"A half finished book is, after all, a half finished love affair"
                 - Robert Frobischer (Cloud Atlas)

Reading progress update: I've read 800 out of 858 pages.
Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry

This book...



Friday Reads - 23.02.2018

I have two whole days of reading ahead of me, so I thought I would join into the Friday Reads.


These are the books I´m currently reading and planning on finishing up over the weekend:


Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry  Expendable Man - Dorothy Hughes  The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) - Kelly Link,Angela Carter  4.50 from Paddington - Agatha Christie  


I have saved the last 123 pages of Lonesome Dove for this weekend. This book might leave me heartbroken and I have mentally prepared myself for it during the week. One thing I´m sure about though: I will be very sad leaving these characters and the world of Lonesome Dove behind.


The Expendable Man is another great Persephone book by an female author that hasn´t been on my radar so far. And it´s not going to be my last book by Dorothy B. Hughes, her writing is captivating. I´m fearing the worst for the main character and I´m curious about how this story is going to end, so I might finish this one up tonight.


I´m not sure if I´m going to finish up Angela Carters short story collection The Bloody Chamber, but I´m planning to read a few more of the stories at least. I think overall this collection is going to be a mixed bag for me.


4:50 from Paddington is my next poisonous Christie read (I want to read Katherine Harkup´s A for Arsenic, which means I have to read all the Christie books where someone gets murdered by poison). I´m one chapter into the story and I´m already in love with the main character Elsbeth McGillicuddy. If I ever have been envious of a name, it is that one.


And this is the book I pick up next, as soon as I have finished a few of my ongoing books:


Unterleuten: Roman - Juli Zeh     


Unterleuten is probably going to be the book I´m picking up next and I´m so excited to read this novel. Set in a small German village, animosities between the inhabitants arrise when a wind farm is about to be build in the vicinity of the village. I´m not reading many books by German authors, so I´m really looking forward to this one.


I´m wishing you a wonderful weekend with a lot of reading :)


3 Stars
The Courtship of Mr. Lyon (Story No. 2)
The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) - Kelly Link, Angela Carter

The Beauty and the Beast retold and this story was kind of boring. The story has been to rushed, with the hand licking on their very first day together, Beautys sudden departure and her change of heart and rushing back to the beast after she has forgotten all about him for a considerable amount of time. Truth to be told, Beauty isn´t a very likeable character in this story. 


The Beauty and the Beast isn´t my favorite fairy tale and Angela Carters short story hasn´t been able to change my mind about this fact.

5 Stars
The Bloody Chamber (Story No. 1)
The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) - Kelly Link, Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber is a retelling of the french folklore tale "Bluebeard". It´s dark and twisted and beautifully written, even though I felt slightly disturbed most of the time and some passages made me feel downright icky:


I saw him watching me in the gilded mirrors with the assessing eye of a connoisseur inspecting horseflesh, or even of a housewife in the market, inspecting cuts on the slab. I´d never seen, or else had never aknowledged, that regard of his before, the sheer carnal avarice of it; and it was strangely magnified by the monocle lodged in the left eye.


I don´t know what is worse, the monocle or having the feeling of being compared to horseflesh or a slab of meat. I bet by now she regrets having married him.


Overall a great short story.

Reading progress update: I've read 734 out of 858 pages.
Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry



Yeah, I´m a sobbing mess. Again.

Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 319 pages.
Three Act Tragedy - Agatha Christie

„You mean talking about her – and me? With that face? And at her age?”

“She´s probably under fifty.”

“I suppose she is,” Sir Charles considered the matter. “But seriously, Tollie, have you noticed her face? It´s got two eyes, a nose and a mouth, but it´s not what you would call a face – not a female face. The most scandal-loving old cat in the neighbourhood couldn´t seriously connect sexual passion with a face like that.”


What a charming guy :-/

3 Stars
The Hidden People
The Hidden People - Alison Littlewood

Albie Mirralls has meet his cousin Lizzie once in his life, a meeting which has left a lasting impression on Albie. Ten years later Albie learns about the violent death of Lizzie and his thoughts are set on one thing only: finding out what has happened to Lizzie. Leaving his wife behind, he sets out for the small Yorkshire town of Halfoak, a town riddled with superstitions.


I enjoyed reading this novel, but at the same time I feel like this could have been so much better. Which makes this a frustrating reading experience and a difficult book to give a star rating to.


What I liked: Alison Littlewood knows how to write a compelling story. Despite it being a slow and very descriptive read, I have never been bored by it and I really appreciated the research she has put into this novel. She has managed to capture the Victorian feeling perfectly.


The issues I had with this book:

  • On page 300 (out of 368) I still haven´t had a clue what the story is about. Does the plot revolve around the murder of Lizzie, the domestic problems of the main character or the myths surrounding the “hidden people”, the fairies? The author manages to wrap up all the plotlines in the end, but still I´m not a fan of feeling at a loss with regards to the story for almost 300 pages.
  • I didn´t like to read the Yorkshire accent: “So one of`em, an old `un, `air like a fox and twice as cunnin`, `e smiled at me. Smiled!” And since the story is taking place in a small town in Yorkshire, there is a LOT of talk such as this.
  • My biggest gripe, though, is the main character Albie. The story is told from his point of view, and he is as unreliable as an unreliable narrator gets. Claiming that his wife Helena is sweet-tempered and perfect, the reader gets to know her as bad-tempered and being constantly annoyed with her husband. And here is the thing: I can´t blame her. Being married to such an idiot as Albie, I would be bad-tempered as well. Helena, I feel you.




