Thursday, February 18, 2010

Juggling Books

Posted by lea at 6:03 PM 4 comments Links to this post
Do you find yourself juggling several books at a time? Unless I'm reading something I just can't put down or I've run out of books at hand, I'm usually always juggling several books at a time. It's like a fine art, balancing the different books that suit your various moods: there's the serious literary work that's a bit too intense to take in all at once, the light pulp fiction that alleviates the intensity of the aforementioned literary book, the non-fiction self-improvement book you're reading but can only take in small doses, and maybe lastly the classic that you're re-reading in bits and pieces before you go to bed, because if you read a new book before bed you'll never put it down to go to sleep.

My current book juggles are:

Creating a World Without Poverty, Muhammad Yunus
Written by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning professor who founded the concept of micro-financing, this book is both inspiring and challenging. And serious. This is my non-fiction, read-in-doses book.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
Normally I steer clear of books that are practically thrown in your face as soon as you walk into a bookstore (like Eat, Love, Pray, which I still haven't read), so it took a while to get round to this one. I'm not normally a book snob, which you'll know if you've seen some of the awful contributions to literature I've read in the past, but I don't like to be told what to read either. What changed my mind was that a member of my book club recommended it as a good read, so here I am. I've only just started it, but already it's riveting. What a shame the author died before seeing his works in print.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
This is my read-at-night classic. It's interesting enough that I want to pick it up before bed, but not so absorbing that I can't put it down to go to sleep (or engage in other nocturnal activities that might present themselves :p). I've been reading it for around a week in small increments and I haven't even been introduced to Captain Corelli yet, so I'm in this for the long haul.

What books are you juggling?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Literary Lust: Mr Darcy

Posted by lea at 11:40 AM 1 comments Links to this post
Okay, it doesn't get more obvious than this - especially after Colin Firth's coming-out-of-the-lake scene which is indelibly burned in the retinas of women the world over. But Pride and Prejudice has been a favourite of mine for 20 years so I won't be deterred by the obviousness of it all. It's plain and simple: Darcy is hot. The arrogance. The intelligence. The refusal to bow to society's expectations and his smoldering lust for our feisty heroine Eliza Bennett.

Re-live the magic:

Literary Lusts was started by Elena at With Extra Pulp

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Google made me cry

Posted by lea at 1:11 PM 4 comments Links to this post
This is the Google ad called 'Parisian Love' which aired during the 2010 Super Bowl. If for some reason you can't see it (apparently it doesn't load on some machines), just click here to view on youtube.

I thought it was sweet <3

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Author Review: Jonathan Tropper

Posted by lea at 10:24 AM 0 comments Links to this post
I"m getting the sense that Jonathan Tropper is the authorial version of the Hugh Grant-kind of actor - the one who never really sheds his skin so the character he plays is always the same, just different situations for different movies. Don't get me wrong, he's great at what he does. It's just that, having read three of his five books, I'm starting to get to know his protagonist all too well.

There are certain parallels that run through his books: they're all written from the perspective of 30-something, middle-class, moderately successful young men who find themselves suddenly at a juncture in their lives not of their own choosing. They all have beautiful wives/partners whose astonishing good looks add to their neuroses, and their dysfunctional families are complicated but blessed by intelligence and beauty. Every single female character in his books is incredibly beautiful (slim, sexy, smart), from partners to sisters and mothers, and the protagonists are unwaveringly witty, self-deprecating, wry and generally a good-guy, albeit with flaws.

I loved the first book I read, How to Talk to a Widower because the voice was fresh, the narrative honest and banter so witty. I loved the larger-than-life characters and got really involved in the grief and recovery of Doug Parker, after the death of his wife Hailey. It was moving and exhilarating. Then came Everything Changes. 'Hang on a minute,' I thought. 'Zach King sounds exactly like Doug Parker but now he's potentially got cancer.' Then I read This is Where I Leave You. Deja Vu.

“There is an element in all my books of people at an age when they should be established suddenly questioning the fundamental tenets on which they base their lives,”says Jonathan Tropper in an interview. “I am not sure exactly what draws me to that theme, but it may be that it is a very middle-class thing. I grew up in an upper-middle-class home and live in an upper-middle-class suburb. I think there the dangers are not so much external, because we are all pretty insulated, the dangers are internal.”

He is the master at 'internal danger' - the writer of angst-ridden monologue for intelligent young men everywhere... but I really wish he'd try something different because he is definitely a good writer and I'd love to see him stretch his craft further. There are three words lurking in the back of my head that I'm loathe to commit to paper (figuratively): one trick pony.

But even Hugh Grant broke out of the mould with his characters in About a Boy and Bridget Jones's Diary. There's hope. So please Mr Tropper, prove me wrong.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Save on Sydney

Posted by lea at 11:01 AM 0 comments Links to this post

How's this for a great deal: the Viva Sydney card gives you two-for-one deals to participating restaurants, hotels, events and spas around Sydney until March 31st. You can download the card with a full list of offers, or receive it on your mobile phone via sms.

Sydney rocks! And now you can see how much for half price.

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