Sunday, July 24, 2011

B is for... bummer

I realize not many people read this blog, and that's okay, because there hasn't been much to read. This post is only about a month late. I'm afraid I don't even have a particularly good excuse for my tardiness.
The day I returned Rosie Meadows regrets... to the shelf at work, I picked out a book for B. We honestly didn't have much on the shelf other than Dan Brown and Maeve Binchy (which I've read and are therefore excluded from this challenge) and Pat Booth (which doesn't appeal in the slightest), so I took what looked like the best of the lot. The book was Wrack by James Bradley.
The blurb made it sound thrilling and fascinating, sort of Indiana Jones-ish. I was disappointed. Maybe it was because I had the beginnings of a really nasty sinus infection, maybe it was the minor crises at work that had me exhausted, but I failed dismally in all attempts to read the book. I could not get past the opening chapter.
I tried. I even gave myself an extra week to try and make a dent in it before I gave up and placed it back on the shelf.
Now, because I didn't read the book, I don't feel it fair to comment even on the part that I did read.
Three weeks later, I still have not recovered fully from the sinus infection or the crushing blow dealt to my ego by my inability to finish the book.
So I've decided, in view of a looming deadline, to postpone my next attempt at the Bs until later in the year. Depending on how tricky my schedule gets us we come up to my best friend's wedding in December (bridesmaid stuff is hard) I may have to leave it to the new year, but I hope I'll be able to avoid that.
So to anyone who reads this blog, I will wish the very pleasantest of times until we meet again.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A is for Alliott

For the first book of the challenge, I chose Rosie Meadows regrets... by Catherine Alliott.

When I was standing in front of the "A" shelf at work, this book fairly jumped into my hand of its own accord. It might have been the not-so-subtle green text of the author's name on the spine that caught my eye, but the blurb made me think it would be a good bit of light-hearted froth to ease my way into this thing. I wasn't wrong.

I must admit that I was not impressed at first. Rosie Meadows seemed to be a sort of married-with-a-kid Bridget Jones; her hubby, Harry, seemed to have no redeeming features; and the mother was a modern Mrs Bennett. I thought someone had taken every bit of chick-lit ever written, tossed it into a blender, and then watered it down. It was like seeing a gorgeously shiny apple in a friend's kitchen, biting into it, and realising it's made of wax.

There was a sentence early in the book which I could not make head or tail of, and still can't figure out now. Whether it is the sentence that is badly written or my brain that is badly wired I can't say, but I suspect (and rather hope for my own sanity) it is the former. But writers, editors, and printers are all human. Humans, as we all know, make mistakes. 

Still, encouraged by what I chose to assume was a Doctor Who reference and determined not to quit the challenge on the very first book, I pressed on. I was rewarded with a surprisingly entertaining sort of whodunit sitcom vaguely reminiscent of the Jeeves books, with the perfect amount of drama to prevent it being completely silly. The "big reveals" (of which there are several scattered throughout the book), while wholly predictable, are well-written enough to still extract a little gasp - if only of the "you mean I was right?" variety.

Will this book find a permanent spot on my bookshelf? Probably not. But if you're feeling down and need something easily digestible with all the right feelings in all the right places, it's well worth the couple of hours it takes to read.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Challenge

Working in a bookshop is pretty cool - I get to spend most days surrounded by my favourite thing in the world. Yes, there's a lot more to it than sitting around and reading, but I do get to read a lot more than I have in any other job.

I must admit that I have a problem, and I think it's one that a lot of people have - I tend to read the same sorts of books by the same sorts of authors, and never make the time to read anything new. So I decided that over the next year, I would force myself to read other things. I set myself a challenge.

The rules are easy:
One "new" author for each letter, with new meaning one I've not read before.
One book per author.
Two weeks per book, during which time I must read the book more than once.
At the end of the two weeks, I write a "review" of the book.
NO sci-fi, fantasy, YA, or supernatural fiction (because those are what I usually read).

The challenge officially started at the beginning of the month, but I'm only just getting around to setting up the blog now because I spent a long time agonising over the name. I've already read through the first book once, but I feel it would be best to read through everything twice (or more if possible) before I review it. The first review will be posted at some point next Sunday.