Friday, February 3, 2012

Promises Delivered

Happy Friday everyone!  Yesterday I promised to catch you up on my reading progress, so here I am to make good on that promise.  I decided to also include a thumbnail of the book's cover to make it a bit more interesting.


The Last Nude
by
Ellis Avery

This gets four stars from me.  It's a novel inspired by events in the life of Tamara de Lempicka's history, set mainly in the 1920s.  Tamara is a painter, and the story is about her relationship with Rafaela Fano, her muse and her lover for several years.  The story was well-told, especially with the main characters being ones I could relate to and understand.  It was quite interesting and moved along quickly.

The book was set in two parts - part one was the main story told from Rafaela's perspective, with part two told from Tamara's perspective many, many years later.  Part one moved along well for me, I was caught up in the story and interested to see what would happen next.  But part two did nothing but confuse me.  There was no date reference given for the second part, so it took me several pages to figure out that this was being told so many years later.  Even once I figured that out, the story bounced back and forth over so many events that I found it mainly confusing.  I think I got the gist of what the author was saying, but in my opinion it would have been a better book if part two was left out altogether.


Pigeon English
by
Stephen Kelman

This gets 4 stars from me.  This is the story of Harrison, an 11-year-old boy who has recently moved with his mother and sister to London from Ghana.  His father, grandmother, and baby sister have stayed behind in Ghana until the family can save enough money for them to be reunited.

Harrison seemed like a pretty typical boy to me.  The title was a great play on words - Harri was learning English and spoke his own dialect, with phrases such as "dope fine" to indicate something really, really good - so it could be similar to "pidgin English."  However, the word play comes in because Harri spots a pigeon that flies to his 9th floor balcony and calls it his pigeon, and the pigeon actually has a part in telling the story, thus, Pigeon English.  Great title, I thought.

I'm not quite sure where I went wrong in reading this book.  As I said, Harri seemed to be a pretty typical boy, with school situations, being accepted by other students, playing detective with his friend in a not-so-serious fashion to try to discover who had murdered a boy in their neighborhood.  I was really enjoying reading the book until the ending, and that completely knocked me off my feet, something I did not see coming at all.  It's not that the ending was bad, necessarily, just that nothing in the rest of the book led me to think it might turn out that way.  I once wrote a short story in a creative writing class that was similar - the story was bright and hopeful, but the ending crashed down suddenly, and my peers didn't like the ending at all.  Now I see why.  Still it was a book worth reading.

A Vintage Affair
by
Isabel Wolfe

This gets 4 stars from me.  It's set in modern day London, where the main character Phoebe has just opened a vintage clothing store with the same name as the book.  In the process of acquiring clothes for her shop, she meets an old woman who sells her a lot of wonderful vintage clothes, but also tells her a story of a child's blue coat that is in her possession, where it came from and the people whose lives were affected by it.  The book weaves the tale of the shop in with the tale of the coat in an enjoyable and emotional fashion, and everything works out great in the end.

  
Miss Peregrine's 
Home For
Peculiar Children
by
Ransom Riggs

This book gets 4 stars from me.  It went on my wish list solely from the title, which I found fascinating.  Peculiar children are described as children who have special abilities that other people don't have - a boy who was invisible unless he was wearing clothes, the girl on the cover whose feet didn't touch the ground, another girl who could throw fire with her hands - and many others.  They were watched "like a hawk" by Miss Peregrine, who was peculiar herself.  These children lived inside a time loop, where the same day repeated over and over and over for many years.  The story centers on this house being discovered by a normal boy, who later finds out he is peculiar as well, and his efforts to decide whether to live with the peculiar children or back in his normal world.

One of the most fascinating things about this book was the photographs it was illustrated with.  There are a number of photographs that showed the peculiar children involved in their personal peculiar activity, all done in a vintage style as was fitting for the date of the time loop.  As I read, I assumed these were photos created especially for the story.  But at the end, I read that all of the photos were real photos that were basically undoctored, and had come from a number of vintage photo collectors.  So apparently the author wrote the book somewhat around the pictures.  That made me love the book all the  more!


So, that's where I am up to today, and it brings me to a grand total of 13 books!  Between the books I'm reading, the books I have checked out from the library, both  paper and electronically, and the books I bought from Better World Books, I have 49 more books in my possession.  So, if I get all these read, I'll have reached my goal of 52!  Keep your fingers crossed!

I don't have any big weekend plans, Santa has to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, so maybe I'll get out and do something on my own.

That's it for today!  Peace and love to everyone!

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Orlando, Florida, United States
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you...I came to live out loud. [Emile Zola.]
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