Monday, May 22, 2006

At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

And the trilogy comes to a close. I don't have too much that I really want to record, except that Alexander McCall Smith's set is preposterously delightful. There are no consequences to reading these books, except a brief experience of intellectual vocabulary, and a temporary escape from anything stressful.

That, and I most enjoyed Professor Igelfeld's ironic disgust at British humour (all of the stories, being overtly humourous in that stiff-lipped, heady, British sort of way...)

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

It just gets better. Book 2 in the series is a continuation of the hilarious antics and characters of book 1 (go figure) and Germany's finest feature--sausage dogs--plays an important part.

I haven't laughed aloud at a book in a long time...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Portuguese Irregular Verbs

I did some shopping in downtown Guelph today and lost all willpower in a used bookstore. The first of my purchases--Portuguese Irregular Verbs by Alexander McCall Smith of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency fame has made its way from the "want to read" list to the "have read and would recommend" list.

I read this book aloud, perched in the oversized armchair in my mom's living room, to the respectfully quiet audience of the two family cats--Simon and Harley--while home visiting this Mother's Day weekend. The cats didn't laugh along with me, but I'm sure they found it entertaining all the same. Alexander McCall Smith has such a delightful innocence to his writing, employing delicious words and eccentric characters in preposterous plots. I love it.

(I also love the fact that I picked up all 3 books in this set this morning--and that they all match and will look fantastic when I line them up on my bookshelves in Ottawa tomorrow. Vanity revealed.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time

So, I was curious enough about mark haddon's novel to swallow my pride and read it even though everyone (and I really do mean everyone) who saw the book in my hand with my eyes flitting across the page had the nerve to tell me that they could not believe that they had read a book that I hadn't. (I think this book--or rather the mass of people who have read it--is responsible for me grinding about 3 mm off my molars...)

End verdict: neat concept, but I was bored before the end of the story. There were some good quotes at the beginning, but my interest sorta faded as the story progressed. Here's my favourite few lines:

Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.

There. That's about as mathematical as I get.

I think I need to mix things up with some non-fiction....

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ten Good Stories, Those Ones

I think that Thomas King is a genius. I've finally read all the stories in his short story collection that was given to me as a birthday gift a couple of years back. The book was actually a replacement gift, since two friends ended up getting me the same book--the children's version of A Coyote Columbus Story, which I suppose offers some evidence of my esteem for King's stories.

Two stories to highlight are: "The One About Coyote Going West" (I read it aloud to my roommate, who loved it, although she was a bit disturbed by the singing butt hole) and "Joe the Painter and the Deer Island Massacre" (I love the way it portrays the gruff elderly man and calls the reader to examine his/her own unexpected biases).