Sunday, 25 April 2010
Sunday Salon: Mini Reviews
Time for another Sunday Salon. This week has simply flown by!
After last week's Sunday Salon post I have joined Bookmooch. I have joined quite a few book swapping sites in my Internet life by this seems to be the best one by far. Most sites I've used mean you have to choose a book from the requester's collection. Instead Bookmooch lets you gather points that you can request from other Moochers. Fab idea. Also, Royal Mail allows you to pay and print surface mail at home which makes sending books internationally a lot easier. As I type two books are parcelled up and waiting to be posted (when the rain stops....) and I have a third I need to do later.
This week I have read three books but none "wowed" me enough to assign each one an individual review. So here we go:
I have been a fan of Alexander McCall Smith for such a long time. His books are great for dipping in and out of. That might be why he was commissioned by newspapers to write a mini story column. The fantastic Scotland Street series was born from such a serial in The Scotsman. Corduroy Mansions came from The Daily Telegraph and has some similarities to Scotland Street. The main characters either live or are connected to someone who lives in this building in London.
My favourite character was Oedipus Snark, a nasty Liberal Democrat. For non-UK readers, the Lib Dems (as they are called) are the "third" party in UK politics and are regarded as being a bit nicey nice. Snark is a loathesome toad who declines events six months in advance "because he is attending a funeral." The UK has a General Election on 6th May and it's looking exciting because the Lib Dems have an excellent chance to gain quite a number of seats. Corduroy Mansions was published in 2009, a good bit before the announcement of the election.
This was a good bedtime read because I could dip and out of it. There are 100 chapters in total; each one no more than 4 pages. There are plenty of characters to keep you amused. William whose feckless son Eddie refuses to take the hint and move out. Caroline, art student who has a dilemma about men (which art student doesn't?) and one time graced the cover of Rural Living. Bertha Snark, Oedipus's mother, who loathes him too and is writing a 'warts an' all' biography about him. Plenty of characters to keep the reader amused and memorable enough to have numerous storylines running through the book.
My other reads this week have been:
Both books dealing with various teen issues. The Divorce Express deals with the aftermath of a divorce. Phoebe spends the week with her father in Woodstock and travels to New York to spend weekends with her mother. She also manages to find the time to acquire a new best friend, lead a protest about school meals and a new potential boyfriend. Can You Sue Your Parents? has similar themes. Lauren's parents are not happy (although they didn't divorce in this book I would not be surprised to see a sequel about that!) but Lauren has other problems. She likes a new boy at school but he's the year below her. It's funny but I remember that being such a big issue when I was at school. Yet it was OK for a boy to date a girl younger than him. *sighs*
Again both books are a little dated. Can You Sue... was published in 1979 and one storyline revolves around Lauren's father refusing to let her mother go out and work. Another storyline is about her sister moving in with her boyfriend before getting married. Society has relaxed a little since then but other issues, such as 'how far to go with a boy?', are still there.
It has been fun reading these books with an adult eye. I'm 25 and probably read these books when I was 13/14. Scary, back then 25 seemed like a million miles away. But I can still remember what I was worried about. My hair, what my friends thought, how my marks were doing and so on. Somehow I don't think much has changed.