Blurb: Carrie Fisher's first novel is set within the world she knows better than anyone else: Hollywood, the all-too-real fantasy land of drug users and deal makers. This stunning literary debut chronicles Suzanne Vale's vivid, excruciatingly funny experiences - from the rehab clinic to life in the outside world. Sparked by Suzanne's - and Carrie's - deliciously wry sense of the absurd, Postcards from the Edge is a revealing look at the dangers and delights of all our addictions, from success and money to sex and insecurity.
Thoughts: I honestly could not put this down. I loved it. I loved the fact there were multiple different writing styles in it which gave it a sort of unpredictable nature. It was incredibly funny and articulate but also very gripping. Cannot wait to read more of Fisher's novels!
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
Blurb: Harry is waiting in Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing - if they can. But what will Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him?
Thoughts: I read this over the Christmas/New Year period when I knew I could fully commit to reading it without distraction. It did feel a fitting end to the initial run of Harry Potter books. I did find some characters deserved so much better (Lupin and Tonks for one) but was generally quite pleased with how it ended up for everyone. It's amazing to think that despite being 28, I have managed to avoid almost all spoilers since this came out in 2007. I think this is maybe one of the few series of books I will happily re-read again and get more out of each time.
6. Berlin: The City and the Court - Jules Laforgue (translated by William Jay Smith)
Pages: 218 (2212)
Blurb: Jules Laforgue, who has been called the "French Keats" and whose work greatly influenced T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce, went to Berlin in 1881 as French reader to the Empress Augusta, a descendent of Catherine the Great. Written shortly before his death from tuberculosis at age 27, Berlin, la cour et la ville was not published until 1922 and is still little known in France.
This first complete English translation of an important lost work is a brilliant example of what Jacques Barzun has called the poet's "visual reportage". It presents a precise picture of what everyday life was like in Berlin in the 1880's. Like his friend Seurat, Laforgue shows us what people did, what they worse, what they are, what they saw and heard. He paints memorable portraits of the leading court personalities and pays special attention to the Prussian military, the power of which permeated every aspect of life.
William Jay Smith, the translator, was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress 1968-1970 (a post now called Poet Laureate). In 1991 he was awarded a medal by the French Academy for his translations of French poetry.
Thoughts: I cannot remember where I bought this book but my guess would be it was a rare find in Waterstones. An impending trip to Berlin prompted me to read it, as well as the fact my last three reads had all been crime novels. I wasn't entirely sure of how the book was going to go, especially after reading the translator's introduction which just annoyed me. For a book translated in the 1990s, his ridiculous view of Germans being only out for expansion and that as a race were inclined to war did not exactly set us off on the right foot. It felt very Thatcher-esque and pot kettle black with the seemingly American love of violence. Thankfully Laforgue himself is really the making of the book. Some would call him sassy, I'd lean more to the side of acerbic. His eye for detail is astonishing and his wit is not something I think anyone would associate with the time (or a Frenchman /joke!) I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought it an excellent eye into what was a very private court in Europe. Would recommend to anyone interested in German history.