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Some quickie reviews

Posted by Marie on Sunday, December 06, 2009 in , , , , ,
The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald
Fiction, General; ISBN 0395869463; Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.
Florence Green is a widow who, to the surprise of everyone, invested the little inheritance that she has to buying a centuries-old house and turning it into a bookshop, the only one for miles around.

This is, in its most basic, a poignant David-vs-Goliath story. I ached for Florence Green. She is a good soul, much too good for the small-town pettiness of the appropriately-named Hardborough. Textwise, the prose runs smoothly. I like that it is being gloriously short (a rarity, I'm sure). A good read altogether - perfect for that relaxing weekend afternoon. Best read with a pot of perfectly brewed English tea. Five stars.


The Queen Jade - Yxta Maya Murray
Fiction, Adventure; ISBN 0060582642; Harper Collins, 2005.
Lola Sanchez frantically searches for her archeologist mother in Guatemala when she disappeared during the onslaught of a fearsome hurricane. What she finds there was beyond her wildest expectations - legends, lost temples, mazes in the thickest jungles, ancient books, romances, quicksands, artifacts, jewels, traitorous guides, and many more.

If you like Indiana Jones, or better yet, Romancing the Stones, you'll like The Queen Jade. The characters are over-the-top, the plot is mostly implausible - sounds like a good junk-food type of fun to me. Best read with a bag of MSG-laden barbecue-flavored nacho chips. Three stars.


The PreHistory of The Far Side - Gary Larson
Non-fiction, Memoir; ISBN 0836218515; Andrews & McMeel, 1989.
Let's be clear about this: this is not one of the usual The Far Side cartoon compilation. This is a memoir (if you're polite) or a compilation of ramblings (if you're not) of its bizarre cartoonist, Greg Larson. It discusses the origin & evolution of the cartoons, as well as the Larson's creative process. It still have lots of past Far Side cartoons though; Larson had three sections for those he thought are flawed, those that had been controversial, and finally, those that are his personal favorites.

While I'm not a fanatic, I do like The Far Side, for all its crazy and often dark twists from reality. And it is interesting to know that behind that one-panel comic lies the mind of an talented but ordinary man.... nah, Greg Larson is, of course, demented as his creations show him to be. Best read while taking some good ol' tequila kicks. Five stars.


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