Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sickness strikes.

Had a restless night, and finally got up at five to vomit. Vomiting is vile, I cannot understand how some people do it on purpose. Mr Bani on the other hand caught the rear end of the virus, so to speak, so we've been feeling very sorry for ourselves here today.

This has nothing to do with books, it's just a pity post.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jaqueline Winspear: Messenger of Truth

This is the latest in the Maisie Dobbs series - I know I said I wasn't too keen on them, but sure what the hey, they're not terrible or anything.

In this one Maisie is hired by a young female journalist to find out if her artist twin brother's death was really accidental or if there's more to it. Winspear doesn't play too heavily on Maisie's almost supernatural abilities thankfully, and has the added courage of letting tragedy strike near Maisie, instead of having her save the day at the very last moment. So I liked that.

In other news, haven't had the chance to even look for Bookcrossing books. Dammit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Marian Keyes: Further Under the Duvet

As is obvious from the title, this book is a follow-up to one called Under the Duvet, which I have not read. I picked this one up at random at the library (am I able for a Marian Keyes? Is it not too silly? Oh look, collection of journalism it says, now that's more interesting. Why not?).

I must say I love what she's written as a journalist. She's funny, witty (not necessarily the same thing!), personal without being de trop, and also writes with much feeling. The articles range from ones about visiting fashion shows (and getting goodie bags!) to visiting Ethiopia and Russia for charity. And an absolutely hilarious account of going to the Irish Embassy for an emergency passport many years ago ("Have you prayed to Saint Anthony?"). Also included are some early short stories, and exerpts from Mammy Walsh's advice column. A great travel book I should say, since you can read short bits at a time.

Nope, I'm not Bookcrossing Bani.

She seems rather fun though, and lives in NY. Maybe I'll e-mail her some day.

I just joined Bookcrossing...

...as Banivani (Bani was TAKEN! The shower of bastards! :O). Been meaning to for ages - come to think of it, maybe I did. Maybe I'm Bani. Must go check. Anyway, some lovely person has been releasing a lot of books downtown in honour of the Linnaeus tercentenary, which officially starts today. I was tipped off by a friend, and thus inspired to join. And remember that I have joined.

Now, off to see if I'm going senile or not.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A few moments of peace...

Mr Bani has actually gone off to Paris with his work, so I'm on my lonesome with the kids. This means I get to use the laptop. Somehow it's easier to use the laptop - probably because it's soooo quiet. Lovely. Now, if only the FUCKER UPSTAIRS WOULD STOP RIVERDANCING aaaahhhh I think I heard a SHHHH from the parents - this place it sometimes ludicrously un-sound-proofed (English lacks a word there I feel).

The first book from Elaine Viets Mystery Shopper series is called Dying in Style. I liked it better than the second, but I don't like this series as much as the Dead-End Job one. The shopping tips at the end of the book are fun though, if somewhat US-specific ( but hey, I'm not dissing, that's where she lives). She is apparently recovering from her stroke - good for her!

Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced was first published in 1950, and is full of references to war, rationing, black market and the like. I don't know what I'm trying to say by mentioning that, but somehow it makes for a better book, possibly because it feels very genuine and thus makes the whole book seem genuine. After all Dame Agatha, like all other Brits, must have experienced it all first-hand, whereas she probably never got too close to actual murder scenes.

This is a Miss Marple book. In a rural community a murder is announced in the local paper's personal ads. A group of people gather at the house in question, assuming a murder game is in the offering (murder games do turn up frequently in crime fic of this era I've noticed). However, a real murder takes place, and Miss Marple turns up to solve it. Definitely one of the better Christies I've read - not saying much.

Laurie R. King: The Art of Detection - aaahhhh I waited for this one. I loved it. While reading it I wanted to blab about lots of different things in it, but of course I took no notes (was in breast-feeding agony) so poo to me.

A Sherlock Holmes aficionado and collector is found murdered in an almost inaccessible spot. Turns out that the very same spot is where the corpse is found in a purported lost Holmes story he had unearthed, and was hoping to make a fortune from, not to mention create a stir with. Kate Martinelli is back on cop duty here. I was so pleased to see that herself and Lee are doing so well and have a lovely daughter. (I'm sad, i know. They're not real people *repeat to fade*)

The Holmes story is, to those of us familiar with the Russell series, obviously "true". However, to Kate, living in our reality, Sherlock Holmes was an entirely fictional figure. We the readers recognize the tone and style from the Russell books and "know" that this is not at all fiction, and here everything becomes charmingly meta-something and post-modern (possibly). I was smitten by it. It's like being in a special club. I wonder how much non-initiates could appreciate of the book though, since the cross-over bits are what made the novel great IMO.

Thank you Laurie!

Now, a bit of a find: Gladys Mitchell: Late, late in the evening (the link there is for a tribute page, nothing official). Apparently Gladys is a Big Deal. I'd never heard of her. The shame, the shame.In my defence the library seem to have only two of her novels. Two. She has written (I now know) 86 (unless I miscounted). And short stories. More to the point, she's good. Sure, the cover has the usual blurbs "as good as Dorothy Sayers" one says, but I can now say with certainty that it's true (well, perhaps not AS good as Sayers, not much is).

Her heroine is Miss Bradley, who later on becomes Dame. Being lazy today, allow me to link you to synopsis (-es?) of the book here and here. I was very taken by this too. I loved the way we got the story from different points of view - we start off with the children telling it, but as adults, so we are hearing about something that happened in Miss Bradley's past, but one can assume that the devoted reader has lots of background info about what happens to Margaret and Kenneth and Miss Bradley later, and this is charming in itself. Then Miss Bradley sometimes takes over the narrative - but in letters to a friend. And other letter-writers pitch in too. It could be just confusing, as though the author hadn't made up her mind, but it works. Oh, and Miss Bradley is a psychologist - which is pretty awesome for a character created in 1929 or whatever.

My only mark-down might be for a slightly undramatic ending, but it does fit with the narrative style, and also possibly that the children's dialogue is slightly precocious.

Now, how am I going to get hold of more of her novels?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Elaine Viets is not well.

Says Laurie R King. That's a shame - I know I'm after dissing her books a tad, but I think Elaine herself seems like a really fun person to know. Let's hope she recovers quickly and fully!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Asså, kul att ha baby MEN...

... man kan inte blogga. För det är jobbigt att skriva med en hand.

Och när man väl får tid att sätta sig så glömmer man vad man ville säga... jo, jag tänkte beklaga mig över att jag inte var smart nog att skapa en alltmöjligt-blogg istället för en specifik bokblogg. För det är lättare att jamsa och tramsa än vara strukturerad när man har en Minimus som pockar på uppmärksamhet. Och så kan man delge en otroligt intresserad Blogg-omvärld sin sons utveckling och så. Eller tala om att man lagat gnocchi efter en recept från Aglio e olio, en blogg man hittat via Fridas - sånt är ju kul. Fast gnocchin blev sådär, borde kokat längre tror jag, alternativt varit mindre.

Min älskade make köpte Laurie King's The Art of Detection till mig som BB-present, för han kom ihåg att jag pratat om den och suktat. Så den vill jag skriva om, fast ordentligt. Kanske imorgon. Sen har jag läst klart den andra Viets-boken, och en Agatha Christie... imorgon kanske. Fast Laurie förtjänar ett helt eget inlägg.

Just idag fyller Minimus 4 veckor. Heh. Det blir inte mycket läst ska jag säga. Men en och annan sudoku, och tv...