Friday, November 30, 2007

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Vintage International, New York, 1962

This book is written as a poem and commentary. The poem's author, John Shade, is neighbours with Charles Kinbote, a rather eccentric academic man from somewhere in Eastern Europe. It is Kinbote who writes the whacky commentary.

I love the wry humour of the author. The character Charlie Kinbote is highly entertaining and I never knew where he was going with it (his commentary on the poem) next.

The randomness of this book is engaging.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld
2005, Random House, New York

The story of a lower middle class girl from Midwest America named Lee who gets into an east -coast boarding school. She has trouble fitting in and is a little (but not overly) shy. The book is set over her four years there (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) and focuses on Lee's experiences and how she changes as she grows up in this environment.

I'm not sure if I enjoyed reading this one or not. It was very real. A little too real - I felt quite uncomfortable reading it in places, it just hit too close to home, even though I didn't relate personally to settings, characters or events. I couldn't read it in large chunks because it made me feel too depressed and I had to stop. I guess that's a sign that it was very well written in that it transports the reader into the story really well.

I normally don't like 'dumb' characters, but I found myself warming to Lee. It was a great insight into American east-coast boarding school life.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Doctor Who: Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury edited by Paul Cornell

Doctor Who: Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury
Paul Cornell (Editor)
2004, Big Finish, Maidenhead

Most of these stories were really good - I liked the recipes and the story of Poor Tom. Very festive, and very Dr. Who.

There are 35 items in total, including recipes, poetry and micro-fiction. It would have been handy to have pictures of all (or the first eight, rather) Doctors handy, so I could picture who was Who in the stories (pun intended).

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Century Rain by Alastair Reynolds

Century Rain
Alastair Reynolds
Gollancz, London, 2004

This is a modern science fiction novel split between two stories - one set in 1950s Paris and the other in the far future above a destroyed Earth. The 'science' part of the story is very interesting astro-physics type stuff, and the 'noir' side has a not-so hard-boiled private dick who is such an interesting character.

I read this slowly because I enjoyed it so much!

The writing style is a bit haphazard and juvenile at times - there are a few issues with continuity and lingo. But it can be overlooked, it doesn't interfere with the story too much.

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