Monday, 16 February 2009

Iluvwords Now Reading Dangerously

Elisabeth of Iluvwords is now reading a book a day! A buddy, a pal, a fellow nutter ... hooray!

Le Weekend

I stayed up late on Friday to finish Linwood Barclay's Too Close to Home (an impulse purchase). Yes, it was rather in the style of Harlan Coben but worthwhile in its own right with a well-constructed tale of dangerous secrets gradually being revealed. Like Coben, Barclay has an easy style and an unconventional hero.

Next up was Heavenly Date and Other Stories by Alexander McCall Smith (the author of the Ladies' Detective Agency stories among other things). I liked most of these short stories although some were rather sad - but I loved the one about the crocodiles which was everything a short story should be! (I can't tell you any more but it is well worth reading).

The Barretts of Wimpole Street by Rudolf Besier is the script of the play first performed in 1930 and later famous as a film with Charles Laughton as the terrifying Papa. Once again it is beautifully constructed with every speech counting and all building towards the conclusion.

For some light relief I read The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith. Despite being written in 1892, this novel in the form of a diary is surprisingly modern. Pooter, our hero, comes across at first as dull and pompous, but just like Adrian Mole 90 years later, we soon find ourselves rooting for him and sympathising with his misfortunes (while laughing at them as well of course). In the days before teenagers were even invented, he has his very own "Kevin". I had to laugh when his son takes him out in his hired horse and cart (which he can't really afford) and terrifies Pooter with his driving! Plus ca change ...

Teenagers of another world altogether feature in the last play I read, Another Country by Julian Mitchell. This was first produced in 1981 and was also turned into a film with the inspired casting of Rupert Everett as Guy Bennett and Colin Firth as Judd. Bennett is gay; Judd is a Marxist, and both are outsiders at their Eton-like school. Bennett suffers more as he hadn't realised just how excluded he would become: after all, dalliance with a homosexual lifestyle was quite accepted among the boys, most of whom were however hypocricital when it came to the image of the school. There were hints at the end of Guy turning to espionage later as the ultimate outsider. Of course if I had read about the play beforehand I would have realised that in fact it is about the spy Guy Burgess so those hints were hardly out of place.

Day 131; Book 131