Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Arrivals, Blind Assassins & Big Weekenders

A slightly late blog today but I have been work, work, working and on deadline weeks blogging, though delightful, is slightly harder to fit into my day I am here now though. Highlight of a hard day today has been two parcels, one from the delightful people at Transworld/Doubleday which I might have known was coming and one from the lovely people at Sceptre which was a complete suprise. You can see them on my coffee/fishbowl table here...

Their Finest Hour and a Half - Lissa Evans
I am really excited about this one, partly because its in the Orange Longlist and I really wanted to do the whole lot but just to get one is a delight. The other reason is because its sounds quite different. "It is 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The war could go either way and everyone must do their bit. Young copy writer Catrin Cole is drafted into the Ministry of Information to help 'write women' in propaganda films - something that the men aren't very good at. She is quickly seconded to the Ministry's latest endeavour: a heart-warming tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. It's all completely fabricated, of course, but what does that matter when the nation's morale is at stake? Since call-up has stripped the industry of its brightest and best, it is the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who must make up the numbers: Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film-star of 1924; Edith Beadmore, Madame Tussauds wardrobe assistant turned costumier; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager has not really prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor. And in a serious world, in a nation under siege, they must all swallow their mutual distaste, ill-will and mistrust and unite for the common good, for King and Country, and - in one case - for better or worse..."

The Solitude of Prime Numbers - Paolo Giordano
This young man (26 years old) has had a huge hit with this already in 34 countries and won awards that authors such as Umberto Eco has won, stand him in good stead. "He had learned his lesson. Choices are made in a few seconds and paid for in the time that remains. A prime number is inherently a solitary thing: it can only be divided by itself, or by one; it never truly fits with another. Alice and Mattia also move on their own axes, alone with their personal tragedies. As a child Alice's overbearing father drove her first to a terrible skiing accident, and then to anorexia. When she meets Mattia she recognises a kindred spirit, and Mattia reveals to Alice his terrible secret: that as a boy he abandoned his mentally-disabled twin sister in a park to go to a party, and when he returned, she was nowhere to be found. These two irreversible episodes mark Alice and Mattia's lives for ever, and as they grow into adulthood their destinies seem irrevocably intertwined. But then a chance sighting of a woman who could be Mattia's sister forces a lifetime of secret emotion to the surface. A meditation on loneliness and love, "The Solitude of Prime Numbers" asks, can we ever truly be whole when we're in love with another?"


Sunnyside - Glen David Gold
I knew nothing of this book until it arrived but it sounds very interesting and unusual. "From the author of the acclaimed Carter Beats The Devil comes a grand entertainment with the brilliantly realized figure of Charlie Chaplin at its centre: a novel at once cinematic and intimate, thrilling and darkly comic, which dramatizes the moment when American capitalism, a world at war, and the emerging mecca of Hollywood intersect to spawn an enduring culture of celebrity. SUNNYSIDE follows three overlapping fortunes: Leland Wheeler, son of the last (and worst) Wild West star, as he heads to the battlefields of France; snobbish Hugo Black, drafted to fight in Russia under the British general, Edmund Ironside; and Chaplin himself, contending with studio moguls, accusations of cowardice, his unchecked heart and, most menacing of all, his mother, as he pursues the goal of making a movie 'as good as he was'. With a cast of enthralling characters both historical and fictional, Sunnyside is a heart-rending, spellbinding novel about dreams, ambition and the dawn of the modern age."

The latter two arent out until June, so do you think its ok to leave reviews and reading until nearer the time of release? Hmmm, a puzzle and a conundrum I hadn't thought of before.

So The Blind Assassin... no review just yet its more likely to be tomorrow that I have it up and online. I have still got about 190 pages to go but am giving myself the night off to devour the final pages. So far I am really enjoying it, I can see why other people might not though. It's definatley a book to take your time with and though the print is quite big its misleading! So the first Big Weekender Review is running a little bit behind now... whoops!

Speaking of the Big Weekender am swapping some of the dates of the books. I am going to do Midnights Children on the May Bank Holiday instead as it sounds like its needs some extra time and patience. I think aswell I might start the books on a friday night! Oh and I also decided on the 4th book after all your thoughts so now the list looks like this...

Memoirs of a Midget – Walter De La Mare (Weekend of 18th April)
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco (Weekend of 25th April)
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (Weekend of 2nd May)
Sea Of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh (Weekend of 9th May)

So thats all the latest. Oh actually not quite, I need your advice, Savidge Reads Towers appears to have mice (its a Victorian house in London enough said) how can we humanely get rid of them, and most importantly... they don't eat books do they?

7 comments:

Cornflower said...

We had a mouse (namedd Francis by child no. 3, for some reason) so we got a couple of humane traps from the ironmongers and baited them with peanut butter. Francis obviously wasn't a fan of the Sunpat Smooth as he vanished as suddenly as he'd appeared, and there's been no sign of him since!

Kim said...

Their Finest Hour and a Half seems like it might be interesting to read, looking forward to your comments.

Mice! We had a similar experience to Cornflower. One came to live with us when I was little and my mother named it Elvis (it was a while ago!!) It came out every night for months and sat on the hearth until one day it didn't arrive - my mother was inconsolable for some time.
You can get catch and release traps for mice which catches them without hurting them then holds them in a box until you are ready to release them. You never know though, you may end up with a new pet!

farmlanebooks said...

I'll join you for Midnights Children and sea of Poppies.

I've had a few mice problems. You need to find out where they are getting in, and fill the hole up. Then catch the ones that are left - you can buy little plastic humane traps quite easily, then release them a long way away - ove the other side of a river.

As a teenager I used to experiment with the mice I caught in my parents garage. I painted their tails before release, and they still used to return even when placed 2+ miles away. The ones released on the other side of a river never returned. I hope you sort it out!

Jo said...

I think Sunnyside sounds like an interesting book.

I'll do Midnights children and Sea of Poppies aswell. That gives me two and a half weeks to psyche myself up for Midnights children. I might do The Name of the Rose aswell, but it would be a re-read so I'll see how I feel. It is an amazing book though.

booklineandsinker said...

i haven't read any of the books you featured...i'll wait to see how you like them. :)

as for mice...um, how about a 'have a heart' trap. it's a humane trap and you can go set the little mice free in a park or something. and i don't think they eat books, especially if you have some tasty food in your cabinets!

Karen said...

I've heard great things about Their Finest Hour and a Half - looking forward to hearing what you think.

Savidge Reads said...

Cornflower - I have been advised not to name them as then you get attached! So am trying not to, have seen one of them though - the grey one, the Non Reader saw the brown one, apparently its the black ones that are the fastest breeders - the things you learn.

Kim - I will be cracking on with Their Finest Hour next week so will keep you posted.

Jackie - I wonder if I take them on the tube to the north side of the Thames that would do it hahaha? So pleased your joining in for Midnights Children and Seaof Poppies!

Jo - You too with those two, its like a more regular little book group how exciting!

Booklineandsinker - Hello! Thanks for your thoughts, I would only catch them humanely I just cant kill any animals... well some insects I could. They havent started on books they seem to like Ryvita at the mo, however everything is in cupboards after a huge clean this morning!

Karen - thank you, I need to get my mitts on quite a few of the ones you have read as from your reviews they sound corkers. I will blame you when I go shopping this weekend.