Montag, 28. Mai 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a Meme hosted by BOOK JOURNEY

Last week I reviewed

The last book I finished was

SINFUL WOMAN (1947) by James M. Cain - one of my favourite authors ever 

(highly recommendable if you have a thing going on for 1940's pulp fiction and fictional Hollywood gossip)

I am reading...

... for my book-club:

EMMA (1814) by Jane Austen

 - which I enjoy very, very much.. - as much that I wish we would read faster in the "club".. 

...for myself

THE NIGHT CIRCUS (2011) by Erin Morgenstern

borrowed from the library.. It's good so far..

So - what are you reading? Do you recommend it? 

Hope you have a wonderful week filled with great books!

Thank you very much for reading!


Dienstag, 22. Mai 2012

Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor

First: I love the cover of BLEEDING HEART SQUARE (2009) by Andrew Taylor. It made me pick that book out of a huge amount of books which were all more of the "chick lit" type at the book store.. Well.. I think this book was a bit lost there - between all those single moms and single career girls with a talent for cupcakes and embarassing moments.. (Nothing bad in that though..) 

You might agree with me that this is no book one would expect there since Andrew Taylor has received several awards for mystery and historical novels - including the 2009 Catier Diamond Dagger which is given by the Crime Writer's Association of Great Britain to "authors who have made an outstanding lifetime's contribution to the genre".. 
Saying that I have to add: I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor before - but I will again. (Of that I am sure.) Let me tell you a bit about the novel, too:

In a nut-shell:

London, 1934: Legend has it that the Bleeding Heart Square came to its name because once the devil danced (and maybe a bit more than that) with a lady and the next morning there was nothing left of her besides her heart at this place.. 

Well.. nevertheless when Lydia Langstone leaves her abusive husband Marcus she decides to move in at her father's home since she is sure (and will be right about that..) that her aristocratic mother does not approve of her daughter leaving her spouse ("Men have their needs" - haven't they?..) Lydia's father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis, is - though he is a kind man - more interested into booze than into his daughter and much money isn't around either - hence he lives in a shabby little flat at (you might have guessed it..) Bleeding Heart Square. So while Lydia has to deal with her financial worries and a jealous husband who also starts to take some interest in the English Fascist Movement, the dodgy landlord (and neighbour) Serridge frequently receives little parcels - which contain nothing but bleeding hearts.. 

Then a new neighbour moves in: Rory Wentwood - a young journalist who just returned from India after five years and is engaged to Fenella Kensley. Maybe no coincidence that Fenella's aunt once owned the house at Bleeding Heart Square until she mysteriously disappeared four years ago and was never heard from again since..  

~ another (and also nice) cover for BLEEDING HEART SQUARE  ~
I enjoyed this book very much. In the beginning I had a little trouble to follow who is who amongst all those people - but I got into it very quickly. It has not one but actually four leading characters - which could give the reader the feeling of being a little ahead of some of the characaters at some points. There was a little twist in the end - which I really loved..  

~ The German cover of the 2011 edition looks a lot like the English one..
The German title means: The death heart ~ 

Andrew Taylor uses some good old clichées here - but it's ok with me. There were about two situations which made me go like "eewww..": I have a little problem when in a book someones eyes are involved in a brawl and when very, very young girls are victims of sexual harassment - well.. okay I hate sexual harassment no matter what age the involved persons are.. 

~ The French version with a title meaning: The devil dances at Bleeding Heart Square ~

The scenes of Lydia's new daily life I did enjoy very much. I loved that she read Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN (1928) and esp. one scene in which her co-worker was talking about her prefering Robert Donat's smile in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) to Leslie Howard's in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) made my day. 

Robert Donat in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) ~

~ Leslie Howard in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) ~
I for one would always prefer Leslie Howard - no matter in which film.. So I might be biased here.. 

Sex-appeal: There are a few scenes containing sex. Not very detailed - and at some points you'll have to read "between the lines" to get what you "just saw".. Those scenes are important for the story and not used for some "extra excitement".. 

Potential for Conflicts: Well.. Sexual harassment of an underaged girl, seduction (no violence!) of young teenage girls, punch-ups which at one point lead to one eye missing (*eww..*) - though  the "incidents" are  described not too detailed, the tone of the book is very calm and in the whole really a nice read - if you have major problems with that: better think twice. I am not a tough reader and I enjoyed this book but what you can take you have to decide for yourself - as always..

Thank you very much for reading!



Montag, 21. Mai 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a meme hosted @ BOOKJOURNEY

The last books I reviewed were

(^ it was a double review for those books were follow-ups.. ^)
(very recommendable if you love everything French..)

