Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On my Wish List

Just heard a radio segment on CBC interviewing Anosh Irani about his new book, The Song of Kahunsha, set in Bombay (Mumbai). With the mass murder there the other day it was particularly timely. I was impressed with what the author said about his book and about events in Mumbai. His comments about the difference between Bombay and Mumbai (its new name) and how the change of name was representative of a change from a tolerant city to one of extremism was insightful. How sad that his work has been rejected for publication in India ; thought too negative he said. The book sounds like A Fine Balance which I really enjoyed and admired. The readers reviews are very good too so I am putting it on my wish list.

I am reading two books at the moment... Going Loco ( highlighted in my last post) and The Bookman's Wake which I started the day I bought it while I was waiting for the car to be serviced. I should finish that today. It is a great read.

My husband is away for a few days so I am also hoping to get some uninterrupted writing (and painting) in! Sure wish there were another 24 hours in each day. Time is our real enemy. No, I shouldn't say that. It isn't an enemy, it is neutral, but the waste of it is a crime and as I get older I must really make the most of it.

Going Loco

I have been reading from The Lynne Truss Treasury the past few nights, a story ( novella?) called Going Loco. Laugh out loud funny. I wonder if Truss's sense of humour is obvious when you meet her in person. I've read two of the others in the Treasury now -With one lousy Packet of Seeds (also very funny) and Tennyson's Gift ( which I didn't care for as much).

Truss comes up with the oddest ideas and the oddest characters. In Going Loco, Belinda, a harried writer is married to a Stefan, a Swede, who turns out not to be Swedish or named Stefan at all but a man who is impersonating a mad Swedish scientist who is now dead but had originally kidnapped him to use him for cloning experiments. There is irony here as Belinda-who writes horsey novels for young girls- is trying to write a more academic book about Literary Doubles through the ages. Belinda's friend has a cleaning lady, Linda, who is a "gem" but Belinda tempts her away from her friend to come work for her-since her household is a shambles- and Linda begins to take over Belinda's life. Really take over, doubling for her in public for example. All this sounds quite serious but the way Lynne writes it, it's a hoot. I am not quite finished it and wonder how she will end it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Book illustrations

If you like books you probably like illustrated books. I do. Photos are alright, I like them for some books like cookbooks or travel books but for fiction obviously photos are out. Not many fiction books are illustrated these days though, with the exception of children's books, and it is a shame. Old books and old illustrations have a real appeal.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Boggled at the Bookstore

One of my favorite places is a book store but it is also very daunting. SO many books and SO many choices. And every one of them different and interesting in some way. Well, to me anyway. It is mind boggling isn't it the range of human thought? I always have trouble choosing.

But today I had a few titles in mind. First I checked on The Wreckage by Michael Crummy - our next Lit Wits book- to see if it was out in paperback yet. Nope, not yet. Then I wanted to find The Book Thief that "jar" said was so good. Waaah. They didn't have it. I mean I looked on their database and everything. Looks like I will have to order it on line from Amazon! So far I was striking out and getting a bit discouraged.

Well, not too discouraged. There were lots of other books to console me. I saw Memoirs of a Geisha which will be on our list next season so I picked that up. Then I wanted to follow up on Linda's tip so I picked up one of the Bookman mysteries by John Dunning - The Bookman's Wake. While in the mystery section I saw a book titled Bookmarked to Die, by Jo Dereske. Since I seem to be on a "books about books kick" I thought why not? I headed for the cash register and on the way I saw The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Another author club book! I had to get that didn't I ?

I managed to close my eyes and ears to the lovely assortment of journals sirening me from the display near the check out. As my discount card expired 4 days ago- d___- I was lucky to get out for under $80 Books are expensive aren't they? But worth every penny.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Poor finish

I finished The Club Dumas a few nights ago and I have been thinking what to say ever since. I was disappointed by the ending. That is the first thing, but that is not enough. I was disappointed because the book promised more and that cannot just be written off. There is something to be learned- by the author and by me (amateur writer) and that is to finish strong.

The Club Dumas finish was hurried and the unravelling of the plot in one way too simple and in the other too obtuse and not really explanatory of the events the author had presented up to then: if the Club Dumas really was a harmless society interested only in the handwritten Dumas chapter then why did their henchman level a gun at the protaganist, for example? The reader feels gypped by this. Well, I did. Then the very separate denoument of the Nine Doors Book - a book collector descending into madness or what? The real calling of the devil, thwarted? Not really clear.

I would still recommend the book and I will still try to read other books by this author. But if I was his editor I would have a lot to say [ are there any go0d editors anymore???? This is one of my almost constant plaints!!!]
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)