Thursday, January 31, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?

Oh, gosh. I've been wracking my brain and it's very late, and very hot here! But the first character that came to mind, was Odd Thomas, star of a series of books by Dean Koontz. In fact, I think Odd is one of my favourite fictional characters. I love the fact that, because he can see the dead, he tries to keep the rest of his life as simple as possible, and I'm very excited about the new one coming out later this year.

Someone mentioned Hercule Poirot and yes, quirky definitely describes him. In a good way. Right now I can't think of any characters that have annoyed me with their quirks, but like I say, it's very late here.

Uhm .... Tasselhoff Burrfoot, from the Dragonlance novels. Quirky for sure, and always optimistic. Lincoln Rhyme, from Jeffrey Deaver's crime novels. A paralysed forensics expert with plenty of foibles and failings.

Look at that _ I'm on a roll! I'm sure there are others. They're just not coming to me right now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More books read

Well, a couple. I finished the novelisation of the movie of Beowulf. Not bad, but I can't compare it to the original because I've never read it. As a self-contained unit the novel is pretty readable.

I also finished The Reading Group, by Elizabeth Noble; about a group of women who gather once a month over the course of a year to discuss books. It turns out to be a profoundly life-changing year for all of them. Apart from wanting to really smack a couple of characters, it's an enjoyable, easy read.

Now reading Nefertiti: A Novel; What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire and The Reality Dysfunction :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

Okay, this is a hard one for me! Because, apparently, I read mostly popular or populist authors. I had no idea. And it's late here, and I'm tired, so I'm sure the answer will come to me in a couple of days, by which time it'll be too late.
Or maybe I just assumre that people have heard of the same authors I have. I'm certainly always surprised when they haven't.
So um ... Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a favourite of mine. I've read One Hundred Years of Solitude three times now. And uhm .... Neil Gaiman. And let's see ... Peter F Hamilton, who writes wonderful, long, complicated science fiction. Other than that, I just sort of assume that people have heard of all the authors I have. Sad, but true.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dean Koontz

I read The Darkest Evening of the Year and finished it on Saturday. It's pretty good; one of Koontz' spiritual horror novels, and a love story to golden retrievers.
Amy runs a golden retriever rescue and her partner, Brian is an accountant.
A seemingly ordinarly couple but they both have very deep, dark secrets.
And when Brian's unstable ex-girlfriend Vanessa gets in touch, things are about to get very dark indeed.
Readable, suspenseful and somewhat sad. :)

Friday, January 18, 2008


I finished this last night; one down, 11 classics to go! Next up is Sense and Sensibility, for February.
I loved Rebecca. LOVED it. du Maurier's descriptions were so vivid I felt as though I had gone to Manderley. I think her descriptions of the physical landscape were, in some ways, better than her drawings of the characters. Our unnamed main character is wispy, and dominated by the larger-than-life spirit of Rebecca. It's not really until near the end of the book, when she finally knows the truth, that she comes into her own. It's almost as if the little deceptions and misunderstandings weigh her down, without her even knowing it.
Now I want to watch the movie again ...

Also reviewed here:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading?
Generally speaking, they don't. I can be easily led, so try not to read too many reviews, in case I end up getting put off a book I was looking forward to. Also, I write book reviews, so try to stay away from other reviews of those books. Because I'm easily led.
If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? Yes. :) I figure that if I don't like it, I don't have to finish it but I prefer to find out for myself.
If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try? Mmmmm .... sometimes. I try to keep an open mind. :) It had better be a spectacularly good review, though.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

I did a couple of these when I was in the Livejournal wilderness, at Now I'm back "home", I'll answer it here :)

How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Hmmm .... this varies. Some I just happen to pick up if the book sounds interesting and quirky (Marian Keyes) some were introduced to me (Tolkien) and some evolved unexpectedly out of my modernist fiction paper at university, 100 years ago (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Grahame Greene)
Recommended by a friend? Probably some. I'm a recent _ and complete _ Discworld convert; and they were recommended by my husband. And when I was in high school, more than 100 years ago, my friends and I used to swap books all the time. So I have a nostalgic love of Raymond E Feist, and the early Dragonlance books.
Stumbled across at a bookstore? I stumbled into the Belgariad and the Dragonlance series in bookstores; I came across Margaret Atwood after watching A Handmaiden's Tale.
A book given to you as a gift? I don't get books as gifts very often, which is fine. I"m more likely to get book vouchers, which is also fine. Having said that, one year my mother gave me Tailchaser's Song, by Tad Williams. :)

Was it love at first sight? Sometimes yes. My love for The Lord of the Rings was deep, abiding and instant.
Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance? I'm an impulsive person. My judgement is swift. I either love something instantly, or take against it after a short while. Then I throw it across the room and look for something else to read.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finally finished a couple of books!

I finished Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough on Saturday and The Light Fantastic, by Terry Pratchett yesterday. Both very different reads but very good in their own way. After Antony and Cleopatra I'm ready to take a bit of a break from historical novels, so out of my review book collection for work I think I"m going to start The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz. Should be a fast read.
It's my day off tomorrow so hopefully we're going to go to the library so I can get out the third Discworld book.
I'm still picking away at Rebecca. I've got past the pivotal scene in the book _ the fancy dress party where she's manipulated by Mrs Danvers into dressing identically to Rebecca. I'm torn on the heroine. Part of me feels sorry for her, but part of me wants to slap her for being such a passive ninny and not going to her beloved Maxim and getting him to tell her exactly what happened. I might even get this one finished this week, although I realise that's probably optimistic! I got distracted by the Discworld. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Slow but steady

Not a lot of reading time lately, for some reason. Plus I accidentally seem to have four or five books on the go; so I either need to organise them, or streamline.

I haven't picked Rebecca up for a few days, but once I get myself organised I'll get back on track. I find with everything else that's going on, I get more reading done if I make a bit of a schedule of it and list what I"m going to read and when. It sounds odd, I suppose, but I have so many books! I have review books for work, library books, and a housefull as well.

For a while I was randomly reading, but I"m not getting anything finished; I'm stuck in mid-way limbo.

I have variations rattling around in my head, so I need to get what I want to do "on paper" so it can leave me alone! I've been picking away at Antony and Cleopatra in the mornings, when I go for a sleep after breakfast, so let's call that "review book slot." That covers about four mornings a week; so not too bad. Then I try and read after work. Sometimes. But I get home after 11.30pm usually and sometimes I'm just too tired! On the other hand, I find reading after work relaxing. What I should stop doing, is surfing the net after work. Where do I think it's going to go? Which didn't happen last night. The Survivor final was on here and I watched that after work instead!

I"m not really sure what the answer is yet. I need to mull for a bit.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.." probably one of the most famous opening lines. I've seen the movie and have been meaning to start the book for quite some time.
I'm so glad I did; I'm loving it. du Maurier's descriptions _ particularly of the English countryside _ are so vivid and her writing just flows.
It's easy to get lost in the book; it's one that I"m always reluctant to put down.
Our unnamed heroine is just starting to feel a little comfortable at Manderley and finding out more and more about the first Mrs de Winter.
A good one to start the year on :)