Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New beginnings.

2012 has got off to a rather lovely start books wise. Unable to commit to just one blissful new book on my love of my life kindle I have instead plumped for lots. I have made inroads into them all but am nowhere finishing any of them, striving as I am to read so many at once!

'American Gods' by Neil Gaimen is shaping up very nicely and I am enjoying having him take a more serious and less shallow interaction with his topic matter. For once it is also a lot less of a fantasy novel for while it utterly is so, it is still set loosely within our world, rather than entering another world as 'Neverwhere' and 'Stardust' do. I already like it a great deal more than his other books.

'Death at Pemberley' by 'P.D. James is also most interesting. She is a prolific crime novelist and up until now I had never read her work, preferring my crime to be of the middle-class lacking in blood variety that dear old Agatha Christie was so perfect at. In this book she has taken 'Pride and Prejudice' (definitely in my top ten all time favourite books) and sets her novel 6 or so years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth. The premise still being the solving of a crime, however, for one night Lydia comes screaming into Pemberley claiming Wickham has been murdered. The book so far is just readable but frankly after the first few pages which were a delight, conjuring up as they did the magic of Austen, the style in which James is writing becomes very irritating. She is clearly trying to write in the style of Austen but it lacks the humour and the ease and feels very stilted and heavy-handed. This is a shame as the actual plot is rather good.

'The American Senator' by Anthony Trollope is absolutely marvellous. I have read a great deal of his work but up until now (barring perhaps the excellent 'Lady Anna') I haven't felt he came anywhere near his magnum opus 'The Way We Live Now'. But 'The American Senator' is proving to be jolly good and almost in the same sort of way. There is an excellently scheming heroine who reminds one a good deal of Rebecca Sharp in 'Vanity Fair', a real heroine who as always is a bit of a milk sop, engagements, love interests, battles over ethics, an American who challenges the way of life of the English upper classes... it is a joy to read and so delightfully long that it can accompany me for a good long time.

'Westwood' by Stella Gibbons which is okay... I loved 'Cold Comfort Farm' and adore 'Nightingale Wood' but so far this is not living up to expectations. I was half expecting this for when an author is so universally known only for one book it takes a bit of a leap to bother with the others, but 'Nightingale Wood' I loved so much I thought perhaps her other work had been unfairly looked over. I will stick it out but the pleasure in her words, her usual witty turns of phrase do seem to be lacking.

Also 'Service with a Smile' by the ever charming P.G. Wodehouse. It is his usual best and is a delightful Blandings book. I do love Wodehouse, he really takes a lot of beating and I have never read anything remotely like him in style or content.

The utter joy of the kindle is that one can also download samples of books so for my perusal I have 'A Game of Thrones' by George R.R. Martin and 'Rangarok: The End of the Gods' by A.S. Byatt.

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