Friday, November 30, 2007

The Hindi Bindi Club

The Hindi Bindi Club” by Monica Pradhan appealed to me on many levels: because I’m a daughter, because I’m a mother, because I’m an emigrant and because I married into a different culture. I also fancied the Indian atmosphere of the book, in particular the recipes (which taught me to appreciate fresh coriander leaves) and the short lecture on where to place your food on the clock-face of the plate.

Many heavy issues are dealt with on its pages, and yet the book is a fast, relaxing read. Some might call it chick-lit in a curry sauce. I just say read it.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Perhaps it’s because I’m a sucker for cute guys with an attitude and a bad-bad-bad reputation (my husband and Sawyer from LOST being a case - or is it two cases - in point)... oops ... now where was I....

So I must admit I really like Moist von Lipwig (the confidence artist whom we met in Going Postal). I like the way he gets restless when things are too good, too safe and too easy. I even like his cigarette-reeking girlfriend (and coming from somebody who’s medically allergic to nicotine, that’s saying something).

The main theme of the book (that of how money doesn’t have to be based on gold) and the basic lessons in economics, were also fun. And I really appreciate that Terry is becoming more playful with sexual innuendo again (akin to the first few chapters of “Small Gods”).

Now for the bad news: the book is nowhere near his best. While the pacing was good, I found the plot resolution disappointing and not up to his usual clever tricks. The villain was ridiculous instead of scary, the golem problem was introduced too late and it was sorted out with an “oh?” rather than an “aaaaaaah!”

Still, as I always maintain: give me a mediocre Pratchett any day. It’s better than most writers can achieve.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Murder @ The Bling Bling Xmas Table

The Setting:
Exclusive Game Reserve “Bling-Bling Bush Lodge”, Christmas 2007

The Characters:
- Christine Chamberlain, a mathematician and our amateur detective who will help us solve the puzzle
- Tom Wodehouse, artist and Christine’s husband
- Alta Vermaak”, Christine’s best friend from school, owner of the “Bling-Bling Bush Lodge which, despite its glamorous name, is making a financial loss of bling-bling proportions
- Kenneth Vermaak, Alta’s husband, game ranger at his wife’s game reserve and begrudging the fact that this is the only job he could get in the new South Africa
- Sandra Vermaak, Alta’s twin sister from New Zealand, visiting after a 10-year absence, a stay-at-home mom who says she’s not bored and that she loves her children, but if so, then why did she leave them in New Zealand with the nanny?
- Connor Vermaak, Sandra’s husband and Kenneth’s older brother, self-made millionaire who is reluctant to talk about his money-making ventures

Back Story:
Alta Vermaak organised a xmas reunion for the immediate family. Aware of the undercurrents in the family members’ affairs, however (Kenneth is envious of Connor’s business success, Sandra had a crush on Kenneth but he chose Alta, Connor cannot forgive Kenneth that he was Sandra’s first choice, Alta is irritated by the way Sandra throws money around), she invited Christine and Tom to join them for Christmas.

(Thank you to those of you who attended “Set the Table for Murder” last Saturday. We had lots of fun, lots of praise and lots of sales!)

(In the next blog: review of Pratchett’s “Making Money”… watch this space.)