“The Sexual Paradox: Extreme Men, Gifted Women and the Real Gender Gap” by Susan Pinker [New Year’s Resolution]
This book suggests that women’s and men’s brains are different and this is why women tend not to be as successful as men in their careers. Despite seeming like a cop out there are some interesting ideas here. And, really, why is it that a majority of those who suffer from Aspergers are men?
“The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel” by Michael Scott
“The Magician” by Michael Scott
“The Sorceress” by Michael Scott
Books 1-3 in a teenage fantasy series written by an Irish author pretending to be American (our heroes are American twins). Drags somewhat but I’m on volume 3. I’m not exactly dying to check out volume 4 though.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer [New Year’s Resolution]
This is about a clever, slightly weird, child whose father died in the Twin Towers. It’s also a hymn to the wonderfulness of New York and the huge variety of odd people who live there. It left me cold. The child is supposed to be winsome but I just found him really, really annoying. I thought that the whole thing was a bit cloying and over-sentimental. That’s just me, there were two pages of critical plaudits at the start of the book.
“Last Orders” by Graham Swift [New Year’s Resolution]
My husband said I wouldn’t like this but I did, in the mildest possible way. It’s about a bunch of older working class men who go to throw their friend’s ashes off the end of a pier. That’s it. It’s a gentle, easy book. Very nicely written though and the author is great at drawing characters which is good because plot is not his long suit.
“The Jane Austen Book Club” by Karen Joy Fowler [New Year’s Resolution]
This book was such a surprise. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it but I found it very clever and immensely enjoyable. The story is about a group of people (all women, bar one) who meet to talk about each of Jane Austen’s books in turn. The characters and their stories are entertaining in themselves but if you know Jane Austen’s books reasonably well, then you can see how in each chapter there are events which echo events in Austen’s books. Absolutely terrific on a range of levels.
“Park and Ride: Adventures in Suburbia” by Miranda Sawyer[New Year’s Resolution]
It turns out Miranda Sawyer likes the suburbs after all. I started this expecting to be smug about my urban life and getting a chance to look down on the suburbs. Fortunately enough, Ms. Sawyer starts with exactly the same perspective. By the end she is singing the praises of suburban life and I can see where she’s coming from. I’m not quite ready for the long commute yet though.
“I Shall Wear Midnight” by Terry Pratchett
Another Tiffany Aching novel. Terry Pratchett is reliably excellent. What greater praise can one give?
“A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” by Marina Lewycka
I resisted reading this as I did not enjoy “Two Caravans” by the same author. This is much better. Very, very funny. And lots of Ukrainian history for free.
“The Inheritance of Loss” by Kiran Desai [New Year’s Resolution]
Another Booker prize winning book set in India. For my money, every bit as dull as “The God of Small Things”. Yeah, I know, you loved it. But, it just did not work for me at any level. There is no real plot. There are lots of interwoven stories only two of which interested me slightly. I found the our heroine’s character slight and under-developed. It is well written I suppose but exceptionally good writing would be needed to make up for the shortcomings of character and plot in my view. No more Booker winners for me.