The last book I finished was

BLEEDING HEART SQUARE by Andrew Taylor (2009)
(Highly recommendable when you love mysteries set in 1934 London..)

I am reading now...

...for my book club:

EMMA by Jane Austen (1815)

and for myself: 

SINFUL WOMAN by James M. Cain (1947)

Next book might be

by Jonas Jonasson (2009)

 - The English title is: THE HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD MAN

Thank you very much for reading!



Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2012

Duo and Le Toutounier by Colette

First things first: I like Colette. Not only her books but that what I know (or think to know) about her as a person - or is it personality? (When it comes to Colette I guess the second suits her best..) 

How could I not like her when she adored cats? well.. yes.. not really a reason - but a sidenote.. we all tend to like people for the silliest reasons - don't we? I sure do.. She also loved dogs - I am always liking people who are fond of animals..  

~ Colette & a little friend of hers.. ~

Then she was one of the most dazzling personalities of La Belle Époque (- and also of  the years afterwards, of course..)
~ Colette in 1907  - a ravishing woman causing scandals.. ~

Though married three times (one of her husbands was Jewish and she helped him while Nazi occupation in France - though she was bed-ridden because of arthrosis) she also had several (bisexual) affairs - and caused a scandal when she performed on stage of Moulin Rouge in Paris and kissed another woman with whom she had for many years a relationship. It was Mathiled "Missy" de Morny whose father was a halfbrother of Napoleon III. .. Just by the way: When she died in 1954 at age 81 she was the first female to ever receive a state funeral in France. (Though I don't think it mattered to her at that moment..)

~ Colette & "Missy" de Morny on stage ~ 

So.. yes.. Indeed material for a heroine in my book.. Speaking of books - here we go: I am reviewing DUO (1934) and LE TOUTOUNIER (1939) together because both have Alice as the leading lady - and I think these very narrow novels are widely selled in two volume editions.. 

In a nut-shell:

DUO (1934): 
Alice and her husband are spending some time on his cottage way out on the countryside - but they are having some troubles. It is not only with their stubborn servants and with the show they are working on - no: Michel found out that Alice had a (short-lived) affair - and he isn't feeling too well anyway..

~ before going on to read: please be aware that this contains a spoiler because it is the follow-up to DUO.. ~
After Michel's death Alice returns to her sisters who are living a quite moderate life in Paris. While one of the sisters - Bizoute - now has found a husband and lives together with him, virginal Colombe and perky Hermine are still living in the same old flat the girls grew up in. Both are in love with married men - and Alice returns to a live full of meagre meals and wild turbulences..

~ this is how my 1962 German edition looks - don't you just love this, too? ~

For those who never read anything by Colette before: Please be aware that her style is something one has to get used to. She tends to throw her readers into her stories - and some of the information you have to find out on your own - she will give you hints but for sure not pamper you too much.. And she is for sure no romantic in a classic way - this is certainly no Jane Austen novel (of course I adore those, too..). No, Colette's characters are very "modern" when it comes to sex - they will have their affairs without being forced to marry afterwards and besides that at some points they are quite the cynics.. That is something which I enjoy - but not at all times to be true.. 

Anyway: These two novels a real fast reads. I especially loved LE TOUTOUNIER - maybe because of the involved persons and the setting: I am just more into the live of three not too young sisters who are living a bohemian life in Paris then in a married couple having some quarrels.. I am sure that is because I am not and never was married - and when it comes to long lasting relationships... Well.. I just know more about living a bohemian single girl's life.. 

How could I not identify with those girls when they're living mostly of coffee, cigarettes and wine? Well.. yes.. I skipped cigarettes three years ago when I started to live with my heart's delight: Lucy and Mina.. but still: before that my average breakfast was a big cup of coffee, half a grapefruit - and a cigarette.. Healthy, hm?

Oh and before I close this post I have to throw that in: I simply love those names like Bizoute and Colombe.. 

Thank you very much for reading!



(living much more healthier now)

Montag, 7. Mai 2012

It's Monday - what are you reading?

This is part of a meme hosted by Book Journey.

The last book I finished was:

DUO (1934) by Colette 

Currently I am reading...

...with my book club:

EMMA (1815) by Jane Austen

...solely for myself

by Cinzia Romani

...for myself (and partly my cats - because they enjoy when I read to them 
- and I enjoy having a purring audience..)

LE TOUTOUNIER (1939) by Colette 

It's the follow-up to DUO - I will do a double review on this two short novels.

Thank you all so very much for reading!

Have a lovely week!