Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Iris James is the new postmaster of Franklin; she spends her time watching the townspeople and keeping their secrets.  Emma Fitch is newly wed to the local doctor and moves to the Cape Cod town, she is desperate to find her niche and have someone to look after her.  Frankie Bard is a journalist, covering the war in London, reporting back to America via radio.  The war is far removed from the town, but it affects all three women.

This is a Richard and Judy book club choice and had great reviews...I'm a sucker for all that and liked the cover, so I gave it a go.  Unfortunately, I can't say I like it.  Yes, it's well written and there were parts when Frankie was in Europe that I found compelling, but overall I was underwhelmed and glad to get to the end.
I didn't really warm to any of the main characters.  Middle-aged Iris moves to Franklin, but there's no backstory to the move.  What is so important about her getting a certificate from the doctor? What makes the relationship with Harry work, because I couldn't see any point for either of them.  Harry's convenient demise when he finally finds what he's been looking for was really annoying and felt like a cop out.  Emma seems simply needy and I can't really blame her husband for disappearing to London, although he is a bit of a sap too.  Frankie is the strongest character, and her coverage of the plight of the Jews is fascinating, but I wasn't convinced by how it changed her.  The book slips over some potentially interesting questions, such as how did Frankie get out of Europe?
All the major characters are either watching or being watched, this made the book feel claustrophobic but also strangely removed.  The idea of keeping secrets and withholding information fitted well into the wartime setting, but I couldn't really see the point.  Emma had clearly worked out that for whatever reason her husband wasn't coming back and both Frankie and Iris deciding to avoid the issue seems fairly pointless.
The idea of being the story of the edges of the photo is threaded throughout the book and I felt that as a reader I was being kept at a distance, very much at the edge and the whole thing was rather superficial.  The love stories woven through just didn't touch me and so the losses were correspondingly less affecting.
I think it's best to sum it up as a "classic book club" choice as there is lots to discuss, but not necessarily enjoy.  Parts are beautifully crafted and there was evidently huge research behind it all, but I just didn't get it.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What makes me happy. Part 1...

Books and a completely over the top pair of shoes that I love, but haven't had the occasion to wear yet!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers

Retired spinster Julia Garnet has been an uninspiring history teacher and lives a narrow life in an Ealing flat with her friend Harriet.  When Harriet dies, the unexpected void forces Miss Garnet to suddenly decide to live in Venice for several months.  The move leads to Miss Garnet meeting new people and into realising that she has been blind to people and opportunities.  The interwoven parallel apocryphal story of Tobias and the Angel Raphael share the theme of overcoming blindness and accepting change.

I thought the audiobook was excellent as Miriam Margolyes is such a fabulous reader, the characterisation was perfect. 
Julia Garnet is a clever, but rather naive lady, who has closed herself from life with few friends and little fun.  She is judgemental and blinkered, strong in her atheist and Communist views with little tolerance for others.  The move to Venice is completely out of character but the city entrances her with its plethora of churches and religious images.  The people she meets, although not necessarily what they first appear, lead her to greater awareness.  
The story unfolds very gently and Julia gradually becomes more open, realising she never appreciated Harriet when she was alive and how she has belittled people for not sharing her views.  As she widens her interests Julia is able to understand, accept and forgive others. 
Ultimately it is Harriet, with her penchant for silly hats and inappropriate shoes, who gives Miss Garnet the opportunity to make a permanent change and although I felt the ending was a bit too neat and would have like it to be more ambiguous, I really enjoyed the book. 
I wasn't sure about the Book of Tobit sections at first, mainly because I have very little biblical knowledge and don't really go for religious themed books, but as I got further into the story the links really worked for me and I wished that I was a bit less of a dunce in this area!
What really made it for me was the gorgeous setting of Venice, the descriptions were evocative and beautifully done - I was there. (Even stuck in traffic on the motorway, going to work!)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mr Darcy Presents his Wife by Helen Halstead

