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Showing posts from July, 2012

London: The Biography, by Peter Ackroyd

It took me a more than a year to finish this epic non-fiction book of history/biography. Not that I couldn't have finished it earlier – under normal conditions it would have taken me about a week to read a novel of this length – but this humongous piece of non-fiction just isn't the kind of book I want to devour in a few reading sessions. For starters, it's heavy, both literally and figuratively speaking. The paperback edition I started reading weighs one kilo (that's about 2.2 lbs.) – the kind of book you really need to keep on a lectern or a book stand to read. Therefore it was a physical relief to be able to set it aside for a Kindle edition for the last 200 or so pages.

As for the figurative heaviness, it could easily have been cut down by 200+ pages without losing anything important. Ackroyd's style here is verbose, bloated and often aimless (but admittedly never dry), the equivalent of the talker who speaks only for the pleasure of hearing his own voice. Thi…

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 epistolatory books I enjoyed and hope you do too

I haven’t participated in Top Ten Tuesdays for ages, but as it’s freebie week, I decided to enter one of my book lists. Do visit the hosting blog, The Broke and the Bookish, and click through to some of the other participating blogs.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Non-fiction. Lovely, lovely collection of letters between Hanff and the staff of a bookstore in England, written over a period of 20 years. Recommend the movie as well. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Written as a series of accounts of the theft of a precious stone, using different styles and voices. It’s long, but worth reading. Letters to Alice, Upon First Reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon. What the title says, plus much more besides. Discusses not only Austen, but the art of writing as well. Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos. A novel told entirely in letters between the characters, a couple of scheming French aristocrats playing a dangerous game of seduction. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. A corres…

Reading report for June 2012

If you have been wondering why there have been so few posts this month, it‘s because I have been reading: voraciously, almost manically. I finished 17 books in June, reading most of them from cover to cover within the month. Three of them were rereads, the In the Garden trilogy by the fabulous Nora Roberts, who is also my most read author of the month. 13 of the books were romances, with a 14th being romantic but lacking the clear-cut happy ending of the others. Of the rest, two were mysteries, one of them a short story collection and the other the first book in the series. Lastly I read one book on language history.

The best read of the month was Morgan Matson‘s Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, a romantic coming-of-age epistolary road novel for young adults. It reaches into picaresque territory, with the eponymous characters going on a road trip across the USA and taking a route not sanctioned by the adults who planned it for them, doing things they aren‘t supposed to do and making …