Books 1/22/05

Over the last two days I’ve zoomed through three short books. Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn is the third in her Daisy Dalrymple series ( I don’t have the second one), and it’s just as good as the first. The mystery was well done, plenty of charcters with plenty of motives, and enough red herrings to make the end a suprise. Quite enjoyable.

I picked up The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby because I loved Songbook, and this looked to be similar, but about books rather than music. That’s exactly what it is, but strangely, I liked Songbook better. The Polysyllabic Spree is a collection of columns that Hornby wrote for The Believer magazine, in which he chronicles his book purchases and books read, with commentary about whichever end of that process he feels like writing. As such, it feels a little slight, a little prone to wander. Pieces of it are laugh out loud funny, and I fully intend to pick up a number of the books he writes about, it just left me feeling like there could have been more. In Songbook he managed to take the specific and extend it to the universal, using his experiences with specific songs to examine and expound on the effects that our favorite music can have on us, and in so doing, gave voice to thoughts we’ve all struggled to express. Thats what I was hoping for in Spree, and I didn’t find it. But I enjoyed what was there.

Being slightly obsessed with deconstructed fairy tales, I’ve felt somewhat guilty that I haven’t read any of Angela Carter’s stories. Carter’s modernized, feminized fairy tales are pretty much considered the quintessential reclaiming and retelling of these stories. So when I got my little kickback from Amazon for the books you fine folks have purchased through this site (THANK YOU!), Carter’s The Bloody Chamber was one of the books I picked up. First off, the font is all wrong for me. The design of a book is an essential factor in my enjoyment of it, and this font is too small, to cramped. But, I was willing to put that aside. I read it, and I have to say, what’s the big deal? The stories are enjoyable, but not as earth shattering as I expected. Maybe it’s because I’ve benefitted from the movement she was a part of that they don’t seem so groundbreaking, put in their context maybe I would be more impressed. But as it is, I’ve read better. I’m sure thats sacrilege to someone, but what can you do? (Also, and this is petty, the cover has a quotation on the cover that uses the word ‘ironical’, and that word just bugs me. )

Next up, a biography of Marion Davies. She intrigues me.

Current total: 8
Just Finished: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Next Up: Marion Davies by Fred Laurence Guiles

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