Thursday, November 30, 2006

Angels in Disguise

I am fascinated by the concept of angels, so the title of the book grabbed my attention straight away. I’m not sure what I expected from a murder mystery novel called “Angels in Disguise” (by Betty Sullivan La Pierre), but what I got was a book rich in emotions as well as a good plot.

When I was younger, I defined a good murder mystery by how complex the plot was and how difficult it was for me to solve it. But, with time, I started to prefer books with likeable characters, interesting emotional developments and... well... depth. “Angels in Disguise” has them all.

For those of you intending to read it, a caveat. Perhaps I’m slow, but it took me a while to realise that the book is one of a series (8th in the Hawkman series). It may make sense to start at number 1, though the book can of course be enjoyed as a stand-alone.

A quick plot summary: Hawkman is hired to find a missing wife. The couple are separated, though the husband still picks up the bills, possibly because he wants to provide a comfortable home for his daughter. As the trail heats up, Hawkman is threatened to drop the case or the child will be hurt. Meanwhile, his own life is not in the greatest shape with the news of his much loved wife’s illness....

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Day Break

You won’t believe this, but this is yet another book-unrelated blog. I’m expecting Santa to deliver some reading matter, though, so... no, wait, those books will all be Polish. Well then, I’ll visit the local library as soon as my book launch is over and I have time again....

Meanwhile, I switch on the mind-sucker at night when I’m too tired to work and too tired to sleep, and I’ve discovered a promising new series. It’s not Prison Break or Lost by any means, but I’ve watched 2 episodes and am willing to give the third one a go, so it can’t be that bad.

The series is called Day Break, and if I were to pitch it as an idea to my publisher, I’d say “Groundhog Day meets 24”. In a nutshell: the hero is accused of murder and he must keep on re-living the same day until he gets it right (presumably, until he figures out how to clear his name, save his girlfriend, sister and partner, and possibly lock away the baddies too, since he’s a cop). You get 2 days per episode, and the days are rather different despite the fact that it’s all the same day, so the pace is good (not as stressful as Prison Break, not as slooooooooooooooow as Lost).

The best thing about Day Break is that I’m pretty sure it’ll finish within its allocated time span and there will be no Season 2. And it’ll definitely finish in time for Lost to come back in February. Lost has a few problems, but I care deeply about its characters, and everything else is just a distraction while I’m waiting for Sawyer and co. to return. (A special note to JJ Abrams: you kill Sawyer, I stop watching.)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The White Masai

I must be really missing Africa, because I really wanted to see “The White Masai”, despite all the mediocre reviews. The movie is everything I usually hate about older-fashioned movies (like Jack Nicholson’s “The Passenger”, for example): slow, with little dialogue and lots of scenery and a simple predictable plot. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Perhaps it was the foreign-movieness that added to the film’s magic (it’s always cool to watch something in another language, plus non-American films tend to be less formulaic). Or was it the romantic notion of love at first sight that made it such a compelling tale?
Either way, I was delighted to discover that the movie’s based on a book, and I can’t wait to read it.
Speaking of reading, I haven’t had very much time for books lately (the little reading I do all has to do with raising children, and the only books I tend to look at nowadays are my own, in preparation for the launch), so it’s no surprise really that two of my blogs in a row talk about movies instead.
“The White Masai” has whet my appetite for things African, so as soon as we can get a babysitter, we’ll be seeing “Wah-wah”. I don’t like Richard E Grant, so watch this space.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

I’m not quite sure just what Prada actually is, I definitely can’t tell it from Manolo Blahniks, and I only know about Manolo Blahniks because I used to be a Sex in the City fan. I confess I find most designer clothes ridiculously ugly (a good example in the movie was a green dress with faux black and white fur trimmings), hideously expensive and not meant for my body shape anyway.

So how could I have possibly enjoyed a movie about the fashion industry, a formulaic Hollywood don’t-think-and-feel-good movie? Well, probably precisely because it was a don’t-think-and-feel-good movie. Picture this: a tired brain that wants to be entertained (but not stretched), a glass of wine, a Saturday night (one of those rare nights on which I chose to relax instead of catching up on work).

As I watched the heroine take on an impossible work load, send emails at 2am and kiss her dream of being a writer goodbye, I thought: yep, I can relate (except that my boss is heaps nicer).

So, in a sense, the movie was an eye opener for me. I will try to work less and to write more. And when I am an Orange Prize winner, I can say: “And this is all thanks to the movie The Devil Wears Prada”. Not that I will say that, of course. I’ve got my speech and (outfit) all planned, and neither contains anything Prada.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beyond Black

Beyond Black” by Hilary Mantel is not an easy book to read. Not because the writing is inaccessible, but because it’s well, dark. The protagonist is a very large medium, whose life is constantly marred by ugly, uncouth and unkind spirits as much as it is marred by her weight problem and her abused childhood.

Apart form the originality of the ideas, there is really very little to like about the book. Most of the characters are as mean as the spirits, and their pointless ugly lives seems to seep through their fingers like grey plasma.

I would recommend this book to anyone who feels that life is too beautiful. As for myself, I’ll try to forget I’ve ever read it.