For some reason, a bunch of books I’ve read recently has been about love. So in an attempt to hack off a chunk of the reading backlog, this post will tackle four books that revolve around this theme, namely: Aspects of Love by David Garnett; Oliver’s Story by Erich Segal; Forever by Judy Blume; and Shakespeare in Love: The Love Poetry of William Shakespeare (books # 91-94 of 2009).
Aspects of Love is the novella on which the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same title is based. I’ve never seen the musical, but I remember reading about it when it was staged by a local production here in the Philippines, so I was curious about the book.
Aspects of Love deals with different forms of love, involving the web of relationships that involve the sultry actress Rose Vibert; her young admirer Alexis Dillingham; his uncle, the wealthy gentleman George Dillingham; George’s mistress, the fiery artist Giuletta Trappani; and Rose and George’s daughter, Jenny.
It was a quick read for me, but I wasn’t fully invested in it because I felt that it was merely narrating a story and didn’t really break the surface of what the characters were supposedly feeling. It was hard to empathize with the characters because the brevity of the novella (which spans 17 years) didn’t really give you much to work with, and it really reads as if it were meant for another medium, such as the stage, or even film.
I imagine it works better as a musical, as the characters can break out into song and act out their feelings. My officemates seem to love it though, as the book is currently making the rounds at work.
The next two books are two I’ve wanted to read for some time now, both mooched from Tina.
Continue reading “Love, love, love”
Flipper and BookMoocher friend Triccie recommended John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway series to me when we were raiding the Book Sale warehouse last year, but it slipped my mind until I got a copy of Booked to Die that my mom brought home from the states, among the load of books she bought from the estate sales she went to.
I was finally able to read it (and a couple of other books) while I was getting my hair rebonded (the best reading time I’ve had in months!) a couple of weeks ago.
Booked to Die (Book #89 of 2009) is the first book in the Cliff Janeway “Bookman” mystery series by John Dunning. In this book, Cliff Janeway is a homicide detective investigating the murder of a bookscout in his home turf: Denver, Colorado, and the prime suspect is a longtime nemesis whose face he is itching to rearrange. He takes matters into his own hands, and it causes him to lose his badge.
Cliff Janeway is, in all aspects, one tough cookie, but he also happens to be a hard-core bibliophile, an avid collector of first-editions whose apartment could easily pass for an annex of the Denver Public Library.
Finding himself without a job, Cliff Janeway takes on a new career, and does something he has always dreamed of doing: putting up his own antiquarian bookshop: Twice Told Books.
Janeway appears to have settled into a more peaceful life, but as several rare (and outrageously expensive) books turn up, the body count in the local book trade rises, and Janeway’s cop instincts bring him on the trail of a murderer who will kill for a good book.
Continue reading “Meet Cliff Janeway, the crime-busting book lover”
I haven’t done a picture book roundup in nearly a month, so here’s one on my Beatrix Potter books (books 86-88 for 2009), because I recently found a great Peter Rabbit gift set at Book Sale
I didn’t really grow up on Beatrix Potter; I was familiar with her books (well, who wouldn’t be, they’re the best selling picture books of all time!) but I didn’t really pay attention to them until later on, I think when I was in high school, when my sister got The Tailor of Gloucester as a Christmas present and it became my favorite Beatrix Potter story.
The Tailor of Gloucester is similar to The Elves and the Shoemaker story, but in Beatrix Potter style, it involves a cat named Simpkin and a band of mice. The tailor needs to sew a coat for the Mayor of Gloucester, and has all the pieces cut out and laid out at his shop, but he is lacking one skein of cherry-colored silk.
Continue reading “Peter Rabbit and company (Picture Book Roundup #6)”
Setting is one of the important factors that draw me to reading a book, especially when I’m trying out an author for the first time. I find that there are certain settings that appeal to me more than others, and sometimes, the setting alone influences my decision to purchase a book that I’ve never even heard of.
I’m particular about setting because by nature, I’m an escapist reader – I like getting lost in the imagery of the words, transported to the very heart of the story, forgetting for the moment the never-ending to do lists, looming deadlines, and the general chaos of daily life. The setting just makes everything so much more real for the imagination, bringing the plot and characters to life.
- the escapist reader
I like the centers of art: Florence (as in Sarah Dunant’s Birth of Venus, Diane Haeger’s The Ruby Ring) and Delft (Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring); the musical city of Vienna (Eva Ibbotson’s A Song for Summer and Star of Kazan); Spain, rife with mystery (Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind and Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Club Dumas and The Fencing Master); the English countryside, sometimes romantic, other times forbidding (Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, Eva Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift, Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale); the vibrant Venice (Sarah Dunant’s In the Company of the Courtesan, Zizou Corder’s Lionboy, Donna Jo Napoli’s Daughter of Venice); and the exotic Morrocco (Barbara Hodgson’s The Tattooed Map, Zizou Corder’s Lionboy) or Greece (Eugene Trivizas’ The Last Black Cat).
The Italian countryside can be quite charming (Under the Tuscan Sun, Every Boy’s Got One), but for a rustic gastronomic adventure, books set in the French countryside always hit the spot for me, providing a heady experience of sights, sounds, tastes, and textures, as in Peter Mayle’s Chasing Cezanne and A Year in Provence; or Joanne Harris’ Chocolat.
Today’s books are non-fiction, but also set against the backdrop of pastoral France: Champagne: The Spirit of Celebration by Sara Slavin and Karl Petzke; and Sara Midda’s South of France: A Sketchbook (books #84-85 of 2009), both rummaged at Book Sale for P20 ($0.40) and P40 ($0.80) each, respectively (squee!).
Continue reading “Frenching it up”
Several weeks ago, I spotted the book Shelf Life by Rosie Walford with Paula Benson and Paul West (book #76 for 2009) at Book Sale but it was priced P170 (around $3.50) so as amusing as it appeared to be, I decided to pass. Whenever I’m in Book Sale and a book I like is too expensive (i.e. over P100, that’s around $2) and I don’t think I’ll lose sleep if I don’t buy it right away, I usually pass because I’m always hopeful that a cheaper copy will turn up sooner or later.
This Sunday, I found a copy of Shelf Life at another Book Sale branch and it was only P90 (under $2), so I decided the book belonged on my book shelf.
Shelf Life, subtitled “A celebration of the world’s quirkiest brands,” is a pictorial collection of local products from all over the world that have funny and peculiar (often suggestive) brand names.
I’ll let some photos from the book do the talking, just pardon the whacked-out angles as my scanner is currently out of commission.
Dutch brown sugar
I wonder exactly how inviting this one is?
Maybe it talks?
It must have some special properties!
And here are a couple of brands that are available here in the Philippines:
I’ve always been queasy at the thought of ingesting this.
One of my favorite childhood snacks!
The book is a lot of fun to leaf through, and I was in stitches the whole time!
My copy: hardcover
My rating: 4/5 stars