MAY & JUNE (19)
E Is For Evidence - Sue Grafton
The Headhunters - Peter Lovesey
F Is For Fugitive - Sue Grafton
G Is For Gumshoe - Sue Grafton
H Is For Homicide - Sue Grafton
NCIS BOLO #02 - Gibbs/Ducky - published by Periwinkle of Carriage Hill Press
The Secret Dreamworld Of A Shopoholic - Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Abroad - Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic Ties The Knot - Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic And Sister - Sophie Kinsella
Shopaholic And Baby - Sophie Kinsella
Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
Bridge Jones: The Edge Of Reason - Helen Fielding
I Is For Innocent - Sue Grafton
Yo, Blair - Geoffrey Wheatcroft
Can You Keep A Secret? - Sophie Kinsella
The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
Phan Rang Chronicles. A British Surgeon In Vietnam September 1966 - May 1968 - Henry Hamilton
Doctor In The House - Richard Gordon
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ THUS FAR in 2008: 72
15 were books I'd read before
04 were a first time reads
Sue Grafton's Alphabet Series continued to be very enjoyable as we kept up with Kinsey's challenges and the jobs she did and also learnt more about the other regular characters. H Is For Homicide was probably the weakest of the books I read this time, as in this book Kinsey isn't in her usual home town and setting and we don't see her interact with the usual people. But that aside I'd still recommend highly the series.
Peter Lovesey's The Headhunters is his latest book and features his detective Henrietta “Hen” Mallin who along with her team investigate the murder of a woman who is found by the leading character Jo, on a beach. Jo is less than impressed by the way she is treated by the Police, after all she was only doing her job as a good citizen. As the book goes on and yet another body is discovered the Police start to look at Jo and her friends very carefully indeed as suspects. As with Lovesey's other detectives Henrietta is well rounded and not perfect, not by a long way and at times you don't necessarily like her, but she's good at her job. The case is intriguing and keeps you on your toes and guessing and all the characters are 'real' and not just cardboard cut-outs. I really like Lovesey as a writer and look forward to a new book coming out, and this was not a disappointment.
Sophie Kinsella is a chick-lit writer, a genre I don't read a great deal of. However, her books are excellent and I really do recommend them. For me what is so good about her characters is that you find them not only believable, but can also look at them and see part of you in them. In her Shopaholic series Becky, the main character, is obsessed with shopping and spending money and her exploits evoke a huge range of emotions. At times she irritates you and you think 'grow up' but nonetheless she's a good person. And I doubt there are many people around who can't put their hand on their heart and say 'I have never, ever bought anything that I didn't need and/or I don't have anything in my wardrobe, on my book shelf, CD cabinet, DVD cabinet that I don't wear/read/listen to/watch'. Becky just takes that to a different level. She does cause trouble mainly for herself and gets into all kinds of messes, but nonetheless she is not a hurtful or cruel character. It is a really good series.
In Can You Keep A Secret? you have a youngish marketing person who is drifting along, not entirely sure what she wants to do. She gets the chance to go to Scotland to close a deal - it's a done deal and really all that is needed is a handshake - needless to say it doesn't quite work out like that though. The plane journey back to London gets into bad weather and Emma, who hates flying, ends up pouring out all her secrets to a perfect stranger - little secrets like her boyfriend thinks she's a size 8 when actually she's a 12, etc. And then she discovers the next day that the man to whom she poured her heart out is the owner of the marketing company for whom she works. There is attraction between them, but it doesn't go slowly, mainly because he already know so much about her. And again you can see the reality in Emma and again the whole 'haven't we all got secrets'?
Undomestic Goddess is about a hard working solicitor, tipped to become a partner which has been her life ambition, who one day makes a monumental error which ends up costing her firm £5 million. Unable to cope she flees and ends up being mistaken for the person applying to be a housekeeper. She finds herself accepting the job and when she wakes up the next morning she realises what she has done. Hitherto her way of dealing with things like her cleaner asking her where he vacuum cleaner bags were was to buy a new vacuum cleaner, and she can't cook at all. But she learns and bit-by-bit becomes confident and good and also falls in love. Then (without giving too much away) she has the chance to return and become an equity partner and she looks at her life and realises she doesn't want to go back to working 12, 13, 14 hours a day and every weekend, and often through the night, she enjoys her new life where she has weekends off. So she chooses; she turns her back on the city and retains her new life. When questioned as to whether she's letting all women down everywhere she merely points out she's making a choice, and that at the end of the day is what it's about, not being a high powered solicitor but doing what you want to do. It's hilarious in parts, moving in others and over all another excellent read.
Helen Fielding's Bridge Jones books are the only other chick lit books I read. To my mind they aren't actually quite as good as the films, especially the first one. But once again they have depth, they have great characters and the characters seem real and believable and you can again find some empathy with Bridget.
Yo, Blair which is how George W. Bush addressed Tony Blair, is a book about Blair's premiership. If you like and respect Blair, and Bush, then this book is not for you. Geoffrey Wheaton tells the story of the ten years Blair ran Britain and how he spent more time on world affairs than he did on home affairs and how for a good part of his premiership he was actually liked more by the American people than by the British people. A lot of the focus of the book is the Iraq war, indeed all the wars Blair took us too, and whilst I imagine Wheaton has to an extent let his bias come through at times, nonetheless the book does not show Blair in a good light not at all - nor Bush. It was shocking in parts and I lived through the years but also interesting.
Phan Rang Chronicles was a book J bought as part of some research I needed for a story. It simply tells the life of a British surgeon, who answered the American's plea for British medics to go to Vietnam and help during the war. It is a day-by-day diary of what he went through, how he interacted with the American Air Force, the aid people and the Vietnamese, and his life in 'Nam and what he went through. For example when he got to the hospital whilst being quite solidly built and with operating theatres, etc. it didn't even have one toilet that flushed. It's a interesting read and hasn't been edited for the way he thought, etc. when he was in his 30s.
Doctor In The House if the first book in the series of the life of Richard Gordon and how he became a doctor in the 50s. This first book takes us through his years as a medical student in a teaching hospital. It's amusing, a light read and fascinating to see how things have changed over the decades. Again well worth reading - I'm looking forward to reading some more of the series.
NCIS BOLO #2 Gibbs/Ducky. Zine. That really says it all :-)