A sequel to Pride and Prejudice which begins with Elizabeth and Darcy's wedding preparations. The title really says it all, as it charts the introduction of the new Mrs Darcy into London society and the continuation of events for the other main characters.
It begins with Lady Catherine de Bourgh writing to Lizzy to let her know how she refuses to acknowledge the marriage and will do all she can to make her presentation to the Ton as difficult as possible.  Darcy also receives a similar missive from another member family and so despite their love, they are in for a potentially difficult time. 
However, the charming Mrs Darcy manages to dazzle almost everyone with her wit and is quickly on friendly terms with the very best people in society.  This creates tension between her and Darcy for not only is she in great demand from people he doesn't necessarily approve of, she becomes the unwitting muse of a inappropriately devoted playwright.  The ongoing tensions within the marriage seem to bring out the flaws in Darcy that Lizzy initially despised. 
I found this an interesting read and felt that it was one of the better attempts to continue P&P, certainly in terms of not making it a "Mr Darcy constantly beds his new wife" book, which many of the sequels are.  I'm not being over critical of those sequels, I've read many and found them good fun, but this one at least tries to fit with morality of the original.
However, although I enjoyed it whilst reading it, on reflection, I'm not sure about where the story went.  I liked the continuation of the sister's stories, particularly Kitty, who always seemed overshadowed by Lydia and the self righteous Mary.  Kitty gets her chance (however briefly) to sparkle and become a more rounded character.  Sadly, Jane and Bingley are much reduced and less interesting and although Wickham gets his comeuppance, I thought Lydia got off far too lightly and deserved a messy and undignified end! (But I'm nasty like that!)  Mrs Bennet remains an embarrassing trial, but again is sadly diminished in creating cringing horror for her daughters.  Other new characters are introduced but I felt that there were too many to find any depth and not particularly useful in themeselves to add to the story except as being a way of making the basic plot work.
Now my real grumble, I actually started to find myself annoyed by Elizabeth at points.  She became too clever, witty and attractive for her own good and I found myself disliking how she almost has her head turned.  Although she retains her slightly cynical air, it was really irritating that everyone loved her and was completely unrealistic in terms of the closed shop that Regency era society was.  Darcy's reaction is to be jealous of her new friendships and to resort to his previous overly proud and withdrawn behaviour which is understandable but goes against how the events and growing understanding of each other in the original novel had changed them and made them better people.
Overall, it's an enjoyable, light read but I was disappointed in how some of my favourite characters develop.

Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston

This is the story of Georgina, an American living in England whilst completing post doctorate research.  She rents a room in the house of Henry LeFoy, his teenage sister Maud and housekeeper Anna.
She's a published author specialising in historical misery.  Although her debut novel was critically well received, it appears that no-one actually enjoyed it and unfortunately she's struggling to write her next book.  Her scary editor, Livia, makes her an offer she shouldn't refuse, when publisher Dan Vassey "finds" the opening chapter of a long forgotten, never completed Jane Austen novel.  Georgina has to complete the book in double quick time for loads of cash which will allow her to stay in England.
The problem is that Georgina has never read any Austen and sees it as the antithesis of her gritty, downtrodden understanding of the nineteenth century.  She refuses to do it but circumstances, lack of money and pressure from her friends force her to reconsider.

Although I'm only giving this two stars, there was something strangely compulsive about this book and I did want to see how it all worked out, but there were just too many things that I didn't like to rate it any higher.  Firstly, I didn't like Georgina at all and if I can't warm to a lead character I tend to struggle. (That might just be me, but there it is!) I found her to be a literary snob in thinking that Austen is twee, fluffy and lacks realism.  She spends the first half of the book simply running away from anyone who is trying to make her write the book, making it a chain of events rather than a definite plot.  She is sneering about all the Austen haunts that she visits and comes across as a weak, bigoted character with major author angst. 
When she finally reads all the Austen novels (in a ridiculously short time that wouldn't allow anyone to truly appreciate them) she has a complete turnaround and tries to avoid writing the book as she realises she isn't worthy of the task!  Georgina is a self confessed procrastinator and there's even references to helpful websites (but I didn't check if they were real!)  The middle section of the book is all about the process of writing and heck, does it seem painful...this is enough to put any budding author off!  This focus on effort and process manages to kill off any interest in the story and characters for became a grind for me too.
Henry gradually becomes the romantic hero, but he's so weakly written that he's practically transparent.  Maud is possibly the most interesting character and I though Livia would have been far better approaching her to write the Austen book!  But there's an over reliance on stereotyped misunderstood teenage girl for her to be a stand alone character.
The final denouncement when Georgina finally writes the much demanded book wasn't a big surprise, but did manage to tie everything together. There are several sub-plots going on throughout that relate to Austen plots, but these are unnecessary and a bit forced, as was the quirk of putting in names of Jane Austen's many characters as an in-joke.
I had this on audiobook and couldn't understand why they'd used an American reader.  Georgina was the only American character and it made the whole thing sound out of place as the attempts at an English accent were patchy at best.  The use of "Americanisms" by English character's was also annoying and should have been edited out.  Maud as a private school teenager, would never use the word "sneakers"
and there were other examples that were just wrong!
Similarly to the Mr Darcy ruined my Life book, it had a spark of potential that it didn't live up to.  For something that has so much content on the process of producing a book, I though the author needed to take on her own advice a little more.  Disappointing and a bit pointless for me.  Sorry!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

