Saturday, October 31, 2009

Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews

Murder with Puffins
Donna Andrews
2000, 2001, St Martin's Press, New York

Freelance metal-worker (I think) Meg Langslow decides to have a quiet weekend in her aunt's summer house on Monhegan Island with her boyfriend Michael. However, when they arrive, her entire family is there, and when a local misanthropic artist turns up dead, Meg puts her amateur sleuthing skills to use.

This was an unusual cosy mystery in that the amateur sleuth is on holidays! Usually their day-job comes into the story somehow, but I'm not even certain I know what Meg does for a living (something to do with metal-work I think). Anyway, it was a good cosy mystery. A little convoluted at times with 'cliff-hangers' at the end of every chapter, which got a bit annoying. But other that that I did enjoy the read very much. Didn't really care whodunnit, I just enjoyed reading about the whacky characters.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mouthing the Words by Camilla Gibb

Mouthing the Words
Camilla Gibb
1999, 2002, Vintage, London

This is the story of Thelma growing up. She has a disturbing childhood and becomes anorexic and borderline with multiple personalities.

A very quick read and an interesting book. I found that the characters and situations felt very real. The ending was very abrupt but then so is growing up!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Dead Babies by Martin Amis

Dead Babies
Martin Amis
1975, 1988, Penguin, London

A group of young English people living together in a house invite some American friends of theirs for a weekend of drugs, drink and sex.

I would never recommend this book to anyone. That said, I did enjoy it. All the characters are vile things, and the situations so far removed from any reality I've ever encountered. (If life was really like that in the 1970s, how did anyone survive it?) It did take a while for me to warm up to the book, then I just sped through the final chapters, eager to see what was going to happen. And I had to store this book upside down whenever I was reading it in public because the front cover is covered in drugs! What kept me reading in the early stages was the writing style. Amis has a way of drawing the reader in ... it's very intimate.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tales of Long Ago retold by Enid Blyton

Tales of Long Ago
Enid Blyton
1965, Dean & Son, London

Tales from Greek mythology and from the Arabian nights retold by children's author Enid Blyton.

I enjoyed reading these very much. I must say my Greek mythology knowledge is very poorly lacking, so to read the stories as written by Enid Blyton is a great introduction to some of the myths I have only ever heard about in passing. This book is a little un-PC and somewhat dated, but that's just how Blyton is.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Cut a Long Story Short by Jeffrey Archer

To Cut a Long Story Short
Jeffrey Archer
2000, HarperCollinsPublishers, London

Short stories written by Jeffrey Archer. Most of these are based on actual true life events and follow themes such as betrayal, love and discontent.

I found this to be an interesting collection, especially the real life stories. My favourite story would be 'The Endgame' in which a wealthy widower pretends to be destitute in order to discover how he should split up his fortune.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
John Godey
1973, 1975, Hodder & Stoughton, Hornby

Book upon which the movie, and the movie, and the movie, is based. A group of four armed men hijack a New York City subway train demanding one million dollars for the release of hostages.

I enjoyed both versions of the movie I have seen (the Walter Matthau and Vincent D'onofrio versions), and now I have really enjoyed the book as well. The book does a great job of describing the culture and attitudes of 1970s New York City. It's very dated, but that's to be expected.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham

The Seeds of Time
John Wyndham
1956, 1969, Penguin, Middlesex

A collection of science fiction short stories from John Wyndham written in the 1950s. They are stories of the future concerning space travel and the future of humanity.

These stories had some strong and interesting themes. Wyndham has a very smooth writing style.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Love You to Bits and Pieces by Gillian Helfgott

Love You to Bits and Pieces
Gillian Helfgott
1996, Penguin, Sydney

This is the story of Australian pianist David Helfgott. It is told by his wife Gillian who recounts her time with David and of David's past before she met him.

A very interesting biography of an amazing man. Gillian obviously knows her husband very well, and I liked the non-linear style of the book as we went along on the journey of discovery Gillian herself was on.

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