Monday, 26 January 2009

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz

This took me ages to finish, probably because I wasn't really enjoying it. I loved the first Odd Thomas novel by Koontz, as it was so original and the character so sympathetic. It had an exciting story with a bit of a twist too. This is the fourth Odd Thomas novel though and I felt it was a bit predictable - not so much the writing as the concept. Odd is still a great character though, and some of the one-liners are really funny. Unfortunately the style of writing gets a bit wearing sometimes as Koontz ALWAYS seems to choose a long word over a short ...

Next I had an Agatha Raisin, and I was enjoying it so much I finished it in a few hours. This one was Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye. The author has introduced a promising new character, but she still kept us up-to-date with all our old favourites (except the Boggles, sadly! Apparently they have moved away).

The next "book" was only 26 pages: Short Stories by Irvine Welsh, as supplied with Scotland on Sunday. Irvine Welsh, for those who don't know, is the author of Trainspotting. First was an extract from his novella 'I am Miami', which was perceptive but miserable! I won't be reading the whole thing. However, Vat '96 and Where the Debris Meets the Sea were hilarious in their different ways. Vat '96 is skillfully written in the classic short story format, and Where the Debris ... turns celebrity worship on its head. Both will leave you amused and horrified at the same time, although for different reasons. Lisa's Mum Meets the Queen Mum was again well-written but rather fizzled out for me.

Finally I decided to be celebrate Burns' Day with Rhymer Rab: an anthology of poems and prose edited by Alan Bold. The introduction provides a good recap of the poet's life, and then the middle section gives a choice of his most famous poems, followed by a selection of his prose writing including many letters. Any study of Burns seems to raise as many questions as it answers eg how did he reconcile his politics with his employment as an exciseman (necessity probably) and how did such a romantic explain his treatment of the many women in his life? It's not surprising that he is still read and studied more than 2 centuries later. This book does illustrate how well-read the poet actually was, even if he did play up the heaven-taught ploughman angle to his readers. I didn't manage to finish this one though, so I'm not counting it towards my Book-a-Day totals.

Day 110; Book 108