One Day by David Nicholls

I truly expected to love this book. It’s had great reviews which is how I found it initially and I’m only a few years behind the main characters, Emma and Dexter, as they graduate in 1988 and that’s the year I went to Uni. So I prepared for a nostalgic trawl through my teens and twenties, being able to identify with the protagonists and indulge a bit.

One Day begins in Edinburgh in July 1988 in Emma’s student flat. It’s St. Swithin’s Day, they’ve just graduated and to Emma’s surprise she’s finally managed to bag the handsome Dexter Mayhew, her crush through Uni and they’ve spend a night kissing and talking about what the future will bring. Emma Morley, hopelessly naive and chasing every good cause wants to make the world a better place, whilst Dexter has no great aspirations other than to be rich. The book follows almost twenty years of St. Swithin’s days charting the pair’s relationship. Their careers, families, friends, successes and dismal failures; they go from an almost romance, to best friends, falling out and finally marriage.
It takes a while for Emma, normal northern lass with a double first class degree to find her niche, going from a co-op Theatre in Education with a beaten-up transit and selection of misfits, waitress in a tacky Mexican restaurant, to the inevitable English and Drama teaching in a tough comp and finally popular author. She holds a candle for Dexter throughout a couple of dubious non-stick relationships and never seems to find anything that matches his sparkle.
Dexter has the rich-kid gap year and then by default, as he’s good looking and can read an autocue ends up as a yoof TV presenter, all estuary English and “big up”. He loves the party life and himself a bit too much, but a reliance on these props makes his career stall. A new girlfriend, Sylvie, helps clean up his act, but a brief marriage and a daughter later, Sylvie moves onto Dexter’s old Uni friend Callum. Another minor breakdown and finally the time is right for Dexter and Emma to get together.

Sadly, and I really did want to love it, it just didn’t do it for me. For once I do think some of my discontent could have been down to listening to the unabridged version of the audiobook, instead of reading the text. The female narrator was fine through most of it, but the majority of the female voices were all over done as "super bright shouty" voices which was intensely jarring and made it difficult to distinguish between characters in some scenes.  It also seemed that the word “really” was massively overused in the dialogue which also got on my nerves, but maybe the narrator just over emphasised it?!  The northern accent used for Emma wasn’t great and at times made her sound dim, rather than from Leeds, but I managed to get over that.
However, despite those “audio” complaints, I stuck to the end,but I became increasingly annoyed and irritated. I just didn’t like either Emma or Dexter enough to care. Emma starts out as a bit of an idealistic but well-meaning character who drifts through life. I didn’t engage with her, but she was inoffensive. Dexter was a different matter. He’s useless, self-pitying, self-indulgent and completely self obsessed. There’s nothing to like about him and although he did improve a little, I didn't feel that he really grew as a character.  There were times during Dexter’s twenties and when handling new baby Jasmine, that I was cringing. It was so painfully awful (and not in a good way) I couldn’t see why Emma had stuck with such an absolute lowlife as this. The number of occasions when he treats her badly, blatantly lies to her and others (within her hearing) and she still gives up the potential of happiness with Jean-Pierre in Paris for him – why?!
There were sections, particularly the early twenties that I did smile at and I identified with the descriptions of post-student life; the scrotty flats, no furniture and cheap posters. The bands, clubbing and restaurants brought back life in my twenties before the endless round of weddings and the new obsession with babies. I completely agreed with Emma’s take on being a surrogate “auntie”. Despite these impressively real flashes, the overall effect still left me a bit underwhelmed and mildly depressed. There wasn’t enough sugar to make it bittersweet for my my tastes; although I’d sussed very early on that the only way the book could end after twenty years was to have an unhappy ending and unlike some other people I preferred the simplistic, non-dramatic way this was handled, the final stages of the book seemed to rush through a tumult of grief and so I was glad when the whole thing had finished.
It’s well written, and it’s brilliant idea to take one day to illustrate the changes over years, but I felt it was a bit too self consciously clever and I just didn't connect or empathise with Emma and Dexter, it just wasn’t for me.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Mr Darcy Broke my Heart by Beth Pattillo

Still on my Regency theme - but a modern twist, with this one!

