Monday, February 23, 2015

recent highs and lows of reading

I've had to accept I'm not going to finish the Semi-Charmed Book Challenge, but I'm still trying to amass as many points as I can, which is why I've decided I can count Campari For Breakfast as a bookish book rather than my freebie, in order to gain more points.  That said, I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to take any points for reading something that was so much fun!  I loved this book, an easy read that made me chuckle, but sweet and sad and certainly not shallow, all at the same time.  My pleasure in reading this book is yet more evidence that I like books about precocious girls in crumbling mansions these days...if you can call Sue Bowl precocious?!  I Capture The Castle is hovering very near the top of my to-read pile now :)
This book, however?  Urgh!  It was terrible!  I can't believe I've had it on my shelf for so long and every time I saw it, I thought, "That's guaranteed to be a great read, I'm glad I've got that to look forward to."  Well, it wasn't.  It's so badly written, like the worst kind of trash journalism.  And this comes from someone who can be quite partial to a bit of Take A Break or Pick Me Up now and again, but there's a reason why those magazines are not 500+ pages long!  For a while, I was trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt and blame the poor translator, but the story itself turned out to be really weak too and the structure was horrendous and the characters... Bleurgh!  The female characters, in particular, made me cringe, as did the sex scenes, which all seemed to end in the man's hands cupping the woman's breasts (which were usually positioned in a shaft of moonlight so as to be shining in the darkness) while resting his post-orgasmic head on her belly.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  I kept getting this horrible glimpse into the author's mind and I did not like it, although it wasn't just because it was really badly written sex, I felt equally uncomfortable with how obvious his likes and dislikes for his characters were, all conveniently divided into heroes and villains.  I know he probably tried to make his heroes more than two-dimensional, but he failed.  I had no admiration for Carax or for Daniel or even the ridiculous "comedy" character of Fermin (with his colourful past, colourful language and heart of gold - you know the type) so really couldn't care less what happened to them, a feeling intensified by the plot's incredible predictability.  Who could the man with the burnt face be?  Yawn!  I can't remember the last time I disliked a book so much, although The Conjuror's Bird springs to mind, which was another Richard and Judy recommendation!  Ha!  (But then they also recommended the brilliant Testament Of Gideon Mack, so go figure.)  I like to keep all the books I read, but this book was dropped off at the charity shop within hours of finishing it.  I really couldn't wait to get it out of my house.  I did not like this book.

I'm now reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and I'm really enjoying it so far, but I can't see me getting to the end of it before the month is out, so I reckon my points will stall at 160/200.  But you never know... Watch this space!

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