Friday, October 16, 2009

of blogs and books

Lately I've been looking at lots of blogs, and thinking about the different things I could do with mine... a cooking blog! A fashion blog (THAT was a moment of madness, I can't count the ways in which that is a bad idea)! etc. But I find myself drawn back to my original proposition, a blog which is a patchwork of my life and thoughts, with a focus on reviews. Particularly book reviews. Not that I set out with a mission statement, that's just the way I think of it. But lately I have had nothing but substandard book experiences, and even they have been few and far between:
  • The latest book I read was 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' by Stieg Larsson. I had such a visceral reaction to it that I don't think I can say anything meaningful about it. I keep looking for feminist justifications to dislike it (hey, here's one, all the female characters are either raped, sleep with the main character, or both. Does that count?) but when it comes down to it I just found the events described to be deeply awful. Definitely not one for the squeamish...
  • Before that I read the Sally Lockhart series by Phillip Pullman. Much more enjoyable, but after the first book something niggled at me, hard to put a finger on. Was it pushing the boundaries of historical credibility? Was the characterisation a little thin? I don't know what it was that bugged me about it, and that bugged me even more. The first and last books were my favourite though, the in-betweens not so much.
  • And before that 'I Capture the Castle' by Dodie Smith. I actually really liked this one. It made me cry. But I wasn't too sure about the ending for some reason.
You see how incoherent my opinions about these were? And now I am bookless altogether! So someone please recommend me something, preferably that I will like, and definitely that I can review for you. Once again, I make no promises on this (particularly since the voting process on this blog never seems to come up with any answers, but also because I wish to avoid a repeat of the Dragon Tattoo horror, at least for a little while) but I would like to hear from y'all.


  1. well, Terry Pratchett has a new book out (Unseen Academicals)although we feel it is not quite up to his earlier works.

  2. well, Terry Pratchett has a new book out (Unseen Academicals)although we feel it is not quite up to his earlier works.

  3. Oh, the Sally Lockhart books! I love them, but they do have a tinge of historical inaccuracy, don't they? (That being said, my favourite is the third one.) Something to keep in mind is that Pullman was intending them to be based on the Penny Dreadfuls that he has Jim Taylor read: that is, incredibly melodramatic. He wanted to set up a situation where it would be entirely plausible for there to be a conspiracy relating to a cursed ruby, and opium smuggling, for example.

    Ronni's Rule of Historical Fiction (or at least, a pattern I notice a lot) is: Make the women more educated and the men less misogynistic. Authors do this to try and make their characters more appealing to our sensibilities, and, for the most part, I don't mind.

    Unfortunately I can't help you with recommendations. I'm currently reading [i]Spirit Gate[/i] and [i]Shadow Gate[/i] by Kate Elliott (Google her, she's got another great series called Crown of Stars) which is a fantasy series set in a kind of pseudo China, Mongolia etc. It's fairly straightforward fantasy, but the story is engaging and the characters are likeable.

  4. I will read the new Terry Pratchett- but I think I'll wait until its out in paperback. I prefer discworld books in paperback (plus of course it's cheaper).

    Ronni: I've read part of Crown of Stars! Unfortunately I timed it badly- I'd just decided not to start any more unfinished fantasy series and started Crown of Stars, not realising it was unfinished. I got to 'The Gathering Storm' and there it stopped, and haven't read subsequent books. But this other series sounds interesting. :)