More Great Reads

During my time in Bolton I've had lots of time to read, as I'm free from any real obligations beyond performing Oleanna six nights a week. When I'm not out on a country walk with my outdoorsy landlady or venturing into Manchester for a city-fix, I'm usually reading. Some thoughts on the latest novels I've enjoyed:

Sulphuric Acid by Amélie Nothomb
I absolutely loved this novella, so much that I may look into the rights... . A quick read, poetic, moving, darkly funny, great ideas. I'm now keen to read more of Ms. Nothomb's books. Amazon's summary:

Sulphuric Acid
tells the story of a reality TV death camp, which has become the nation's obsession - an amoral spectacle played out through the media. It is a blackly funny and shocking satire on the modern predilection for reality television and celebrity, in which the audience at home develops a taste for blood.

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
An absorbing read - lots of stories within stories, unconventional romance, and a cracking description of what it's like to be a burn victim. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Amazon's product description:

'The nameless and beautiful narrator of The Gargoyle is driving along a dark road when he is distracted by what seems to be a flight of arrows. He crashes into a ravine and wakes up in a burns ward, undergoing the tortures of the damned. His life is over – he is now a monster. But in fact it is only just beginning. One day, Marianne Engel, a wild and compelling sculptress of gargoyles, enters his life and tells him that they were once lovers in medieval Germany. In her telling, he was a badly burned mercenary and she was a nun and a scribe who nursed him back to health in the famed monastery of Engelthal. As she spins her tale, Scheherazade fashion, and relates equally mesmerising stories of deathless love in Japan, Greenland, Italy and England, he finds himself drawn back to life – and, finally, to love.'

Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer
So I finally broke down and bought the hardback. My goal was to resist until I could get a free copy, but in a moment of weakness I caved. But it was WELL worth it. OK - it's a novel marketed for teens, its prose leaves something to be desired, and yes it's a love story between a human and a idealized vampire boy and people may think it's... what? trashy, fast-food lit? OK. I still loved it. Fantastically gripping, fast-paced, lovable characters, great plot and most of all, Ms. Meyer delivered on the goods she's been dangling in front of our noses for the last 3 books. I was so into it, I found myself thinking about it on stage during Oleanna performances. And if Twilight the movie didn't make you a fan of Robert Pattinson (who plays Edward Cullen), I'm sure the film version of Breaking Dawn will - as it gets mighty steamy between Bella and her vampire darling.

The Kilburn Social Club by Robert Hudson
Now I haven't read this one yet, but my husband has and he says it's fantastic - and he is a tough critic. I include it because my friend Robbie has written it and I'm proud and I'd like to spread the word. It's published by Jonathan Cape in August 2009. This is Robbie's first novel and he has his own blog here:

Here's the summary:
The Kilburn Social Club is about a medical student who inherits a utopian football team she doesn't want. Can she protect them from the hungry world, from rapacious tycoons, snakes in the grass and the blunderbuss venality of money? Why should she have to, and does she even want to? And how will she cope with her football-crazy sister's jealousy? From doomed lust to innocence defiled, from hopeless loss to dulled acceptance to hope reborn, this is an old-fashioned heroes and villains state-of-the-nation romance set in a wish-fulfilment alternative London. The Kilburn Social Club is a story of love, idealism and identity in something like modern, multicultural Britain. It doesn't demand any football pre-knowledge - it's for skeptics and sports lovers alike, neither cynical about what makes fans tick nor devoted to parroting the press-release puff of football's absurd self-image. And beyond this, there are the eternal stories of finding the people we share our lives with, how we choose, what we settle for and why. It is also about the cosmology of footballs.


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