Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What (not) to read

I must say, that since adding a "Currently-reading" column to the blog I've been rather well-structured in finishing old books before beginning new ones. And I'm proud to say I still haven't exceeded the nine-books-at-the-time-limit either. Well done, me!

Now time for some book-reviews I think. First one will be the "cult-book" I'd never heard of before I got a tip from one of my Katter iFokus-community-members - The Tales of the City-series by Armistead Maupin. I bought the first book online, just to try it out. I'm glad I didn't buy the whole series though, since it's basically just easy reading in a mindless way, superficial and to be honest, pretty boring stuff that never did hit the right spot. For me.

I guess it's a bit too San Francisco-1978 for my liking. I'd love to visit San Francisco, it seems to be a beautiful city in many aspects, but when/if that happens one day, I sure do hope I'll find more interesting tales, with a deeper meaning, that gives food for thoughts, from that city, than these books...

I love the Garnethill-trilogy by Denise Mina, and Sanctum. She doesn't duck the seedy sides of life and - just like with Ian Rankin's Rebus - it's interesting with books that have a main-character that isn't an all perfect, successful, fantastic, beautiful, amazing, likable being. Sometimes quite the opposite really, but still fighting the good fight that noone else seems to know or even care about.

The Field of Blood follows that same set-up, with the aspiring Irish journalist Paddy Meehan and a story of a murder that's close to home. For me this book - which is the first in a planned series of five books - doesn't jump at me from the first few pages, like Mina's other books. Yes this book is also a chilling and sad story, in this case also about smallminded religiousness and the "importance" of showing a united front with the family no matter what the cost is.

The complete gloating in other peoples misery and unfortune makes me shudder - so in some ways I suppose the book did grab me. And yes, the collection of characters and the way they live their lives, and want everyone else to live theirs, makes me really, really grateful for being born here and now, in my family and in my community and nowhere else!

And then we have a really silly, pointless book with mostly fable short-stories - Folk Tales from Africa: The Girl Who married a Lion by Alexander McCall Smith. From reading his lovely The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency-series with its thoughtful wisdom and kindness that always leave me in a good mood, ready to do good and be a better person, I did have high hopes for this collection of short stories. Hopes that were completely crushed from reading just a few pages, the stories completely lacked of a twist and the moral philosophy-point was "eh, what?".

The only reason for me actually finish reading the book - of a mere 123 pages, thank goodness - was that I still kept hoping I'd find at least ONE fable with a point to it. I didn't. And since the book's sold for the good cause of raising money to a children's hospital in Zimbabwe, my only words are: don't buy this book, don't read it, it's such a complete waste of time, give the money directly to that good cause instead!

But since I didn't want this goal post shot of a book to give a longlasting impression of my views on McCall Smith's writing, I immediately began reading the second book in The Sunday Philosophy Club-series: Friends, Lovers and Chocolate (isn't that an appealing title or what?!). All is well in my world of books again.


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