Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Good, clean fun

Sometimes you have so much in your head you just can't bear to dive headfirst into what, in other circumstances, would be a great book. You just don’t have that sort of space in your imagination. Well, I've just had a month exactly like that, and I must have started and abandoned some five books, my mind kept wandering off from the thickly woven characters and plots. But despair not! There are books that by demanding less of you, end up being a solace in times of trouble. These three opened up a ray of sunshine in an otherwise difficult month:

"Still life with chickens" - Catherine Goldhammer

Poking fun at "year in Provence/somewhere Mediterranean" might become a genre of its own. The first sentences made me smile and I just kept on going. Goldhammer is a friendly narrator, and you might want to hold the roast chicken for a while afterwards.

"Friends lovers chocolate" and "The right attitude to rain" - Alexander McCall Smith

I had been meaning to read the second installment of the Sunday Philosophy Club for quite some time, but it turns out it was a good thing to wait, because this way I had the third ready in line! Isabel Dalhousie is such a great character, that I can't help believing (or hoping) that she is an actual person. Her sometimes annoying habit of over-analyzing everything makes her even more life-like. In fact, she is such a compelling character, that McCall Smith seems to be gradually dispensing with the artifice of a mystery to be solved. And he is right; spending time with Isabel wandering through Edinburgh is a treat in itself. However prepare yourself for a wonderful surprise in the end of the third book. I never saw it coming and it had me laughing in delight. I can't wait for the next one.

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