Monday, 1 August 2011

What I've been reading

I Love The 80s – Megan Crane
I picked this up because I wanted something lightweight. Plus I thought it would be fun to cringe at all the references to 80s style. What I had failed to take into account is that this is a book where the plot hinges on time travel. Therefore it’s science fiction. So just a few pages in I found that I was enjoying this far more than I expected and for different reasons. Ok the plot line isn’t great but there is an element of whodunit that had me trying to work out who, when, where and why. Surprisingly gripping while being a cross between Back-to-the-future and Sweet Valley High.

Worth Dying For – Lee Child
I like Lee child books. I find Jack Reacher fascinating. However I find there are two sorts of stories in the series. The first type is those with a strong human element. Reacher will often be solving some kind of puzzle in these and we’ll learn more about him and his life. They tend to finish up with 20 pages of serious violence but the journey there makes up for it. Then there’s the second type which seem to be essentially action thrillers recounting in detail weapons, battle and attack plans. I find that I scan read passages describing this kind thing in same way that I do Hardy’s descriptions of the countryside. Still it filled an hour or two and there was a tiny glimpse of that human part of Reacher at the end that was worth waiting for.

Wrong About Japan – Peter Carey
I’m interested in Japan and read a review of this slim volume some years back. However whatever the review said it clearly didn’t inspire me enough to want to go and find a copy. I grabbed this off a shelf in the library as I was passing (the bright cover helped it to stand out). It’s an interesting piece. Peter thinks he can encourage his shy son by encouraging his love of Japanese comics. The ultimate encouragement being a trip to Japan. It seems thought that Peter has his own reasons fro returning to Japan in that eh wants to find the ‘real Japan’. Of course, the book isn’t anywhere near big enough to even scratch the surface of Japanese culture and that I think is the point the Carey is trying to make. It doesn’t just apply to Japan either. We can’t expect to understand a culture that we are not part of. What we do instead is take aspects and use for our own purposes and to reflect our own culture.
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