Monday, 27 September 2010

Books I have been reading

I've decided I'll only blog about five at a time.
Susan Hill, The Mist in the Mirror
Lots of people rave about Susan Hill's ghost stories. I've always found them a little unsatisfying. There were a few spooky moments in this one I suppose.
Jenny Valentine, Broken Soup
This is YA fiction and got very good reviews. I saw a copy for a quid in a remainder sale so I bought it. It's quite well written, but reading it reminded me of the tremendous rubbish we were all supposed to enjoy as teenagers, in which people have, you know, feelings, and social problems. It was supposed to speak to us in some way, and I'm quite certain it was well meant.
Eça de Queiroz, The City and the Mountains
Very good. About a man who lives in Paris, surrounded by the best in early twentieth-century gadgets (electric lighting, and the théâtrophone, etc). He undertakes a journey to his ancestral estates in Portugal, but it goes disastrously wrong and he loses all his luggage. Quite a funny and amiable book, more comfortable than much of the work of Eça de Queiroz.
Molly Keane, Good Behaviour
This is quite good. The point is that their behaviour is at once very well-mannered, and absolutely atrocious. The main character is a bit of a monster and blithely unaware of what is going on around her, and has been very nastily treated by her family.
Erick Setiawan, Bees and Mist
This sounded to me like just the sort of thing that would annoy me. But I read a few reviews which said, essentially, not as annoying as you'd think, and they were right, it's only a bit annoying. It's about two families, and a girl who marries from one into the other. The first family is haunted by several different-coloured mists, while the second family's mother has at her disposal a swarm of maddening and persuasive bees. You could go so far as to see these bees, these mists, as some sort of metaphor. Anyway, on the plus side it's readable and at least a bit unusual. On the minus side there's all the mists and bees, plus the mother-in-law is a pretty 2-D villainess, and the characters all have names like Meridia and Gabriel. Buy it if you see it on a market stall for two quid, but not from Oxfam, who will probably want £3.95. That's my advice anyway.

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