What I read in June and July 2010

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. This has nearly knocked A Long Way Down off my fave Nick Hornby perch. How does he manage to create pathetic characters you still manage to empathise and engage with? As usual in his books, the woman character is rather less pathetic than the man and it’s a bit as if Nick Hornby were saying to us “Yes, I know we men are a bit useless, but bear with us, OK?”
Caught by Harlan Coben. I read this just a few weeks ago and I barely remember anything about it! I didn’t actively dislike it while I was reading it, it just didn’t make much of an impression. Usual kind of Coben stuff, but without the usual page-turning factor.
Mes amis mes anours de Marc Levy. Comme toujours, c’est agréable à lire, mais ça ne va pas chercher bien loin. En fait, je pense que Marc Levy est Anna Gavalda au masculin, en plus gnangnan; conclusion je pense que ce sera le dernier Marc Levy que je lirai, alors qu’Anna Gavalda me donne encore envie de lire son prochain bouquin.

L’échappée belle d’Anna Gavalda justement. J’ai bien aimé. Pas autant qu’ Ensemble, c’est tout, mais autant que Je l’aimais et que J’aimerais que quelqu’un m’attende quelque part. Par contre, déception avec La consolante (on m’avait prévenue). C’est comme si elle essayait de s’approprier un style qui ne lui appartient pas. J’ai abandonné ce livre rapidement.

Hand in Glove and Death at the Bar by Ngaio Marsh. I thought I’d read all the Ngaio Marsh novels but I was thrilled to discover I hadn’t, so that’s one up for Kindle, because that’s where I found them. Hand in Glove was a disappointment for me, one of the rare Marsh books I haven’t enjoyed, but I felt right back on familiar and well loved territory with Death at the Bar.

Armadale, Poor Miss Finch and No Name (a re-read) by Wilkie Collins. Take one headstrong but virtuous young woman, one virtuous but wimpy young woman, one evil scheming older woman, one virtuous young man, one evil young man, place all the afore-mentioned in Victorian England, add a moral problem with far-reaching consequences for the virtuous young people and hey presto, you have a Wilkie Collins. I think that the recipe works a lot better in The Moonstone and The Woman in White, which I have both read many times, but I still enjoyed reading these three in quick succession on a sunlounger in Aix.

The Secret Adversary and The Big Four  by Agatha Christie. The first is a Tommy & Tuppence mystery, but I much preferred N or M? also featuring the T&T couple. The second is Agatha Christie having a go at writing The 39 Steps with Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings tracking the baddies. Not a classic body-in-the-library plot, but plenty of action and really good fun.

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