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review 2018-09-20 02:59
First half to see good, then the shots are fired
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

When I was around two thirds in, I started idly concocting a review in my brain, about how the almost surreal elements and characters was what gave this narrative such a verisimilitude. Cue me over the 80% mark, just going to search for a detail, and finding out this is nonfiction. Sure, there are artistic licenses, but in essence?

 

I love it when knowing absolutely nothing about a book pays up in such ways.

 

As I mentioned previously in an update, the general tone reminded me a lot of latinoamerican writing. This has a lot to do with the conservative (and quirky) societies that brew in relatively small, isolated towns. You have the sedate and beautiful surface, and the decades, generations, long ugly undercurrents. Everyone "behaves" in public out of a certain need for society and peace, and whomever "pops" may as well go the whole nine-yards and wear it like a flag.

 

So, that's basically the aim: to illustrate Savannah. The plot as it were serves the theme. We go into the deep ugly undercurrents. Almost every ugly you can imagine. Sometimes you are enraged and amused at the same time from the sheer hypocrisy rampant. I spent most of the book in some queer state of entertained stupefaction because it is so grotesque you almost can't believe it. But you do. You recognize it. It is your hometown.

 

 

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review 2018-09-16 16:19
"A Partridge in a Poison Pear Tart", by Leighann Dobbs
A partridge in a Poison Pear Tart - Leighann Dobbs

Lexy Baker Cosy Mystery book # 11.5

Grandmas playing sleuths at a retirement home after one of their own is found dead…murdered it seems by a cup cake….

I really don’t know when or where I got this book…it seemed it has been in my library for longer than it should have been….not totally my taste, a bit too simplistic but being short I think barely 50 pages it made for a fast read I didn’t mind adding on my phone. 

Grandmas helping detectives I doubt it but they were good at putting their noses where it did not belong and of course these old betties solved the case for the poor detective that tried very hard to tell them politely to go play… bocce… shuffleboard or any other game old folks may play instead. 

Short and rather sweet, by far not literature but this little tiny story was so visual I still picture in my mind how these loveable ladies were dress, how they acted and the ways they acted. Cute and funny. 

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text 2018-09-03 23:54
Reading progress update: I've read 35 out of 281 pages.
Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

There was inside him, like a flaw in a jewel, not visible on the surface, a fear and anticipation of failure that he had never been able to mend. At times, failure was a possibility that fascinated him, as at times, in high school and college, when he had allowed himself to fail examinations he might have passed; as when he married Miriam, he thought, against the will of both their families and all their friends. Hadn’t he known it couldn’t succeed? And now he had given up his biggest commission, without a murmur.

 

And here Bruno was looking like the sick cookie.

 

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review 2018-08-22 20:09
On Spousal Abuse
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

Ok. Anne is my favourite Brontë now, hands down. Her social commentary was decades before the times opinions and all around relevant still (sadly for the most part).

 

There is nothing over the top or sensational here. There is a lot of spousal abuse and neglect going around, but the fact that it's not violently brutal is like the last cherry in a way. We have this mentality that abuse is really abuse only if it surpasses a certain level (good God, that sentence gives me the creeps), and this book spits in that (in a very lady like way) and calls it for what it is: unsustainable and inexcusable. There are several instances where different men try spout a variety of rationalizations, shifting of the blame or deferred promises of change. They are all classics and shudder inducing because... well, because they not only try to fool the women, but fool themselves. They actually believe they are not that bad.

 

"Not that bad" could actually be some kind of abusive anthem. One that this books seems to have taken arms to pulverize, and my kudos to it.

 

The other thing that is done marvelously is the depiction of how precarious the abused one's position is. Even beyond the context of the restrictions of the times. As the neglect started, and I could envision it getting worse, I had this terrible anxiety over how dependent these women are. It was nerve-wreaking, and it had a point: after accepting it is not right, that pride is not worth bearing it, that there are reasons to escape (oh, and there is another interesting bit: that she can not do it for herself, but raises the courage to protect her son), you need help. This is perfect. So well done, and again, so forward thinking. That one is something that still escapes many when judging an abused spouse.

 

Character wise, I had some issues with Helen's over-piety, but I get where that fits too: here is this paragon of virtue; she leaves her husband. In a time where that was terrible disgrace, maybe excused but not pardoned for the height of brutality, it threw in the face of everyone reading that a woman so estranged may very well be in the right. Besides, I imagine she might have the need to rely even more on religion and found solace there under her circumstances. I thought her judgmental and dismissive of others counsel too, but that works too, because not only brings her to her marriage, but carries her through it, with both proclivities magnified I imagine.

 

Gilbert sounded so painfully young to me the whole book. I don't quite feel the romance there, except to imagine that to her he is ultimately so harmless. Which... OK, I totally get.

 

Beyond the overarching theme, there a lot of things addressed to provoke thought, if all the bits I quoted as I progressed didn't make it obvious, so it's really a book to own, and savour, and take a pencil to (I'm such a savage).

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review 2018-07-22 07:53
Poison City (London Tau) - Paul Crilley

I'm still very new to urban fantasy, so maybe I couldn't appreciate this book as much as I felt I should. I always read the blurb and think, wow, that sounds great but somehow the stories always leave me wanting. I think it is because they straddle genres - humor and horror - but they don't seem to be able to maintain both at the same time, so just when you are getting in to the jokes it becomes serious and gory. Not that I mind serious and gory but then I expect the scares which are hard to come by in a humorous book.

 

Aaaanyway, I did enjoy this even if I didn't think it was as great as I had hoped (let's face it, few books are). The setting was unusual, South African Durban, but Gideon Tau (known as London) felt like a rather generic hero. On the other hand, I had a picture in my head of the comedian Sarah Millican as his boss, Armitage which was quite amusing and I really think the sherry-swilling, ball-licking, talking, magic dog should get a story all of his own (although I'm not sure you would be able to tear him away from his soaps long enough to have an adventure).

 

As I bought books 1 and 2 at the same time for very little money I will read the sequel but I have to say if I had to pay full price for it I probably wouldn't.

 

A note on the Kindle edition - it has no page numbers, which I find really annoying!

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