Tuesday, August 31, 2010

23. THE THIRTEENTH TALE - Diane Setterfield

Oh, to have thought of this concept. A biographer meets with the famous author, Vida Winter, to hear her life story, including that of the unwritten "Thirteenth Tale." However, is Margaret going to believe a woman who has told reporters several different stories of her life?

Rather than be misled, Margaret investigates Vida's past. As she peels back the layers, she realizes that truth can be stranger than fiction.

I'll admit it... I thought it would be overrated. However, I was charmed. Though there are enough coincidences to make one's frown begin to pucker, it is still a fascinating story that engrosses the reader.

3.75 out of 5.0 Drinks without a Name.

Friday, August 27, 2010

22. STAR ISLAND - Carl Hiaasen

Cherry Pye is Hiaasen's latest in a long list of crazy characters. Cherry, formerly Cheryl Bunterman, will remind readers of Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus: spoiled, slutty rock princess. So, being such a hot commodity, is there any wonder that she has a double to cover for her?

No, but Cherry doesn't know (she's too out of it). When her double, Ann, decides to take a vacay and ends up in the Florida swamps with Skink (yes, fans, he is back) and then kidnapped by a raging lunatic-paparazzo, Cherry's mom, manager, and publicists only care enough to keep a lid on the incidents.

As with all of his books, Carl Hiassen is over-the-top in his writing with descriptions that make you cringe or laugh. This look at pop culture is a wicked-fast read.

4.0 out of 5.0 Pop the Cherries.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

21. PROMISED LANDS - Jane Rogers

A novel meticulous in its research about the colonization of Sydney with convicts and their military watchers, including William Dawes, included with the Royal Navy to provide information on the upcoming Halley's comet. Instead, he becomes the primary engineer in building the colony with little wood and a lot of resistance.

Meanwhile, this is a story within a story. The author, Stephen, is writing this book, and jars the reader out of the lovely bubble of early Australia with his notes. It's similar to reading an author's manuscript. At the same time, there are long, strange chapters of his wife, Olla's, thoughts - of Stephen, of their new son (born with cerebral palsy), and of her own delusional beliefs.

Two points of view are interesting: William Dawes and Olla's. They are also parallel. What do you do when you have faith, but those around you do not see your vision? Stephen, however, seems to be the mosquito that finds you after you turn off the lights, whining and buzzing. It's too bad that we couldn't simply find out about him through his novel and Olla's POV.

It's an odd book, and in some ways, I would have preferred to simply read about the convict camp in Australia. However, the author's comparisons and contrasts are brilliant. If you have read it, I'd love to see your opinion about the ending... in the comments, of course.

3.25 out of 5.0 Kangaroos.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"...people like me, who sit in small rooms and type all day, aren't particularly intriguing, even to their own families." - Carl Hiaasen

This post is for my MFA friends and Terry Davis, author of Mysterious Ways and Vision Quest. During dear Terry's class, I tried to contact Mr. Carl Hiaasen and was cock-blocked by his assistant.

I wouldn't do that to you, Kristin!

Of course, as his "number one fan" a la creepy Annie from Misery, I have read all of his books. I knew why his writing worked and wanted to get in touch with him for an interview to impress my classmates. Cock-blocked. Completely shut down like a closeted lesbian's date on prom.

So, almost ten years later, I really hope that Bridget Fitzgerald happens to google herself and read this silly blog. Bridget sent me an advance copy of Carl Hiaasen's book, Star Island. I receive a lot of books to be reviewed, but when I opened this package, three things may have occurred:

a. Squealing;
b. Jumping up and down;
c. Random calls to people who just did not understand the importance of this event.
Perhaps all three. I am not telling.

Meanwhile, I am going to race-read through this book because I "lurve" Carl Hiaasen. Then, I am going to catch up on the blog with all of the summer reading. There is a pile with "to review" on it. We'll take it slow, shall we?