October 20th, 2012

brighteyed_mungo

Books 36-40 2012

Catching up with posting my books, yay!

36. Eric by Terry Pratchett (fantasy/humor) - Week 32
It's a Terry Pratchett novel. Therefore it's funny more or less by definition. In this particular Discworld novel, the wizely cowardly wizard Rincewind is summoned by an ambitious youth and mistaken for a demon, and one particular demon of Hell realizes that humans are hell of a lot better at thinking up tortures than they are, making all his underlings rather disgruntled. When these two individually amusing follies cross paths, even more funny happens.

37. Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (fantasy/humor) - Week 33
See above about Pratchett. Here he decides to take the idea of Hollywood magic a little more literally, putting an intriguing Discworld twist (what else?) on the art and science of film-making, with an ending more dramatic than most thing come out of the silver screen.

38. Varför mördar man sin dotter? by Emre Güngör & Nima Dervish (nonfiction) - Week 34
My main frustration with this book, in which the authors explore the phenomenon of families murdering or severely abusing their daughters for the sake of family honor, was that neither author has a first name that I readily recognized as masculine, so it took me maybe half the book to realize that Emre was male, and then quite a few more pages to find that this is the case for Nima, too. While I don't believe that only women should be allowed to discuss the subject, but in fact find such attitudes rather irksome, it colored my impression of the interviews with men who have killed their daughters, nieces, or sisters, and having that impression then forcibly changed was somewhat jarring.
Nevertheless, it was an incredibly interesting look at the phenomenon and the perpetrators' own views of what they had done (mostly "oh that wasn't honor murder!"), from both a cultural standpoint (what causes the clash between Swedish culture and the cultures these families come from?) and from a human standpoint (how do they relate to their actions?).

39. Myth weaver by David J. Normoyle (supernatural, ebook) - Week 35
This novel combines a very interesting compare-and-contrast between Norse and Greek myth with what almost ends up being a belated coming-of-age story for the main protagonist, a young college student with his head stuck firmly in the clouds. When his dream world is invaded by an errant Olympos on one side, and a mysteriously relocated Valhalla on the other, he finds himself trying to make peace between beings endlessly more powerful than himself even in this his own imaginary world, by challenging them to tell him stories from their own mythos that he hopes will help him with his current waking-life or "realwhirl" problems.
The myths are entertainingly and engagingly retold by Prometheus and Loki, and as the protagonist finds himself more and more wrapped up in what might be a much uglier affair than he'd first imagined, his "realwhirl" life becomes at least as captivating until the book finally reaches an ending where some characters have gotten their comeuppance, some have grown, and some stubbornly remain the same as ever.

40. Compact living (original title: Fishbowl) by Sarah Mlynowski (chick lit) - Week 36
I received this book as a gift, and honestly did not have very high hopes for it - while I am a literary omnivore, chick lit rarely grabs my attention. This, however, was one of those rare cases. The voices of the three viewpoint characters - new roommates in an off-campus flat - are clearly distinct, showing the characters' priorities while the other two girls' retellings of the same character's behavior often reveal a contrast between intent and interpretation.
The main conflicts are caused by their vastly different personalities and preferred lifestyles, and Mlynowski has a knack for letting small and seemingly insignificant (if sometimes ill-advised) events later come back to cause much more trouble than any of the people involved could ever have imagined. A very clever and amusing book!
Eric in Robe

No. 53 for 2012

Title Stunning
Author: Sara Shepard
Rating: 3/5
Book: 53
Pages: 304 pgs
Total Pages: 20,305 pages
Version: Book
Next up: Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

This series is one of my many guilty pleasures. That being said, this book was only just okay. The last few books haven't been the strongest and I think it is obvious that Shepard is just trying to fill her obligations as to the number of books she has to write under contract. The books are becoming really far-fetched and repetitive. It's probably for the best that there is only one book left in the series.

xposted to 50bookchallenge, 15000pages and bookworm84

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talk to ye hand

Book 132 & 133: The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England and Gin O'Clock


Book cover
Book 132: The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England .
Author: Ian Mortimer, 2012
Genre: Non-Fiction. Social History. Elizabethan England.
Other Details: Hardback. 432 pages and Unabridged Audio Length: 18 hrs, 15 mins. Read by Mike Grady.

We think of Queen Elizabeth I as 'Gloriana': the most powerful English woman in history. We think of her reign (1558-1603) as a golden age of maritime heroes, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake, and of great writers, such as Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time? - synopsis from author's website.


Audio cover
This proved an informal yet highly informative guide to life in Elizabethan England, which addresses the reader as if they were a traveller in time. It's an approach that I found very appealing as it allowed for comparisons between then and now. While a work of popular social history there still were copious notes and a bibliography of sources.

This was my first encounter with Mortimer's non-fiction and didn't realise until the author's interview on CD16 that he also writes historical fiction under the name of James Forrester. The only issue I had was that with this being an audiobook the information at times did rather wash over me. As a result a few weeks later I also read the print version to allow for a closer reading of the text and enjoyed it so much that I plan to buy my own copy when out in paperback.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England - includes table of contents and introduction along with other material about the book.

Book 133: Gin O'Clock.
Author: The Queen (of Twitter), 2012.
Genre: Parody. Humour. Politics. Social Issues.
Other Details: Paperback Jubilee Celebration Edition 314 pages.

'One does enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest. Lovely to be reminded how much more civilised the British are than our European neighbours. Royal Eurovision Fancy Dress Party to celebrate. Unfortunately Camilla misread the invitation as 'Euro-tunnel Fancy Dress Party' and came as a train.'

This work is based on the tweets of @Queen_UK as she comments on the day-to-day running of her household, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth along with the momentous events of 2011 and 2012, including the Royal Wedding, phone hacking scandal, the Jubilee celebrations and the preparations for the London Olympics.

This was just what I needed for a little light relief during my Man Booker 2012 Short-list reading. Certainly I found plenty of LOL moments yet also groans at some of the more cheesy jokes. I ended up reading it in a single sitting. I am fairly confident of the identity of The Queen[of Twitter] given the degree of product placement and a few other clues. Overall found it all in good fun.