Claire Prescott travels from the US to Oxford university for a Pride and Prejudice Summer School.  She's taking the place of her Austenophile sister who is unable to travel, but she's probably not the best person to do so as she has only a sketchy knowledge of the author and her books.
Claire is having a difficult life, she's brought up her sister, Missy, by herself after the death of her parents, has just lost a fairly mediocre job and has a nice, but inattentive and dull boyfriend.  She realises that this could be a fresh start and she can be whoever she wants to be amongst a load of strangers that she'll never see again.
Soon after arriving she meets a tall, dark and aloof stranger.  Is this her Darcy?  She also meets the eccentric Harriet Dalrymple, who claims to have a first draft of P&P and is eager to share it with her.  As the week progresses Claire becomes fascinated by the very different version of events in Harriet's manuscripts, how will it turn out for Lizzie Bennet? But there's also her own developing romance and conflicting feelings for James (potential Darcy) and Neil (safe boyfriend) the ongoing subterfuge by others to get their hands on the valuable manuscript.

I think there's a danger that I've made the book sound better than it really is...
True, it has great potential, but it just didn't work for me.  Firstly, Claire is wet; she is moping about her parents death, trying to run her sister's life and being a general doormat.  She is so pathetic and uninteresting that the fact that she managed to get on a plane and find Oxford was a genuine surprise to me.  She shows no improvement through the story and needs a backbone, not P&P.
As soon as she arrives she meets a handsome man who she has immediate "chemistry" with without knowing anything other than he's rich, good looking and a bit pompous. James is a stereotype strong, silent type, but again shows no charm or wit to be a potential engaging character.  The fact that he has another agenda is immediately obvious to all but Claire.  However, she wafts gently around Oxford, and there's lots of description of the city, but I don't know how reliable it is as I've only visited once, and meets a mad old bird who practically holds her hostage to read the first draft of P&P.  It's all too contrived and convenient to believe.
There's no character development - everyone is a cardboard cut out, the dialogue is laboured and I just didn't care!  It managed to be both cold and superficial and "twee - Lil' ol' England" all at the same time.
However, the best bit (and how it manages to get any stars at all!) was the alternative version of P&P where Mr Bennet dies and Elizabeth seeks employment by becoming companion to Anne de Bourgh and meets Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam at Rosings.  I found this interesting as a "what if" exercise, and though not brilliantly written, was enough to make me read on.
Overall, it read like fan-fiction and just didn't live up to expectations.  With a title like this you'd expect most readers to have a pretty good knowledge of Austen, but the constant explanation provided by the character of Martin (a professor in Austen) was patronising and stalled what little bit of plot development was there.
I could be kind and give it an extra star for the attractive cover, but as the picture had absolutely no relevance to what happens in the book anyway, I just can't! 2 stars and won't bother with any others by this author.

For You Alone (Frederick Wentworth, Captain Book 2) by Susan Kaye

The follow on novel from my previous review...

So, this picks up from the disastrous events at Lyme, with Wentworth finally realising that he still loves Anne, but has put himself in a compromising position through his behaviour towards Louisa.  Does he follow his heart or behave with honour towards Louisa?
There's obviously no surprises coming up and this book continues in the same vein as before, maintaining a strong interest by the reader through the eyes of Captain Wentworth.  After finding that Louisa is on the mend, he decides to take himself off to visit his brother who is newly married in the hope that it will disprove that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
I felt the book drifted a little here, when rather than just getting off to see Edward, Wentworth stays in Portsmouth and has a strange, rather pointless unpleasantness with an old friend and his wife.  Likewise he picks up the likable George Tuppins who is then conveniently abandoned a little later in the book.  Maybe this is to reflect his unease and lack of direction without Anne, but it was a little irritating.

