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03 September 2008 @ 10:37 pm
Blah blah blah  
I am one lazy bitch tonight; can't even be bothered posting images... And I'm supposed to be thinking of an interesting essay topic for design theory, but I just can't rack my brains. I'd rather droll out worthless remarks on books no one cares to read. I don't suppose I'd have it any other way.

Never Romance a Rake - Liz Carlyle
The fact that I don't even remember what happened in this book clearly tells you something... like, it was boring. Dear Ms Carlyle, if you're going to go down the alley of the "tortured hero" (surely it's trademarked within the romance genre by now?) then PLEASE do it in an appealing, interesting way, and not through regurgitations of previous works! It's a fucking insult to this particular fan of yours. Granted, I liked the feistiness of the French heroine, but even she got old quickly for me when tied the knot with Kieran (what kind of hero's name is that? Reminds me of the Australian Olympic swimmer). In any case, the rake was doing the romancing mostly; the woman was all compliance, as usual. I'm quite disappointed, overall.
Verdict: 3/5

The Thursday Next series (ongoing) - Jasper Fforde
I got The Eyre Affair as a present for Christmas in 2005, and it's only now that I've finished the quadrilogy (the fifth book is newly released and I hate the book cover so I'm refusing to buy it--at present). I suppose it was because the first book was a bit sluggish for me; I found the second and third books much more lively and witty. Probably because they featured far more interesting literary characters apart from the demure Jane Eyre and the rugged Edward Rochester--Miss Havisham (from Great Expectations) clearly being the outstanding figure. Now if only Dickens had taken a note or two from Mr Fforde--his books would have been more enjoyable for the bored senior high schooler forced to endure English literature (because God forbid anyone reading an ancient text). I can think of worse Dickensian punishments... like emptying Mr. Tulkinghorn's chamberpot or sniffing Fagin's armpits or what-have-you. Anyway, these books will most likely only appeal to bibliophiles--the constant tongue-in-cheek referencing to the English language and syntax and English literature would go over the head of a typical person (including yours truly; I enjoy the classics but whether I am well-read is another matter) but hey, give it a shot--you may be surprised and even enjoy the ridiculous ride to a world where semi-colons actually come to life.
Verdict: 4/5 avg

Addition - Toni Jordan
I'm trying to broaden my scope of Australian literature and all in between, apart from the usual Courtenays, Wintons and Careys, and giving more Australian authors, both new and old, a chance. I'm glad I took notice of this particular book 'cause it was like my drug for three hours. It's very polished for a debut novel. Methinks I should sign up for RMIT's writing course if they produce work like this. I thank the A2 liftout in the Saturday Age (this is only one of the many newspaper features I read religiously, never miss a piece of this) for the feature on Toni Jordan. She has a refreshing writing style, and she's a seasoned Melburnian (all the more to love her). And her heroine is what a six year old kid with the worldliness of a rock a would describe as "WEIRD". Obsessive-compulsives aren't all Germophobics--this obsessive-compulsive heroine COUNTS. Everything. From the letters of a potential lover's name to the dimensions of her apartment to the number of seeds on her daily orange seed cake. The hero is not some swashbuckling knight bursting with rippling muscle but an "average" bloky football-loving, meat-pie-eating cinema-buff who nonetheless possesses the sex appeal of said swashbuckling knight. Did I mention he's Irish? Oh, and Nikola Tesla, the world's most forgotten inventor, is the heroine's equivalent of the first Australian Idol. This book is borderline chick-lit--the type of chick-lit that I detest, but what distinguishes it from all the other Bridget-Jones-esqueness of others is that it embraces the weirdness of said heroine, and deals with serious issues in an endearing, confronting but never dark manner.
Verdict: 4/5 -- crack on High Street (geddit? Oh I do amuse myself)

The Painted Veil - W. Somerset Maugham
I just remembered this book because the DVD of the film adaptation is out tomorrow. I read this months back, not long after I saw the Edward Norton/Naomi Watts film in summer and my life was changed forever (pretty much this was so). Maugham is known for a poetic, lyrical writing style and bad characterisation but this novel is a beautiful insight into failed relationships and the blossoming of something deeper in the face of adversity. The 2006 film took this theme of forgiveness further in a more contextual way. No happy endings but I wouldn't have had it any other way myself. Plus, Edward Norton is sexy. Oh wait, I'm talking about the book, right?
Verdict: 4/5

The Good German - Joseph Kanon
Now I love me some World War II drama, and this book doesn't disappoint with its historically rich detail and taut thriller plot. It's not bad that the film tie-in cover features an ever-handsome George Clooney as the protagonist hero. Seriously what man doesn't look good in a soldier's uniform? I'm spontaneously combusting just thinking about it. So here we are in post-war Germany and American journalist Jake Gesimar is picking up some of the pieces for his latest article. He has a German mistress (don't they all?), the lovely, charismatic but broken Lena. Really it's got all the good stuff of a classic pulp book. I just spent too long finishing this baby off (I bought it in April 2007 and finished it pretty much in April/May 2008).
Verdict: 3.5/5

I dunno why (or maybe I do) but I am avoiding Breaking Dawn like the plague, and I am SUPREMELY amused by Stephenie Meyer's so-called hissy fit re: the leak of a mere draft of her Edwardian novel... for fuck's sake woman, get over it. Good thing JKR has a level head otherwise Voldemort might never have kicked the bucket... or worse yet Ron and Hermione would never have consummated their passionate smexy love (!!!!!!!!!!!). Good grief!

Anyhoo, off to read Kathryn Smith's latest Brotherhood of Blood (geez, how lame does it sound when spoken aloud?) offering, Let the Night Begin. I'm keeping my expectations low but it's so hard when one has so thoroughly enjoyed the predecessors. I haven't even written reviews on her stuff--see, that's how lazy I am.