Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Stories to think about (Cuentos para pensar), by Jorge Bucay

I received this book as a birthday present, after having been astonished to see a whole display of this author's books inside a major bookstore.  I'm (almost) ashamed to say I had not heard his name before - as a result, I was curious to see what I could discover; the fact that he's a Gestalt psychotherapist only added fuel to my expectations!

In the back cover of Stories to think about, Bucay declares that his books "provide material for the brain, they help the reader to think about the world and himself". 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Cooking: Alternative pizza recipes

What is pizza for me?  tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni and a lovely carb "vessel" to carry off these delicacies...

But I don't want to have classic pizza all the time --  that's why I try to find recipes that still include my favourite ingredients and also bring the pleasure of eating pizza to a whole new level!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Classics Club: The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells

I'm back in blogosphere after almost two years of an incredible slump in my reading habits (or any habits in fact, but that's another story...).  

I've started again - baby steps -  to read at a regular pace (at least half an hour in the mornings, when all is still quiet) and I am easing my way into the world of book challenges as well. It is for this reason that I wanted to commence my participation with something easy, with a taste of light reading.  

A classic novella fits this bill perfectly, I believe.  The Invisible Man, by H.G. Wells, is a well-known specimen and it will serve nicely as my first attempt in the 2015 challenges!

Friday, 16 January 2015

To rise again at a decent hour, by J. Ferris

Much as I like reading the classics, I also enjoy leaving my comfort zone and experiment with modern literature:  in most cases, I'm surprised either by how good or how bad it can be.  With this book, the jury is still out.  It's so different, I was grasped onto it, and read it voraciously...

In Joshua Ferris' To Rise again at a Decent Hour, we are introduced to the mind of Paul O'Rourke, a middle-aged grumpy dentist.  He's just fed up with everything, disappointed with everyone around him, dissatisfied with his own existence.  We are then invited to listen to his most intimate thoughts...

Friday, 9 January 2015

The Vicious Vet / The Murderous Marriage - Agatha Raisin mysteries, by M.C.Beaton

I came upon Agatha Raisin a while ago, when I needed some comfort reading.  So, when I was half-way through a difficult book for my bookclub (To rise again at a Decent Hour, comments to follow) I found myself at that same phase -- I was so perplexed that I needed some distraction.  Hence, not one but two comfort books, which I read in two days...

The plot of both books is, of course, a murder:  how else would Agatha Raisin keep busy when she's not trying to find love in the Cotswolds?  

In the Vicious VetAgatha finds herself with two kitties when a new vet arrives in town.  Pity that when she tries to charm him, she realises that half the village (women) the same idea has...
When the vet, Paul Bladen, is found dead, Agatha will need to pull all strings to find the murderer - together with James Lacey, her neighbour and love interest supreme who proves to be a challenge:

(Agatha) did not like people who suddenly quoted things at you, leaving you feeling unread and inadequate.  In fact, she thought they only did it to show off

The book is incredibly fast-paced, with hilarious moments keeping the interest high.  The "dark" moments are not overpowering and the end result is a pleasant read, ideal for a pick-me-up request.

The Murderous Marriage, on the other hand, is not, in my humble opinion, one of Agatha's better moments.  Already from the outset, the fact that on James' and Agatha's wedding date, we learn of the existence of her non-divorced, non-annuled, perfectly alive and well husband - who basically wrecks the whole ceremony - is a bit far-fetched.  Living in the same country, deserting the husband, and expecting to commit bigamy just like that... meh.  

And then he's dead. And then there's plenty of other people ending up dead.  Which is way too many, if I may say so myself.  For each one of these, Agatha and James  are primary suspects.  Again, too much of a good thing is not always better.  I kept rolling my eyes as to each new incident, where the police would call on the couple - because, of course they continue to live together.

And this is another issue I have trouble with.  Agatha and James have just had their marriage cancelled.  The emotions should be sky-high, and yet they react so rationally that I get upset on their behalf... 

(James): "I think I will always be too sore at you, Agatha, to ever want to marry you.  But the had fact is that we have worked well together in the past and together we might clear this up"

Also, already from the middle of the story, for the first time, I have my suspicions about the murderer and I'm right.  This is the final straw -- if I can guess whodunnit that early, I lose interest...

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Santa Klaus murder, by Mavis Doriel Hay

I picked up this book after reading a review by Margaret at BooksPlease, hailing it as an easy-going, holiday-appropriate piece of literature.  This is exactly what I needed, being in the middle of a difficult book (To Rise again at a Decent Hour, review to follow), which I've abandoned twice until now.  Holiday reads are meant to be relaxing and not much mind-engaging, but nevertheless attention-grabbing and entertaining!  With this in view,  I started reading The Santa Klaus murder by Mavis Doriel Hay (ok, perhaps it was also the title that triggered an interest ...)



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