first book was really fun- before it turned into a series. It still is fun, which is why the seriousness is a strange mix. I'm feeling a little bored with paragraphs that begin "You may think x about spys, but you'd be wrong because you forgot we're teenagers and we're girls." What I think is: I'm gonna hafta quit these books before the story gets out of hand like the gilmore girls.

Rate: 2 spy kits

Jane Austen: Persuasion

One Word Summary: looking at her hands
More Words: This might not be Austen's finest story, but I still like it and the writing is very good. I wish Cousin Elliot didn't have to be vilified to be rejected. It doesn't do much for Anne's credit to be admired by no one but a scoundrel (not including all the other eligble males: the country bumpkin, or the unfaithful sailor). Furthermore, it is rather convenient if a little odd that Captain Bentwick would choose Miss Louisa Musgrove instead of Anne (or at all).

Anyhow, I only picked up this novel because I read half of Pride Predjudice and Zombies (along with my favourite parts of Pride and Predjudice), and hated it. Yes it was silly, outrageous, and violent, but Austen's witty phrasing didn't always survive the meat grinder. Really only the fight scenes (with Darcy and Lady Catherine) and the study questions were any good. Oh, and that one line where Charlotte prefers Darcy over his cousin because his head, and therefore his brain, is bigger. That line is funny. Seth Grahme-Smith is welcome to his royalties, I'll stick with the original stuff. To get the whole zombie brain drain out of my system I read a little from Sense and Sensability too.

Rohinton Minstry: A Fine Balance

One Word Summary: Eunuch, cut out my heart
More Words: The author supplies the despair, and the reader must provide the hope. This is a very good tale. The opening quote from Balzac's Le Pere Goriot is appropriate.
"Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you
will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this
story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for
your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy.
But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true."
Synopsis: The birth and decline of an unlikely friendship between four lonely people trying to survive the Indira Gandhi administration in 1975. Or the fabulous adventures of two country mice in the city by the sea, with short appearances from the widow, the student, and the hair collector.
Rate: 5 tears
Other Books To Read: The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, and The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

"Why does everybody have to choose the railway tracks only for dying?"
grumbled another. "No consideration for people like us. Murder, Suicide,
Naxalite-terrorist killing, police-custody death - everything ends up delaying
the trains. What is wrong with poison or tall buildings or knives?"

Best of Intentions

I normally love reading books for children but lately I've been unable to sink my teeth into any... here are some that look promising. Hopefully I can come back to them later.

The Mousehunter by Alex Milway.

Crows and Cards by Joseph Helgerson.

The Traitor King by Todd Mitchell. ( I like dedication, and I like the acknowledgments) Mr. Mitchell has a new book out, The Secret to Lying, it's got good reviews on B&N, that'll be worth a look at too)

Dedication: For my family, who believed in me even when I said I wanted to be a writer.

Josephine Tey: Daughter of Time

One Word Summary: Tonypandy
More Words: I looked up Richard III on Wikipedia just to verify the official story about his reign. I confess I like Inspector Grant's version much better (Joan Wolf vouchsafes a Good King Richard in her regency, Fools Masquerade, too), although I'm not much interested in searching primary sources to be sure Richard didn't have a hump. As for the story (a spoonful of sugar, really), I got the impression Ms. Tey was a bit of an intellectual snob. First she had her inspector wax eloquent on the decline of the novel. Then, and this doesn't support my accusation, but still... she gave each character a superfluous name. The woolly lamb. The amazon. The midget. The actress. The charwoman. The last two don't count since she didn't actual use those names, but I got so used to thinking of her characters as labels that I don't remember their real names. Anyhow, it's a clever technique, and I can't help but think she overused it to make some point which flew entirely over my head. Ipso facto, she must be an intellectual snob. Because my taste runs to romance instead of mystery the only thing I can really say to recommend Daughter of Time is 1) It's educational and 2) it's short and therefore 3) it's not a waste.