Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vacation reads

Here are some short notes about what I've been reading, lately.

I started my journey by finishing The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fforde. These books are clever and funny. This one is the third in the series which started with The Eyre Affair, featuring Thursday Next, now apprenticed to Miss Havisham.* She's working for Jurisfiction, those fine officers who keep order in the book world. Since it had been awhile since I'd read the previous books, I was relieved that he provided a short recap, at the very beginning.

This is a short note about this book. There's more at The Cavalier Daily.

*That old lady who never took off the wedding dress and took it out on poor Pip in Great Expectations.

Just a bit of fun, here...

(click to enlarge)

The Conjurer's Bird, by Martin Davies, was a change of pace, part historical novel and part mystery. The historical part takes place in the late 1700s, when British naturalist Joseph Banks became famous for his discoveries on a voyage with Captain Cook, while the modern day mystery is concerned with tracking down the elusive Ulieta Bird, of which there was only one specimen, ever--a bird that would have gone extinct without anyone ever knowing about it, had it not been for one precious example, collected during one of Captain Cook's voyages. In their quest to track down this bird, Professor John Fitzgerald and Katya, a student, find themselves tracing a mysterious woman, whose extraordinary life passed almost as elusively as the bird's. The historical story is much more intriguing than the modern day one because the author has researched the life of Joseph Banks and has conjured up an appealing story that fits within his early life. The modern day mystery, however, is not as interesting. This novel is not written in a painterly style, and I found myself questioning Katya's motive for getting involved in this search. It is a page-turner, though, because the reader needs to find out what the fate of this bird will be. This was a great idea for a novel, and I liked a lot of it, but I wish it had been written with more style.

Then there was Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen, which had a lot of funny moments. Hiaasen's books take place in Florida and always explore some kind of ecological disaster. This tale starts fast, as a woman named Joey is pushed off a cruise ship by her paranoid as$hole husband, Chaz, on their second anniversary. Chaz has been working as a "biostitute", fudging water sample results so that his boss can continue to make the everglades into a cesspool. Chaz becomes convinced that his wife has found out what he's doing, so he decides to kill her. Chaz can't do anything right, however, and his luck gets comically worse as you turn the pages. The funniest character in the book, though, is Earl "Tool" O'Toole, who has been hired by Chaz's boss to watch over him. Skinny Dip is not as funny as Sick Puppy, but it's a fun read.

I started Night Watch by Terry Pratchett, on the plane. So far, so great:)


david santos said...

Thanks for posting, Paradise Alley!
You work is very dood.
Have a good week

TLP said...

Oh, okay. Book me at Tara.

Doug said...

I think I remember wanting to read The Conjurer's Bird. A man without ambition is a happy man, as long as his friends read for him.