Friday, May 19, 2006

Recent reading

Yesterday's post reminded me that I've read a few books recently while on sick leave. The following comments are not by any stretch of the imagination intended as proper reviews - I didn't read them to review, and my mind was pretty distracted by other things, anyway, so they didn't get 100% attention!

Poison Study by Maria Snyder. I enjoyed this fantasy; it's well-written with a well-created world and likeable characters. Of course, taking a book called Poison Study when going to ER with weird symptoms is probably not the wisest thing, but fortunately nobody arrested me ;-)

Nora Roberts' In the Garden trilogy. These were fine, but in my distracted state I didn't find them as good as the Quinn brothers quartet, which was my first introduction to La Nora. I wasn't totally convinced that the first two couples really were the best match for each other; I didn't feel a strong emotional connection either between me and them or between the characters. But, as I said, I was distracted by other things so maybe that was just me.

March, by Geraldine Brooks. I'd been thinking about buying this one before it won its big prize, so picked it up when I was going away the other week. It was okay - competently written and constructed and well researched - but it didn't grab me. I couldn't really relate Brooks' portrayal of March and Marmee with the characters in Little Women, so it didn't work for me in that way. I also found the mention of all the famous people - Thoreau etc - a little contrived. Brooks based the March character on Louisa Alcott's father, who did know all the luminaries of his area, but I sort-of felt that they didn't have much of a place in the plot other than to impress with all the famous people March supposedly socialised with. But then, I'm a hard to please beech when it comes to literary fiction ;-)

The Crimson Code, by Rachel Lee. There was nothing on the Australian edition of this book to indicate that it's part of a series, but there were a lot of references in the text to previous happenings that strongly suggested this is part 2 of a series. It's also not a romance, which is okay, except the back cover blurb could have been for a romantic suspense and I started it assuming it was. (It's published by Mira, who do a lot of romantic suspense, but also a few non-romantic ones.) Anyway - it was quite okay. Once again, competently written, lots of twisted plot strands woven in, and nothing that jerked me out of the story. It entertained me sufficiently that I kept reading (on the rocking chair in the sun room) until I finished it. Although I haven't read The Da Vinci Code yet, I suspect this book has some similar themes - the Mary Magdalene and Christ were married theories, Templar conspiracies etc, but this book has other elements as well, including international terrorism etc.

So, that's what I've been reading lately. We're off to Perth tomorrow for 10 days, which I'm looking forward to, so one of my tasks tonight is to raid the bookshelves for some reading material to take - we spend most of the day tomorrow on planes, which should be at least two books' worth! However, having had a reading binge lately, the TBR pile is not very big - I may have to take an old favourite or two, or check the airport newsagent in Sydney when we're in between planes.

The blog will probably be quiet again while I'm in Perth, as we won't have a lot of time for internetting. Have a good week while I'm gone!

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