Marriage has brought a change to Edward and the two brothers manage to rekindle some of their previous closeness.  I enjoyed the change of perspective in this part and it gave some light relief amongst the intense soul searching, but found Edward's shame of his previous employment a bit "tacked on" rather than being necessary for moving the story on or deepening characterisation.
However, it all started to race along again when the protagonists are in Bath.  Lady Russell finally shows some sense rather than snobbery and happily Baronet Elliot doesn't!  Mr Elliot seemed very thinly drawn and was a bit of a textbook baddy (boo, hiss!) and his evil plan is very quickly sketched over. However, the letter (swoon!) is handled beautifully and that made me very happy!
So we get our happy ending and the book continues on a little further than the original and it's here that we're on uncharted land, and sadly this is where I was a bit disappointed.
** highlight text below to read**
Wentworth receives orders to return to London in ten days, the marriage is arranged to be in seven.  Anne convinces him to go to Gretna Green to have a few more days as man and wife before returning to the Navy.  Now, I couldn't see the point in this, with the 3-4 days it'd take to travel there, they'd only be married, at best, three days earlier and I felt it was not fitting with my image of Anne's personality.  I've always seen Anne as practical and sensible and surely if they've managed to wait for eight and half years they can manage a few extra days, no matter how Kaye tries to crank up the sexual tension. 
The tatty inn they stay in on their wedding night just seemed too sordid for the fastidious and proud Wentworth and the gentile Anne.  Maybe it was to contrast with Anne's family and set the scene for married life to a Naval captain, but it seemed to lack the romance that develops during their time in Bath and the tone and sentiments of the letter.
Happily, despite the ending, I still love Wentworth and Anne comes across as quietly determined rather than simply passive.  I've rated it slightly less than the previous novel, due to my disappointment in how it all draws to a close and for the newly added characters that didn't seem to go anywhere or serve any real purpose. (Unless there is another book planned, but I can't find it on Amazon!)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

None but You (Frederick Wentworth, Captain Book 1) by Susan Kaye

Based on Persuasion by Jane Austen. I did warn you I'm on a Regency fad!
Starting around the same time as the original book where the war has ended and with Captain Wentworth waiting for further orders from the Navy. He goes to visit his sister, Sophia and her husband Admiral Croft in Somerset, where they have recently retired to Kellynch Hall, the former residence of the haughty Baronet Elliot and his ex-fiancee Anne.  From arriving at Kellynch, the story follows Persuasion, (so I won't repeat that here) up until the end of the party's visit to Lyme.  It's told from Wentworth's point of view, which allows the insertion of additional scenes which is interesting, particularly as Austen never writes scenes where the ladies were never present and this gives the book a slightly more edgy and less "cosy" feel.
The relatively slow opening allows the reader to understand something of how the romance between Wentworth and Anne developed.  He comes across as an ambitious, but considerate man, rightly proud of what he has achieved through his own efforts, but still occasionally "chippy" about the prevailing attitudes of class that some of the gentry have.  The relationship with his friends Harville and Benwick, and his sensitivity towards their reduced circumstances shows a strength of character and loyalty that could be missed in the original.  There are times when his thoughts are quite cutting, but despite the passage of time he is still angry and hurt about Anne's refusal to marry him and although claiming to his sister that he'll marry any pretty girl with a good word for the Navy, he is far too fastidious and has too high an opinion of his virtues to do that.  Thankfully, Kaye hasn't messed with my personal image of Frederick Wentworth, and despite his charm and manners he has a certain toughness and resilience which makes him more interesting.
I loved his sister Sophia, who is a sturdy, wise old-bird with a school-marmy manner which reduces him to a small boy with her probing and persistent questions. It's even funnier that he acknowledges that and does all he can to avoid it!
Some characters seem to have had their faults exaggerated, and I thought this worked well.  I kept reminding myself that they were different due to being described by Wentworth, who is very aware of people's foibles, less tolerant of weakness and unable to excuse or support poor behaviour or lack of decorum. Although he at first likes Louisa Musgrove, she is soon seen as a scheming, manipulative minx rather than a hopeful flirt.  I liked this as I always found her an irritating and self-seeking character in the first place. Likewise, Mary Musgrove, although selfish and disagreeable in the original is completely horrendous! 
I found it to be a really interesting and engaging read and am already onto the second book to continue the story.  It's well written, the language used is appropriate and despite there being a bit too much Naval information for my taste in the early section, Kaye has obviously researched thoroughly and it does illustrate how Wentworth has increased in consequence and manner over the eight years. As I said with the Amanda Grange book, I can only see Janeites going for these books.  If you aren't familiar with Persuasion, some of the reflections by Wentworth will seem pointless.
Overall, I've given it 4.5 as I loved it, but found the early parts a bit heavy going before the story truly kicked in.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Let's be honest, it's impossible to write a review for this! 
I was first introduced to P&P at age thirteen, by an enthusiastic English teacher who realised that I was a voracious reader, but lacked taste and judgement!  It was the best copy from a heap of much neglected, smelly, scrawled on and slightly mildewed books from the depths of the store cupboard (Austen just wasn't been done in a Northern Comprehensive in the mid-eighties). I still thank her for her ability to spark a bit of an obsession!  It is one of my all time favourites, the perfect novel that still sparkles with wit and freshness after all this time and many re-readings. I've lost count of the number of times I've read it.  Darcy remains my ideal hero (yes, I know I'm in a huge queue...but this was true even before Colin Firth in the wet shirt!)
There's nothing I can add, other than and that this time I've listened to the audiobook narrated by Emilia Fox, which was brilliantly done and fully appreciated the characterisations.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange

