Thursday, December 07, 2006

Recent reading

Despite my lack of posts recently, I have been reading. Here's what:

Adam Haberberg by Yasmina Reza
I reviewed this portrait of a mid-life crisis for Library Journal.
Forty-seven year old Adam Haberberg is a washed-up novelist. Depressed at the death of his loyal publisher, his loveless marriage, and his recently-diagnosed macular degeneration, Haberberg is slumped on a bench at the zoo when he is recognized by an old classmate. Despite the fact that he hasn’t seen this woman in thirty years, the hapless protagonist agrees to spend the evening with her. Although an interesting character, Haberberg’s over-the-top neuroses take away from readers’ ability to relate to him and distract from the nuggets of wisdom hidden in his stream of consciousness.

Bad Boys in Kilts by Donna Kaufmann
A contemporary romance collection featuring a trio of Scotsmen.
The one problem with reading these three stories in such quick succession is that the similarities between them were way too obvious. I liked the Chisholm brothers (at least the three that we "meet" in this collection) and their respective leading ladies. I also enjoyed the fact that "Night Watch" had an epilogue that was really an epilogue for all three stories.
"Bottoms Up" is the story that I liked best. In the other two, in my personal opinion, the relationships didn't have sufficient build-up. I know that this is fiction and that there are built-in happily-ever-afters, but I was a bit unhappy that both Daisy and Bree just fell into bed with their Chisholm.

Holy Fools by Joanne Harris
Set in 17th-century France against a backdrop of terror and religious frenzy. Juliette seeks refuge in a remote abbey - and reinvents herself as Soeur Auguste. Then her past turns up to haunt her in the guise of a man she has every reason to fear.
I listed to the audio version of this book and I have to admit that I just wasn't crazy about it. I found it a bit tedious, especially in the middle. I think I may have liked it better in print, but I'm not sure.
One thing that really bothered me is that at a certain point it seems like Juliet almost forgets about Fleur in the midst of all the drama at the abbey and that just seemed completely out of character for her.

Tamarind Mem by Anita Rau Badami
Set in the exotic railway colonies of India, this bestselling Canadian novel tells a story of the ties of love and resentment that bind a mother and daughter.
This book was a slow read for me. I enjoyed the different perspectives, but it definitely seemed like there was less of the amma's prespective than of Kamini's (though I didn't check the page count to see if that was actually the case). I do wish we could have learned more about Paul da Costa; his presence was an undercurrent throughout the book, but we really never learn enough about him and about his relationship to the family (at least one of the things I thought was hinted at earlier in the book didn't seem to be true at all); and, what we do learn in Saroja's section of the book seems inconsistent (the women in the train seem to be reacting to a different story that the one we are getting from her).

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