Yes, Prime Minister. The Diaries Of The Right Honourable James Hacker Vol I - edited by Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay
Yes, Prime Minister. The Diaries Of The Right Honourable James Hacker Vol II - edited by Jonathan Lynn & Anthony Jay
Carbs And Cadavers - J. B. Stanley
Cast In Order Of Disappearance - Simon Brett
So Much Blood - Simon Brett
Star Trap - Simon Brett
An Amateur Corpse - Simon Brett
Nation - Terry Pratchett
Double Dog Dare - Linda O Johnston
TOTAL NUMBER OF BOOKS READ THUS FAR IN 2008: 115
03 were first time reads
06 were re-reads
The Yes, Prime Minister followed on from the Yes, Minister diaries I read last month and tell of Jim Hacker's rise to the 'top' job and his time in office. Humphrey Appleby has also risen, he is now Cabinet Secretary and Hacker takes his Private Secretary with him to Number Ten - so the same characters are there for another thoroughly enjoyable read. Now he's got a little more used to the ways of the Civil Service in general and Humphrey in particular, Hacker actually wins more battles. Superb writing, wit, humour, a look at politics and what goes on behind 'closed doors'. A thoroughly good read.
Carbs And Cadavers is the first book in a new (to me) amateur detective series. The 'difference' here is that the investigation stems from a group of over-weight people meeting and forming a supper club and how they spur one another one, how sometimes they fail, sometimes they succeed and their lives in general. The main character is a university professor who has given up his job to return home to care for his father after his mother died. He is now working as a librarian which is where he learns about the supper club. It was a light read, but an enjoyable one and the characters were good, well drawn and seemed very real. I'm looking forward to getting the next book in the series.
The Simon Brett books were the first four Charles Paris books. Charles is a not very successful actor who nonetheless just about manages to keep his head above water and get enough work to survive. He's a heavy drinker, but not an alcoholic, he left his wife several years ago but they've never divorced and he still loves her and she him. He goes back to her more than once, and whilst it's wonderful to begin with, he ultimately gets bored and leaves again. He has several worthless and ultimately depressing relationships with young actresses, lives in a bed-sit and has the worst theatrical agent around. And he keeps stumbling into murders and ends up investigating and solving them. Despite the fact that the vast majority of his problems are of his own making, you nonetheless can't help liking him and feeling some sympathy for him. I like Simon Brett as a writer very much, so this is another very enjoyable series.
Nation was a very different Pratchett book. It wasn't set in his Disc World universe for one thing, nor was it really of the fantasy genre. Copied from Amazon: 'Finding himself alone on a desert island when everything and everyone he knows and loved has been washed away in a huge storm, Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He's also completely alone - or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird and gives him a stick which can make fire. Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She's certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship's parrot. As it happens, they are not alone for long.Other survivors start to arrive to take refuge on the island they all call the Nation and then raiders accompanied by murderous mutineers from the Sweet Judy. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things - including how to milk a pig and why spitting in beer is a good thing - and start to forge a new Nation.'
It a story about growth, about growing up, about facing challenges, about accepting, about surviving, about caring, about learning, about culture and has a very gentle romance tinge to it as well. It starts fairly slowly, but with strong, well drawn characters and you are quickly drawn into Mau's life and care deeply about him and what he is facing and dealing with. Entwined with that is Daphne, whom you also care about and is well rounded, and her life and how she and Mau learn to communicate with one another. There is some humour in it, but it's not the main focus of the book. I wasn't too sure about it at first and before starting it, as it wasn't Disc World, but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it.
Double Dog Dare was the latest (and I hope the last) in the 'Pet Sitter's Mystery series where reinstated lawyer Kendra Ballantyne solves mysteries whilst continuing with her pet sitting and with her legal work. Normally I really enjoy these books and the animals are lovely, but this one dragged for me. It was about cloning dogs and it all seemed highly farcical to me and entwined with the murder was the disappearance then reappearance of her lover, the man with whom she was about to move in with. But once again the relationship hits problems, again in an unbelievable way and by the end I wanted to slap them both. I didn't enjoy the book and I think the series has had its day. I really hope there aren't any more - because I'll have to buy them *sigh*