Friday 30 September 2011

Friday afternoon book thoughts...

I've been in a bit of a book rut lately.  Not just books, but audiobooks, too.  I've started at least three audiobooks, dedicated several "days" worth of listening time (that means the time it takes to walk home from work), and have stopped listening to and even deleting the audiobook from my player.  Now that's decisive - sometimes I will stop listening but keep it downloaded in case I change my mind, but not this time, I was that sure of my decision.  So thankfully I came across a Minette Walters mystery that I hadn't read or listened to yet, The Devil's Feather.  It's a recent novel (I think 2005), and a bit more graphic than I'd like, but it's long and her writing style is interesting, so I'll definitely stick with it.  It reminds me of Chameleon's Shadow (2007) in style, storyline, and even characters.  I listened to that one as well, and perhaps they were read by the same person, which may help me to detect similarities.  Anyways, complex plots and characters always make Walters' psychological mysteries engaging to the last page.

I tried reading several novels, the teen novel I mentioned in an earlier post, then read and finished Close Your Eyes by Ward (so unremarkable I can't really even remember what it was about, but engaging enough that I stuck with it), and one or two others, including Italian Fever by Valerie Martin.  You may remember that I really like Martin's novels, but this one was too, hmmm, "gothic" is the word I'm going to use, although I don't think that's quite right.  Not only did I stop reading that one, I made the decision to take out my bookmark and check the book in (but I wrote down the page I was on, just in case... *wink*).  Now I'm reading The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison.  I've never heard of this author or read anything else by him, nor have I read any reviews of the book.  What caught my eye and made me want to take this book out and give it a try is (and here I should be ashamed, but I'm not!) the cover.  We've all been told, all our lives, not to judge a book by its cover, and sometimes that is more than a metaphor for people and other things in life; sometimes it actually refers to books.  But how can you not form an opinion based on the cover of a book?  After all, it's often the way you first encounter it, by seeing it on a bookstore or library shelf, or you may see someone else reading it and it may look interesting or appealing to you.  And I believe there's nothing wrong with this, because you aren't really "judging it" by the cover; the cover is merely a way to attract readers to go further and take the time to discover what is inside the book.  I have no doubt that publishers put alot of money and thought into the cover design for books so that it best represents what the story inside is about (hopefully the cover design has relevance to the story, and is not just some marketing ploy to get readers to buy the book!).  What other ways do we encounter books or make our reading selections?  We may read a review in the newspaper or magazine.  We may attend an author visit and hear a reading.  We may hear about a book from others we know or hear about a book on TV (think "Oprah's Picks").  Books are available in places other than bookstores and libraries, too, such as Zellers and WalMart, and even the grocery store.  So we are exposed to books of all sorts in many different places and many different ways.

Anyways, the cover of The Last Weekend appealed to me, so I read the inside flap and thought it sounded interesting, as it deals with some of my favourite themes, jealousy, envy, and deception.  And it's about two couples who have known each other for years, the two men since university, and the deceptions that have been part of their relationships, both their marriages and their friendship, for years.  The terms "rivalrous friendship", "haunting", "brilliantly chilling", and "troubling revelations" are all used to describe this story.  I really enjoy novels in which all is not necessarily what it seems and things aren't easily and neatly explained away.  So while it was the cover that initially attracted me, it was the description of the story on the inside flap that sold me on the book.  I'm not far enough into it to comment on the story yet, but so far it's engaging.  I'll give a better account of it next time.

That's all for today.

Bye for now!

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