Monday, January 07, 2008

Reading in the New Year

I haven't posted for ages, instead choosing to do some reading, eating, drinking and much playing of cards as the rain continues to fall at my beachside holiday location. I never seem to have much luck with holiday weather. Nevertheless it is pretty good weather for reading and I've managed to get through a couple of novels.

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres is certainly not light summer reading. It is over 600 pages long and takes a few hundred pages to really get going. The story follows the lives of a group of people from a small village in Turkey and through these people de Bernieres essentially follows the history of Turkey in the twentieth century. I found the book similar in some ways to Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the only other novel of his that I have read, but it was less emotionally engaging, perhaps because there was just so much history to cram in, often at the expense of plot and character development. I learnt a lot though, and found the parts about Gallipoli, told from the Turkish perspective, particularly interesting. De Bernieres has a nice, readable style but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to read anything else by him.

After reading about the horrific and violent history of Turkey I turned to Rachel Pine's novel The Twins of Tribeca for some light contrast. Pine is a former employee of Miramax and this is a 'tell-all' novel in the style of The Devil Wears Prada. The tone is light and gossipy, and there is lots interesting inside information on the way films get made (especially the bad ones). Pine never really finds a narrative arc for her story though. Lots of times it felt like something dramatic was about to happen but then... nothing. It's a fun read but fairly forgettable.

I'm still considering plans for reading in 2008. So far the only thing I've thought of is that I should read more classics. In particular I want to read Tristram Shandy this year. I've been planning to read it ever since I saw the great film version with Steve Coogan. Hopefully I will come up with some more plans before the year is half over.

Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.


Fay Sheco said...

Tristram Shandy will probably not burble up to the top of my reading stack, but I might just find that film. Sounds just right.

Imani said...

I've been recently having a craving for Tristram Shandy after feeling that I would never consider reading it for a while last year. Now I'm trying to decide which edition to get.

I liked the film as well.

jess said...

Fay, the film is a lot of fun and although it includes lots of modern stuff it is very much in the spirit of the book from what I hear.

Imani, will look forwad to hearing your thoughts on Tristram Shandy. I don't know which edition I have since I'm still on holidays but think it's a penguin classics paperback.