Thursday, 27 November 2014

What I've been reading

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Cat's Eye
by Margaret Atwood

narrated by Laurel Lefkow
"Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood - unbearable betrayals and cruelties - surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for 40 years."
After the experience of reading The Blind Assassin where I wanted to read it again as soon as I'd finished, this was a huge let-down. It's an account of a child growing up in Toronto, and there is no discernible story arc whatsoever. She goes to school, goes to college, has friends, marries, is a painter. Nothing to pique the interest, or hold any dramatic tension. Don't bother. And the audio editing is rubbish too.

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The Island of Dr Moreau
by H. G. Wells

narrated by B. J. Harrison
"Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, is rescued by a passing boat which leaves him on the island home of the sinister Dr. Moreau - a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world."
It's an oddly prophetic Victorian story that develops the theme of melding human and animal in a way that some consider similarly ethically dubious in our society - genetic modification. There's not much substance to the story, and in places it is pretty horrible in its description of animal cruelty and mutilation. The main character is pretty bland and the others seem exaggerated, but it's interesting for its insight into the imaginative thinking of the time.

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Mystery Mile
by Margery Allingham

narrated by Francis Matthews
"Judge Crowdy Lobbett has found evidence pointing to the identity of the criminal mastermind behind the deadly Simister gang. After four attempts on his life, he ends up seeking the help of the enigmatic and unorthodox amateur sleuth, Albert Campion."
Quite a good story and very competently narrated. Not really up to the standard of Lord Peter Wimsey or Hercule Poirot, but good enough to keep me interested. I wish I knew of a contemporary crime writer who could write something in the proper 'whodunnit' spirit but without the violence and gore that seems to be compulsory for anything set later than 1950.

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The Sum of All Kisses
by Julia Quinn
"Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. But Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family."
A silly Regency romance because I couldn't face anything too heavy. All the others in this blog post are audio, which I listen to in the car. Actually concentrating on the written word at home seems too much like hard work at the moment.

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Cat Out Of Hell
by Lynne Truss

narrated by Mike Grady
"A cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat. The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant. 'Shall we begin?' says the cat..."
I've read the author's non-fiction classic 'Eats Shoots and Leaves' and enjoyed it very much, and this novel was in a '3 for 2' offer so I thought I'd give it a go. It's fine, and I enjoyed it. Not a timeless classic, but so very few books are!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks - always good to get a few recommendations, including "don't bother" where relevant.


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