So I'm back on my Regency fad again (something similar happened this time last year, too!) where I dwell in a quieter, polite but more restrained society.  For anyone who has stuck with my reviews, they've probably sussed that I am a bit of an Austen fan and my two absolute favourites are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.
I read Darcy's Diary by the same author last year and thought it was "okay" and gave it three stars.  I think this one works better for a couple of reasons, but my grumbles are the same as before.
So, let's get the grumbling over...and apologies for repeating myself.  It's written in diary form, but there is a vast amount of direct speech used throughout, particularly in the latter half.  A lot of this is lifted straight from the original, and lets face it, if you're reading this you'll probably be pretty familiar with the original text anyway.  No-one writes a diary using direct speech, so maybe it needs a different style.  However, despite the above rant, it was less jarring that the Darcy Diary and I got over it!
Now, the good and there's a lot I liked!  I think the booked worked because Captain Wentworth is a more straightforward character.  I'll be accused of over simplifying, but it's a case of he loved Anne wanted to marry her, was turned down after an initial acceptance, was extremely hurt, went on with his career but never got over her.  There's less "internal agony" in this hero than Darcy and he's also less precious in terms of not being every woman's ideal (although the image of Rupert Penry-Jones is a very good image to have in mind!!). 
Yes, the diary shows him in turmoil as he gradually realises that he really never got over Anne and doesn't know whether she feels the same and the situation that leads to him writing the "You pierce my soul" letter (which is one of my favourite sections of Austen) is done very well.  I praise Grange in that she doesn't try to make him too modern in analysing his feelings both for Louisa and for Anne.  Wentworth comes across as a bit of a flirt in his early days, with maybe an over inflated sense of Pride, but a generally likable, solid man who is honourable and loyal to his friends and family.  He grows over time in stature and wisdom, and this is beliveable but at times it felt a bit superficial.
I enjoyed the first section of the book which covered how Wentworth and Anne met and their developing romance.  Wentworth isn't looking for anything other than pretty girls to flirt with and although Anne is overshadowed by her proud father and sister she comes across as clever and engaging, which is good to see as she later becomes more passive and this gives a glimpse of what is so special about her that draws Wentworth back after eight years.
Overall, it's one for Austen fans, a good knowledge of the original makes it a much more enjoyable read and thankfully it doesn't alter the original characterisations and situations.  The general style and language doesn't jar too much and I spent a really pleasant afternoon reading it.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Where did the last 4 months go?!!

So, long time, no see!!
Start of the new school year completely overtook keeping up with the reviews and although I've kept on reading...I've not managed to spend anytime here at all.  Oops!
Still new year, and try again!
Now have a kindle to buy for and I'm trying to get through the huge pile of books to be read that dominate my back bedroom, half a wardrobe and various other small nooks and crannies around the house.  The idea was that the kindle would help steamline my book addiction, but it's not worked like that so far (but we live in hope!)
I've pulled back from RiSi, as that was just adding to the problem and there's only so many books even a dedicated slob can manage.  The audiobook does mean I now listen during the commute to work rather than shouting at the radio, so I'm revisiting classics and other recommended books.

So, I'm going to try and keep up during 2011 and if there's anyone out there, Happy Reading and Happy New Year!!