Friday, 23 October 2009

It's Been a While

This time around I really do have a good reason for not having updated. I've just had my tonsils out, which, at my age, is not very amusing. A word to the wise, if you're over 30 and haven't had your tonsils out, keep them. OK, maybe not if they're causing you problems, but be warned, you face 10 days of hell. I'm glad they can only do that once.

So, moving swiftly along, I have a few books I should update on.

The Cruellest Month by Louise Penny - if you like Ms. Marple type mysteries, you'll like this one. The story is set in a small village in Canada. A group of neighbours in the village of Three Pines gets together to hold a seance on Good Friday, and this turns out to be the beginning of all of the troubles. You can guess that there's a death and an Inspector (Gamash) who comes to look into the death and quickly declares that it was murder. It's a Whodunit in the classic sense and well done. Seeing as how I love a good murder, I've found me a new mystery writer. I know I'll be reading more of her work. 5/5

A Personal Devil by Roberta Gellis - Another Whodunit with an interesting twist. A Personal Devil is set in the 12th century (politically tumultuous time with lots of wrangling for the throne (Steven and Maud) and little justice etc.) and has one very interesting twist: the protagonist is not just a woman, but a whoremistress. Magdalene runs a high class whore house in an old priory. It's a curious perspective to take and one I really like. Granted, if you are very religious, you'll want to avoid this one for many different reasons, but mostly because you wouldn't agree with the softening of the perspective on the rights and wrongs of prostitution. However, if that doesn't bother you, it's another good whodunit with some interesting twists in it. Again, I think I'll be reading more of these. 4/5

The Pilgrim of Hate by Ellis Peters - This is one of the Cadfael series, which is I believe, quite popular. I'd only ever read one before and it was good, but not brilliant. Good comfort reading. However, I was less impressed with this one. I can't put my finger on it, but it just didn't do anything for me. It felt a bit forced and contrived. Still, I won't judge the rest of the series on it. After all, you can't have an entire series be your favourite book. 3/5

Smiley's People by John le Carré - I read this one just because I felt it's one of those books which get a lot of mentions. Maybe it's just that it's from an era which has run out of romance since the end of the cold war, but I didn't care for it. There was too much hemming and hawing and not enough action or introspection for my taste. It all seemed a bit vague to me. It just wasn't my taste, so don't let my 3/5 rating put you off.

Watership Down by Richard Adams - Again, this is a "must read" book. It gets referred to often, so I wanted to know what the fuss was. I didn't think it was a brilliant work of literature by any means, but it was a good read. The story was good, the idea original, the adventures fantastic and the characters very palpable. I liked it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good, light read. 4/5

Syren - Angie Sage - This is the fifth book in the Septimus Heap series which I really, really like. The series is lots of fun and I can recommend it for all ages. Having said that, this won't be my fav out of the series. It was a good read, but somehow it just didn't grab me like the others did. I think I personally would have preferred that it take place in the castle, or at least a bit closer to all the other characters, but that's my opinion. However, the story in itself was quite cleverly done with many different things coming together like the pieces of a puzzle. I'm hoping it won't take all too long for the next book to come out because I want to see how the characters develop. 4/5

Arabian Nights - Another of the "must read" books on my list, although this is just a compilation of some of the stories. Hmmmm, what to say, I'm glad to have read it because I now know the gist of a lot of cultural references, but the stories themselves aren't any great shakes. I'm sure I would have liked it better as a child though since it all leaves lots of room for the imagination. So for kids, 4/5, for adults, 3/5. I have to admit that I'm glad not to have had to read all 1001 stories.

That's it for the time being. I'm working on A Tale of Two Cities right now, which is a favourite classic of mine. I've also started The Bell by Iris Murdoch, which is proving quite good. So much to read, so little time!


Trish said...

Oh the tonsils! I can totally relate. I had mine out a few years ago and it was dreadfully painful. But as mine were the size of lemons (not kidding), it was time. And now I never get sick--hope that you are the same.

You've done a lot of great reading! I haven't read Tale of Two Cities but would like to one day.

Jeane said...

Never had my tonsils out, but it doesn't sound like any fun. Glad you're back.

Watership Down is one of my favorite books. I haven't read any of the others.

postJazz said...

Fleeting and in passing - the Cadfael series is much better in the ITV adaptations, starring the fantastic Mr Derek Jacobi and Terrence Hardiman. They're great stories, but it's the storytelling that I think is lacking in the novels.

Laura's Reviews said...

I can't wait to read your review of A Tale of Two Cities. I'm sorry to hear about your tonsils, I hope you feel better soon!

I have an award for you.