29 March 2004

Reads & Listens, March 2004

Reads:

Pemberley or Pride and Prejudice Continued by Emma Tennant
While this book bills itself as a continuation of Pride and Prejudice it would be cruel to judge it against that brilliant novel. Few of the characters resemble their P&P counterparts in anything more than superficial ways and anyone expecting "real literature" will be disappointed. However if you pretend it's just a coincidence the characters have the same names as Austen characters, Pemberley is okay as a light romance read.

In Full Bloom by Caroline Hwang
Ginger is a twenty something Korean-American whose life isn't going anywhere much and whose mother is anxious to get her married off. Multicultural chick lit. Good, but not fantastic.

Dewey Decimal System of Love by Josephine Carr
Bad. Even for a mindlessly fluffy little romance.

The Librarian's Passionate Knight by Cindy Gerard
Surprisingly sweet and the library shtick didn't annoy me as much as it could have. This book is part of a series and characters/stories from the other books do intrude on this one -- unfortunately "too much tell me" and not enough "show me." If I had read the other books I'd know who the characters were and wouldn't need so much background information. If I had not read the other books, the amount of background information might turn me off.

Listens:

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (read by Barbara Rosenblat)
Found listening to the book to be immensely more enjoyable than reading it. When reading the novel, Bridget's self loathing I-need-a-man whinging set my teeth on edge and I found so much of the book to be hard to swallow (?), but then I'm a smug married and (fingers crossed) will never be an undesirable thirties retread. Or whatever. Rosenblat does a great job with the voices and the characters really come to life. Wouldn't mind owning a copy of the audiobook, really.


Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (read by Barbara Rosenblat)
Oh my god, I have to own this. Even better than Bridget Jones's Diary! Funnier, sharper, better developed. Sometimes, it was completely impossible to get out of the car until I came to a break, because I had to know what was going to happen. Found myself at odd moments wondering what would happen next and very excited to get back in the car to find out. Quite sad now that it's all finished. Will have to listen to it, again.

Only real problem I had with this novel, is the disappearance of Bridget's brother. While, in the first book, he was seldom mentioned and even more seldom seen, he doesn't appear at all this time round. Not that he was a necessary character -- he could have be edited out of the first book just fine, but he wasn't so he should be mentioned in the sequel, shouldn't he?

Prodigal Summer written and read by Barbara Kingsolver
I loved this book and I'm pretty damned happy with the audiobook. Initially, I was worried that Kingsolver's voice was too quiet and flat, but she did a bang up job. I laughed, I cried, I wanted a sequel. 

Pretty Good Jokes [abridged] by Garrison Keillor
Funny. Every thing from "roll your eyes" stupid to "stop laughing before you hit a tree."

Birth of Venus [abridged] by Sarah Dunant (read by Jenny Sterlin)
Tried to read the novel, but kept getting distracted by life. Abridgment is very suspicious as first two CDs covered everything I read (I didn't read that much) which suggests the rest of the novel had to be squeezed onto the remaining three disks. Know, from the bit I had read, that some significant bits where dropped. Also, Sterlin's voice made me crazy. Would have prefered someone who sounded like the character -- strong, feisty, Italian. Less nasal. And (am I not full of complaints?) there was no real break at the end of each CD. The reading just stopped and cycled back to the beginning. A "This is the end of disc three" or "The Birth of Venus disc one" would have been nice.