Sunday, 27 October 2013

Mahu - #40

Image sourced from here 
Oh this book is just fun. Murder mystery, surfing, Hawaii, hot boy on boy action. What's not to love?!

The trimming's aside, this is a great little police procedural, murder mystery style book. Murder happens, policeman makes mistakes, rapidly tries to cover up mistakes while solving crime, gets kicked off case, must solve crime at all costs and does. I would mark that as a spoiler, but really. All of us who read crime fiction or murder mysteries knows that's how it goes. It's like the quote from That's Entertainment of either Frank Sinatra or Gene Kelly (I'd have to crawl under the house to get the VHS to tell you which one). Everyone knows the plot to a musical is "Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy looses girl. Boy sings song and wins girl back." It's not a spoiler if we all know that's going to happen!

So disclaimers aside about spoilers, this book does it well. Throw in Hawaii for a nice change of scene. And more importantly for cultural twists on the coming out story. Mind you, that did surprise me somewhat. As well as the workplaces response. There is no workplace in this country that could have responded to an employee coming out like that that would not get it's arse sued off for discrimination and wrongful dismissal. I have a hard time believing that in a country like the States where you seem to be able to sue any one for anything, that this was not an issue.

However the book reminded me again and again we were not in the States, we were in Hawaii. There were a large mix of cultures and traditions at play here and it was interesting to learn about them all. Kimo's family particularly is one we get a good glimpse into and learn a few of their customs and quirks.

Maybe again, not the best on the train read. Although the cover is pretty inconspicuous. But if you are prone to blushing like myself, maybe not the best place to read this book. The sex isn't graphic and usually tastefully dealt with with the literary equivalent of the fade out. I realise that with masculine sexuality there may be a bit more physicality to some sexual experiences, but I did feel there was a few scenes where sex was used as a power play thing, and danced around the edges of sexual abuse. But we never got to the line, let alone fell over it. It just was a little... off... at times. But when it was all with good intentions, I have absolutely no problems with that or the amount of nipples. There's lots of nipples.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Love in the Time of Cholera - #39

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Oh this is a tricky book. I hate these posts where I have no idea where they are going to end when I am starting.

Again, a very highly acclaimed book, but probably more, a highly acclaimed author, Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez. I have heard so much about him. Actually, to be fair it did prepare me for an incredibly dense read. And I think I got off lightly on that front. Yes, I read it for a week, then on a 3 hour bus ride to the airport, then a 24 hour flight to the UK, then multiple 1 hour train rides to where my brother lived in Oxfordshire from London. But from what I had heard of his writing, I expected it to last me almost 4 weeks of travelling. I was pleasantly surprised.

I mean, that is a long read, but it could have been worse. The measurement of life really.

The story itself is about a lady called Fermina Daza. You meet her at the end of her life. Well, on the day her husband dies.  And then we go back in time and look at her life, but more importantly, through her relationship with a man called Florentino Ariza. It's nice. I like Fermina. I want to know about her and her husband.

Who I do not like is Florentino. Which is unfortunate as about 70% of the book is about him. It's about his love. His infatuation. His conquests. His lovers. His lies. I just don't give a shit. He seems like a repulsive man I would spend no time with and probably in all honesty, not talking myself up here, see through his bullshit and send him on his way.

I am, I concede, a very different woman to Fermina and who she was allowed to be in turn of the century Columbia. But really? You buy it? All of it? Do all of the other women? Really?

Look, you will turn me off when you write a book saying (author [yes you Paulo Coelho] or character) "I'm a fucking studmuffin". I don't buy it. It screams fantasy. I do not need to partake in it. More importantly, I do not WANT to. Go away.

So why 3 stars? (sorry, SPOILER). Because for what it was it was well written, vaguely enjoyable studmufffin fantasy. But because I liked Fermina. I wanted to know how her story ended. And I did and I understood her. I am not sure who he meant to be the "main" character in this book and whether this achieves his goal or not. That intrigues me about the man. And will I got back for A Hundred Years of Solitude one day? Yes.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Kite Runner - #38

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As some of you may have gathered or otherwise know, I have been MIA in the last little while (family emergency that required urgent and immediate overseas travel).  I am back however now, and have a whole pile of books to review for you. No really, I have 6 books sitting here with 2 more soon to be added to that list. By the end of the next few weeks you will be thoroughly sick of me!!

The Kite Runner. It's nearly 2 months since I read you. This is another book that has been recommended to me over and over again. I am glad I finally got a chance to read it. The book starts with the story of Amir and his friend/servant Hassan, and their relationship as children. Then, one day an event happens that changes this forever, and if that wasn't enough, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan and changes their country and the world forever.

Amir and his father escape to America, and the book follows their story as Afghani refugees/migrants in the States and the lives they make for themselves there, including considering the problems/issues that these refugees/migrants had in America 30 years later, after September 11.

I was worried about this book. I was worried it wouldn't live up to the hype. I enjoyed the first half of the book, although I really need to read a nice happy, fluffy book sometime soon for the sake of my sanity. And then I felt like I plodded through the rest of the book. But looking back on it, I plodded at an extraordinary speed and read that 50% of the book in one afternoon. I knew I devoured the last bit of the book, but not quite that much. I finished it, and put it down, and thought "Hmm". And then the book worked it's magic.

I could not stop thinking about it. I found myself zoning out hours later thinking about the story and the characters and what happened and what could happen...

I usually do this for an hour or so, if the book was good. Maybe a day if it was amazing. But this book kept going. I couldn't think about any other story for almost 72 hours. I had heard of friends of mine reading this book and breaking down in public places like buses. I didn't have that, so thought it didn't affect me. 

Not at all it turns out, this one is a slow burner.