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Showing posts from April, 2014

Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Translated from the French by Alison Anderson. Original title: L'Élégance du hérisson.

I needed to figure out what my feelings were about this book, so I decided to write a review, the first I have written in ages. Don't expect it to be completely conclusive or deep, because even after writing it, my feelings are still somewhat mixed. I really should have done a reading journal of it.


This story of a crusty, cranky Parisian concierge harbouring a secret, and a depressed young girl with a diabolical plan, is told in first-person journal entry chapters that alternate between the two. 

Renée is the concierge, who has been trying all her life to hide her intelligence and enjoyment of culture by outwardly conforming to the stereotype of a person of her class and occupation by presenting herself to the world as uncouth, stupid, and uncultured, and Paloma is the troubled and intelligent 12-year old daughter of one of the upper-crust families that employ Renée. The arrival of a new inh…

Reading report for March 2014

I read 12 books in March, a mixture of non-fiction and fiction, the former history books of different kinds and the latter mostly romances.

There was only one real stand-out in March, but it was the best book I have read so far this year: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is a brilliant piece of non-fiction, covering the history of the famous 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London and the consequences that it eventually had for epidemiology, city sanitation and map-making, among other effects.
The "best of the rest" was definitely Vintage, a chilly coming-of-age story about a young man who encounters a ghost that cannot rest because it had unfinished business when it died.

7 of the 9 novels were romances and the two that weren’t, Vintage and The Wicca Man, have strong romantic elements. The latter also seems to be the beginning of an intriguing urban fantasy series, although I couldn’t find any sequels listed on the author’s website. 3 of the novels were of the s…

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That I'd Like To Own