Saturday, March 14, 2009

Book Review in Progress

So, this past week has been my week "off", Spring Break, which means no homework right? Oh how wrong, and as a co-worker says, "Welcome to Grad School". Still, I found time to get a little bit of pleasure reading done during my flights to and back from El Paso where my boyfriend/fiance is stationed. I got 4 delicious novels from the library the day before my trip because I always seem to spend at least $ 20 everytime I fly buying a new book. The 4 books I got were (in no particular order):

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory
by Betrice Small
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth

I haven't gotten around to Oscar Wilde yet, but I saw that it is one of a series and since the protagonist is Oscar Wilde himself, thrown into a Sherlock Holmes-type role...well, colour me intrigued.

Vixens is traditional historical romance, from one my first favorite romance authors Betrice Small, but I have to say... the memory is serving better than the actual reading. I guess I've just outgrown this type of trashy romance, either that or it's just not well written. I have a feeling it's a combination of both. After all, the highly descriptive sex scenes peppered with the usual "Then he dropped a kiss upon the curve of her delicate neck. 'Your scent is intoxicating. What is it?'" and "virgin shields" being thrust through with "love organs".

Following the path of the historical novel is The Other Queen which I was really looking forward to reading. I really enjoyed The Other Bolyen Girl and The Virgin's Lover, but this book was written as from the secret diaries of the three MCs (Bess, George and Mary). Now, I've read epistlatory novels before and enjoyed them, so it isn't the style that I find problemsome. It's the fact that Gregory keeps repeating herself! The characters are developed so one dimensionally it's infuriating! Bess constantly talks about her fortunes and how her husband taught her to keep account books and that she's afraid the rebellion will take her lands and treasures and return them to the church. George is always talking about his honor and how he's torn between his duty to Elizabeth and his love for Mary. Mary is always talking her revenge. It's always the same. I mean it's like Gregory just cut and paste sentences from earlier chapters to pad the length of the novel. Boo. I cry foul. It's a struggle to get through it because I am so angry at what I consider to be a cop out. FOUL!

Finally, Snuff. This is my first Palahniuk read. My roommate in LA was a big fan and I guess I always thought that Palahniuk was a "man's" writer. But I really enjoyed this. It was fun, interesting, told from 4 different perspectives, but unlike Gregory, Palahniuk found a connection and flow between the chapters. I just devoured this during the first legs of my flight. Some may not like the subject matter, an aging porn star that is trying to set the world record for multiple partners (600 men), but it went deeper than that (no pun intended). Dealing with the reasons behind 3 of the men waiting their turn and the porn star's assistant and her role in the creation of the evening and the events that unfold, it's graphic in an almost clinical description of the sex. No romance, no "love organs" or "virgin shields", which is only right since the porn industry is a business, the people that make money off it aren't doing it purely for pleasure.

So there you have it, and another hour is wasted from my studying. Or is it? Were theses effective booktalks? :)

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