Wednesday 15 February 2012

Wednesday morning tea and post...

I seem to be back on schedule this week with my posting time, although I had to resist the strong urge to write on Sunday.  I have much to tell you today, so no time to comment on the weather or my tea.

Since my last post, I've read 2 books and am a third of the way through another novel.  The first book I read after Pride and Prejudice was Paganini's Ghost by Paul Adam, a cozy mystery set in modern-day Italy, but filled with details about historical figures, including musicians and their musical instruments.  It tells the story of a violin-maker who becomes involved in the murder investigation of a Parisian art dealer the morning after a concert at which a young, up-and-coming violinist performs using Paganini's famous violin.  It was a wonderful, light read, beautifully written, with interesting characters, some  compassionate, some mysterious, but all relevant to the plot.  The settings, too, were intriguing, as the story moves from the small town of Cremora to Milan, Paris and London.  I'll admit that I know almost nothing about classical music and musicians (except that I enjoy listening to classical music while reading), but I found this book very interesting and informative.  The author provided details about musicians and historical figures I've heard of but never knew much about, and he provided this information in an accessible way that was never condescending.  It was like a gentle walk through a portion of Paganini's life, with a tour guide pointing out the sites of major events.  While I often prefer a book with deeper meaning and more substance, every once in a while I like to treat myself to a light, easy read, especially one which offers a good mystery and an opportunity to learn a bit about classical music and musicians.  If you're NOT interested in classical music, this may not be a good choice for you.

The next book I read was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson.  I started it on Saturday morning and looked for opportunities throughout the weekend to read, so that I ended up finishing it on Sunday night.  It was the type of book that I literally could not put down, it was that compelling.  It tells the story of Christine, a woman who suffers from a type of amnesia where she has lost most of her memories from before her accident and has no new memories from after the accident.  She is able to form new memories, but can only retain them for the period of time that she is awake.  Every day she wakes up in an unfamiliar bed with a man who must tell her who she is, where she is, and why she is in this house, and this bed, with him.  On the back of the book, one reviewer compared it to the film "Memento", in which a man is unable to form any new memories, and he begins to suspect that people are taking advantage of his condition for their own ends.  In the novel, Christine also suspects those around her of lying to her or omitting certain events in her life.  A common theme in fiction is memory, and the unreliability of one's memories.  This novel takes that theme to a whole new level; not only is the main character remembering her past in a subjective, possibly unreliable way, she is being told her memories by someone she may or may not be able to trust.  What a fabulous first novel from this British writer.

And finally I'd like to talk about the novel I'm currently reading, Life Sentences by Laura Lippman.  I mentioned in a previous post that I really enjoyed another of her novels, What the Dead Know, about a woman who suffers amnesia and claims to be one of a pair of twins that have been missing for many years.  This novel is about a woman who has had some success writing her memoirs but not so much as a novelist.  She decides to investigate an unsolved murder involving a childhood friend for her next book, in the hopes that it may redeem her status as a successful writer.  I'm not enjoying it quite as much as the other novel, but I feel I have to finish it, since I began reading it yesterday, Feb 14, and the opening line of the book is "'Well,' the bookstore manager said, 'it is Valentine's Day'".  Coincidence or fate?  I like to believe I came upon this book at this time for a reason.

And that's it for today...

Bye for now!

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