Saturday, August 20, 2011

Book reviews

I love to read and have always been a voracious reader. One of the best parts of not doing anything is that I have a lot of extra time to read! Here are some reviews of books I've read recently.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: I really enjoyed this book. I read it about a year ago, as a recommendation from Amazon, and it was an excellent recommendation. It's about a retired major who becomes friends with a Pakistani immigrant and has to confront racism in his small English town. There's also an issue about the inheritance of an antique gun after his brother dies. Highly recommended! The tone is really enjoyable and the characters are well developed.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: This is an epistolary novel about the effects of World War II on the island of Guernsey, which was occupied by the Germans, and a little bit of London too. Letters between Juliet/Izzy, a journalist, and the residents of Guernsey tell the story of the German occupation and how the residents of Guernsey used their literary society and friendship to overcome those hardships. Eventually Juliet/Izzy decides to write a book about Guernsey island and moves there for several months. The characters are
wonderful, the tone is funny, and it reminded me a lot of Jane Austen's writing, which is
good because she's my favorite author :). Highly recommended! The story and characters are really wonderful.

The Georgia Nicholson Diaries: This is a series of ten books by a comedian that are the diary of a teenager, and they are hilarious! I think they are meant to be read by adults who remember being that ridiculous, or who enjoy reading about how ridiculous teenagers can be, but they are also very popular with teenagers, and I don't think they get that. Oh well. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging is the first book and shares Georgia's search for a sex god boyfriend, and her struggles with her parents and much younger sister. Hilarious, and very good for a light read.

I'll add that I'm really not a fan of dramatic novels and prefer stories that are mostly nice and not bloody or traumatic. My life is tough enough, and I don't need to read things that are unpleasant.

Which is perhaps why I wasn't so much a fan of the novel Faithful Place. This was an Amazon recommendation, and I do like mysteries along the lines of Dan Brown and Agatha Christie, so I thought, why not try this one. It's about a police officer who hasn't had contact with his family for about 20 years when he was supposed to elope with his girlfriend, but she never showed and so he ran away on his own. His girlfriend's suitcase is found, and soon after her body, and he's drawn back into the world of lower class Dublin while trying to solve this case. The story was sort of interesting, but I had it figured out about half way through the book, and the way it was written wasn't terribly interesting. I'll give it a half recommendation, if this is your kind of book.

Remarkable Creatures:. I haven't finished this one yet, but I'm really enjoying it. It's set in the 19th century in Lyme Regis, England (another Austen tie in!) and deals with the relationship between two female fossil hunters. It's set in the first half of the 19th century so evolution hasn't been proposed yet, but these fossil hunters find fossils that don't fit animals that are alive today, so where did they come from? One becomes a very famous fossil hunter, and their friendship and work is played out against the background of 19th century opinions about women working and taking credit for discoveries like these fossils. Highly recommended! Makes me want to read more Tracy Chevalier. I enjoyed The Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn (and seeing the tapestries at the Musee Cluny) so I'll probably add more of her books to my "to read" list.

Last one for today! My cousin was an extra in the movie Flipped, and after seeing the back of her head and finding the movie cute, I decided to read the book, and really liked it. The story is almost exactly the same as it is in the movie. It alternates points of view of the same events as experienced by a boy and a girl who are neighbors. The girl is in love with the boy for years, but he finds her embarrassing and so tries to ignore her. It's about the things she does to impress him and how their relationship changes over the years. Very well written and a very cute story!

Hope you find something here that interests you, and if you have read any of these, tell me what you read and how you liked it!


shannon said...

I haven't read any of these, but I'll have to check some of them out! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society sounds really interesting. I love things set in that time period. I'll have to see if has it used for cheap!

shannon said...

I found the book for a euro on, so I ordered it!

au soleil levant said...

Glad you found a book that interests you! The Guernsey... is one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read, so I hope you like it as much as I do. How on earth did you get it for 1 euro??? And is it in English or a French translation?

shannon said...

It's a used copy in English off You can often find titles for ,01 + 2,99 for shipping, so that's only 3 euros! I've been buying lots of books like that.

getyourselfconnected said...

Interesting list. Have not read any of those. Where is the review for "Time and Again"? LOL.

au soleil levant said...

Shannon - if only I had known that when I lived in France!

GYsC - you know, when I was responding to Shannon earlier today, I realized that I had left Time and Again off the list! I was just Going through books on my Kindle, so that one didn't make it on the list this time, but it will next time!

getyourselfconnected said...

Just kidding with you. I know you like that one, one of my total favorites.

getyourselfconnected said...

Oh, I changed my avatar as well.

Zhu said...

I love the fact that you are reading very different kinds of books.

I'm looking for The Georgia Nicholson Diaries at my library. It reminds me a bit of the Adrian Mole series (which I may have recommended you before... if not email me for details). I should like it!

au soleil levant said...

GYSC - glad you know my feelings about the boo! Like the new avatar too.

Zhu - I think you'll really enjoy the Georgia Nicholson series! I don't remember Adrian Mole but I'll look into it, if it's similar to Georgia, I'm sure it will be very entertaining!

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