Tag Archives: New York City

Merde Happens by Stephen Clarke

Read courtesy of Thor

I have read all of the previous offerings of Merde (lol) & have giggled happily through them all. I love Clarke’s character Paul & love reading about his crazy adventures in the Merde. I think they are brilliant books!

On Christmas Day I downloaded Merde Happens onto Thor, but put off starting it partly because I was already reading a book, but also as the main point of having Thor is so that I can read my review books, not to buy books to read, so there was some reluctance & guilt thrown into the mix. I waited until the day before we returned from Canada to start reading Merde Happens & have been reading it on the bus to & from work most days, which has resulted in a few weird looks from people as they look around to see what I am sniggering about.

I couldn’t recommend the first two books enough & this third installment did not disappoint. Merde Happens sees our protagonist, Paul West hired to be the front man on a tour of the USA, promoting Britain & British ways, as part of a campaign to win the Tourism country of the year. Paul, and his girlfriend Alexa, head off on a grand journey with stops in NYC, Boston, Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, then on to Hollywood for the voting (all in a candy-apple red Mini with the Union Jack painted on the roof).  Along the way Paul has the mis-fortune of running into misfortune every step of the way, often with hilarious outcomes.

One of the best things about this series of books (besides the hilarity) is that you don’t necessarily need to have read the preceding books to enjoy the other offerings. All three books are lighthearted, tongue firmly in cheek, looks at the relationships between Brits & the French & all three will have you laughing out loud (the first two slightly more so) & wondering when the next installment will be along. So, will Paul make it to the final city & the final vote in one piece? Will his relationship with Alexa survive all the things that keep happening? Guess you have to read the book to find out!

 

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Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

I’ve never seen the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and never really had much of a desire to. The version of the book that I bought was part of the Penguin Books leather bound collection. They were originally retailing for £50.00 each, but almost 2 years ago I came across the entire set in The Works for £5.99 each. It just seemed wrong to pass them up! I bought the entire set, but have not read any of them, until now.

I went into reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s knowing nothing other than it had been made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn & that Deep Blue Something had a great song by the same title. Honestly, that was all I knew about it. Well, if you’ve read it you know that it is little more than a short story & mine was a collection of this & 3 other stories by Truman Capote. (No idea if these are the 3 other stories which were originally published with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, though)

It is said that Capote based the character of Holly on several different women, including Gloria Vanderbilt, Oona Chaplin, and Carol Grace (Walter Matthau’s wife). Apparently there are also many similarities between the lives of Holly and Capote’s mother, Nina Capote; among other shared attributes both women were born in the rural south with similar “hick” birth names that they changed (Holly Golightly was born Lula Mae Barnes in Texas, Nina Capote was born Lillie Mae Faulk in Alabama). Both left the husbands they married as teenagers and abandoned relatives they loved and were responsible for in order to make their way to New York City, and both achieved Cafe Society status through relationships with wealthier men, though Capote’s mother was born two decades earlier than the fictional Holly Golightly.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a very easy read & I found it mildly amusing, but the more I think about it, the less I like it, to be honest. I’m not sure how anyone could like the character Holly Golightly. A fake woman, if ever there was one. She uses men as her sole means of employment, and behaves like a spoiled child. She’s everything I can’t imagine a woman wanting to be – if that makes any sense. I fear had this been true life, I would have been exactly like Madame Spanella, always feeling cross about Holly & her antics, shouting at her to keep the noise down & circulating petitions to have Miss Golightly evicted!

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Filed under postaweek2011, Relaxing reading

The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

A while ago I went to a reading by Jeffery Deaver at Waterstones & had a really great night listening to him talk about his writing process & about his latest book – The Burning Wire & afterward Mr. Deaver signed copies of his books.

The Burning Wire is a Lincoln Rhyme novel, which was excellent news for me – I think that the Lincoln Rhyme series are Deaver’s best. It follows the trail of a man bent on destroying New York City, using the electricity grid as his murder tool. As usual this book featured the usual Rhyme cast of characters – Sachs, Mel, Thom, Polaski & Kathryn Dance (via telephone) & the patented Deaver plot twists & turns, but all that couldn’t save this book! I started reading The Burning Wire on the bus home from the Deaver reading, with his words ringing in my head – Deaver said there was nothing he hated more than an author who gives you a book filled with suspense, drama, excellent characters – in essence everything you could want, then gives you a dud ending. Well, that’s what happened in this book. Deaver’s characters are excellent, the plot is brilliant, it’s full of suspense, drama & unexpected twists & then he goes & throws in the cheesiest ending! Not to mention the boring lessons on electricity! I found myself skimming the more “technical”parts of the book. I wanted a murder mystery, not  Electricity for Dummies!

I seriously wanted to take the book back to Waterstones & tell them that I wanted my money back, that Deaver had ripped me off! Not only do you get the worst ending possible to the mystery, you also get the re-hash of Rhyme’s “will I, won’t I” of exploring the possibilities of surgery to get him out of his chair.

As sad as it makes me to say this – I think that Deaver needs to retire Rhyme, Sachs et al, write something completely new & maybe come back to them in 4 or 5 years.

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