Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Doctor Who: The Drosten's Curse by A.L. Kennedy

Review: Doctor Who: The Drostens’ Curse
A.L. Kennedy
Broadway Books

Dr. Who.  I hadn’t had any contact with Dr. Who in ages.  That needs to change judging from how much I enjoyed this book, and I intend to looks around for a few more of them.  Kennedy is not the only author to write a Dr. Who adventure, but she is the only one I’ve read thus far, and the others may have some competition here. original version of this book appeared as a short story and now as a full length novel.  I don’t know if this would fit well in fewer pages.  The antagonist is worthy and Dr. Who must use all the resources he can muster just to survive in this one.  I’m happy with its current version which leaves plenty of room for more at the end.  Time will tell if more are forthcoming.  

OK, maybe (probably) showing my ignorance here, but some of the rants that Dr. Who uttered in several places felt like commentary on the political scene.  Yes, these books can address that sort of thing and do, but straight on doesn’t work for me.  I like the roundabout-ness that fiction has available to it better.  So I skimmed a few portions.  The character, Byrony, works and needs to reappear in some fashion with some adventures of her own.  Putta? A romantic partner?  Not so sure about him.

Even with a few distractions this is still a good read and worth the time.  I’m satisfied with it anyway and would recommend it as just a fun read.  Besides anybody that can make golf more interesting with a sand trap that does live up to its name has done a good thing in my opinion.  

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a review.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics by Charles Krauthammer

Review: Things that Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
Charles Krauthammer
Crown Forum

I just checked and this book has over 5000 reviews posted on an online retailer’s site.  He’s doing something right.  Combine that with some very healthy sales figures and now he’s doing it right and saying things that do matter.  

The edition that I read has added some content that focuses on President Obama.  What I would like to see from that is the author revisiting these in say ten years or so as to determine if he still holds the same opinions.  My guess is he would, but just for conversation maybe not.  He would have to speak for himself and generally does.  His introduction shows that his current political position was not the only one he has held.  I discovered that though he generally espouses a conservative view, he does hold some that are much more liberal.    

Krauthammer’s writing is so readable and his presentation generally so well constructed that anyone from any political stance will probably enjoy this book and the conversations that will ensue.  Happily, this book in not entirely politics in the popular sense. I have to add that I was pleasantly surprised by that since I had not read any of his work before.  I fully expected much less than he delivered.  

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, translated by Simon Pare

Review: The Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George, translated by Simon Pare
Crown Publishers

The Little Paris BookshopThe end of this book was such a sad moment for me.  There’s a relationship that develops between the book and the reader that you just want to go on even though the story has been told and you know it done.  It’s all about love, loss, and healing.  It’s written for those that have learned what those words mean.  Maybe the last few pages revisits those themes within the reader one last time.  Yes, breathing does come easier now.   

The bookshop Perdu operates from a barge sits on the Seine and is as unique as his approach to his customers. He can read the needs of his customers and points them to the books that would most help them and refuses to sell them ones he feels can harm them.  It is a case of “physician heal thyself” though, and through a series of events and some well-crafted characters he meets along the way, who in their own ways mirror Perdu’s need, healing does come.  (You knew it would so that’s not a spoiler.)  There’s lots of room for the reader to reflect too.  And as others have noted there are many quotable lines to savor as well.  It also makes me want to travel to France to follow the route to the Sea which the tourism department probably appreciates.

The translation reads smoothly and I trust that the author was pleased with the work.  Does a 50 year old French man mellowed out on pot say “Crikey” often? (203). This is the only spot that just didn’t work for me. Or maybe I’m not familiar enough with what’s happening on the Continent. 

 Recipes?  Yes, there are recipes for of the foods described in the text. The book is not entirely fiction.  Lavender ice cream sounds very interesting.  Garlic flan?  I need to read more cookbooks.  Of course, it will remind the reader of dinners and conversations in the book and engage them more fully with the experiences of the characters.

So go buy or borrow a copy of this book and enjoy it as much as I have.  

I received this book form the publisher in return for a review.