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Showing posts from August, 2015

Time is a factor, Lois

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I'm well aware that I need to be delving further into my '30 for 30' list, unless I want to spend the last weeks of my twenties reading solidly.  Now that I think about it, I kind of do but that might be difficult with the other demands of life.  However, I can tick another book off the list on the basis that I've read 'Ulysses' already.  That's good news, what with it being about 1000 pages and all.

My next '30 for 30' read will be Jonathan Franzen's 'The Corrections', a book that I'm 99% sure I've read but about which I can't remember anything significant.  I remember enjoying it, and I did consider skipping it, but it seemed like a cheat when my review would have been: “Yeah, I've read it, I think...'  It'll have to wait a couple more days until I've finished my current arbitrary read, 'The Third Reich' by Roberto Bolaño.  

For those not in the know, and I was not either,  Bolaño was a Latin American …

Still Life

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This evening, I literally had ten pages left of 'Life Drawing' by Robin Black but my husband managed to call me out for dinner before I could finish it. I'm going to save the last bit for before bed. For now, let me tell you all the reasons I love this book.
When I previewed 'Life Drawing' earlier this week, I predicted that it would be a dark tale. While that's not entirely wrong, it doesn't quite convey the tone of the book. The opening sentence warns the reader that the story will end with a death, and we are told within the first few pages the reasons for the tension beneath Gus (Augusta) and Owen's marriage. Our understanding of their marriage develops as we read about their daily routine working as a painter and writer respectively in their house far away from society. Here, while the impression of a successful marriage is maintained, the reader is acutely aware of the rottenness underneath, particularly as Owen sinks further and further into his w…

Back into my comfort zone

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I've spent quite enough time fuming about how much I disliked 'Echoes of Om'.  It's time that I move onto something more positive.

On that note, I went to the library and picked up my next arbitrary read: 'Life Drawing' by Robin Black.  I was immediately pleased when I pulled this off the shelf, as the cover has a bit of a Bryan Fuller/Hannibal aesthetic.  This idea of something dark and psychological is borne out by the blurb on Amazon, hinting at secrets, betrayal and jealousy.

I don't tend to read marital dramas but most subjects can become compelling when the inner lives and motives of characters are exposed.  Some of the best writing comes when not much is happening with the plot yet the reader witnesses every twist and turn of the protagonist's mind.  It's not a form for everyone though, as demonstrated by some readers calling the writing style 'slow-going'.  I'm a snob who spends far too much time reading 19th-century literature (an…

Two tales of the Empire

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I finished 'Dodger' even quicker than I'd expected.  Non-stop rain in the UK gave me a golden excuse to curl up in bed with a book, and this was a most welcome companion.

Benmore's tale of a grown-up Artful Dodger returned to English shores was an enjoyable 'sequel' to 'Oliver Twist'.  The title character was not a clear hero, but his thievery and trickery were made sympathetic through his love for Ruby and nostalgia for his early life with Fagin.  The plot is every bit as over-the-top as a Dickens novel, just with a less dense writing style and a more manageable list of characters.

Perhaps my only complaint is that I'm not 100% sure which audience the book is aimed at.  From the cover, I would guess it's for older teens, but some of the language and sexual references might make parents wary.  The storyline, characters and general writing style would be easily accessible to teens and I found it a bit young for me, despite it being shelved under Ad…