Another thing I don´t get about Albie is his infatuation with his cousin Lizzie. He has meet her exactly once and this meeting hasn´t struck me as a particularly memorable one. And yet he is completely infatuated with her and leaves his wife in pursuit of the memory of a woman he hasn´t known at all. Not being able to understand the motivations of the main character and he not being able to explain them himself properly, made this story a difficult one to get into and I felt detached from it the whole way through.


The Hidden People isn´t by any means a bad book, but it isn´t a novel I would recommend either. In the end I just feel meh about it, although I liked reading it.





Reading progress update: I've read 368 out of 368 pages.
The Hidden People - Alison Littlewood

Oh my, that main character:




I feel so conflicted about this book. I liked reading it, but at the same time I have so many issues with it.

4.5 Stars
Love Insurance
Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers

A couple of days ago I received Love Insurance in my Willoughby book club subscription box. I was instantly intrigued by this book: the cover, the blurb and the pitch that says “P.G. Wodehouse meets Oscar Wilde meets The Great Gatsby […]” screamed “READ ME, NOW!” at me, so I had to pick it up immediately. And I´m so glad that I did it.


Impoverished Lord Harrowby takes an insurance out against his bride to be, wealthy American socialite Cynthia Meyrick. Should she decide to cancel the wedding, Lord Harrowby is to become a wealthy man. Insurance employee Dick Minot gets send out to ensure that the wedding takes place … and stumbles into a whole lot of complications and weird situations.


I stand by my statement that this book feels like a screwball comedy. Just think of the movie Some Like It Hot and the feeling it gives you when you follow the characters of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, trying to maneuver through the mess that they have gotten in to. The moment you desperately wish that everything may turn out right, even though everything spirals out of control and it feels like there is no way out of it.


Reading Love Insurance invoked the same feelings in me and on top of it all it was an incredibly fun read. I caught myself chuckling at passages, a thing I hardly never do while reading a book. The people from the Willoughby book club certainly has send a gem to me with this book and since I enjoyed Earl Derr Biggers writing style, I´m planning to try out his Charlie Chan mystery books.


Highly recommended for everyone who seek a light, fun and charming read with a lot of crazy situations.

Reading progress update: I've read 167 out of 240 pages.
Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers

Remember how I told you that this novel is utterly predictable. Well, in regards to the lovestory (which has a ring of instalove to it) this is true. It has to end in a happy ever after. It simply has to.


The rest of the plot, though, is insane. Obstacles, which keep the marriage between Cynthia and Lord Harrowby from happening, appear left and right and poor Dick Minot has to solve said problems. This is truly a screwball comedy in book form and I have no idea how Minot is getting himself out of this mess. 

Reading progress update: I've read 46 out of 240 pages.
Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers

"Has your engagement ever been announced, Mr. Minot?"

"Why - er - not to my knowledge," Minot laughed. "Why?"

"I was just wondering - if it made everybody feel queer. The way it makes me feel. Ever since one o´clock - I ought never to say it - I´ve felt as though everything was over. I´ve seemed old! Old!" She clenched her fist, and spoke almost in terror. "I don´t want to grow old. I´d hate it."

"It was here," said Minot softly, "Ponce de Leon sought the fountain of youth. When you came up I was pretending the one splashing was that very fountain itself - "

"If it only were," the girl cried. "Oh - you could never drag me away from it. But it isn´t. It´s supplied by the San Marco Water Works, and there´s a meter ticking somewhere, I´m sure. [...]"


I´m really loving this novel so far. The plot is as predictable as it can get, but the tone, the characters and the setting are utterly delightful. It reminds me of one of these old screwball comedies.


"Young fellow," Mr. Trimmer´s tone was excultant, "I can´t keep in any longer. I got a proposition in tow so big it´s bursting my brain cells - and it takes some strain to do that. No, I can´t tell you the exact nature of it - but I will say this - tomorrow night this time I´ll throw a bomb in this hotel so loud it´ll be heard round the world."

"An anarchist?"

"Not on your life. Advertiser. And I´ve got something to advice this hot February, take it from me. [...]"







Reading progress update: I've read 21 out of 240 pages.
Love Insurance - Earl Derr Biggers

At five-thirty, a spy for the first time in his eventful young life, he stood opposite the main entrance of the Plaza. Nearby ticked a taxi, engaged for the evening.

An hour passed. Lights, laughter, limousines, the cold moon adding its brilliance to that already brilliant square, the winter wind sighing through the bare trees of the park - New York seemed a city of dreams. Suddenly the chaffeur of Minot´s taxi stood uneasily before him.

"Say, you ain´t going to shoot anybody, are you?" he asked.

"Oh. no - you needn´t be afraid of that."

"I ain´t afraid. I just thought I´d take off my license number if you was."

Ah, yes - New York! City of beautiful dreams!


This book is off to a very good start :D. 

Reading progress update: I've read 7 out of 286 pages.
The Code of the Woosters  - P.G. Wodehouse

Meet Bertie Wooster, who had a faithful encounter with a certain liquid the night before:




Thank good there is Jeeves, who apparently has the best hangover cure:

He returned with the tissue-restorer. I loosed it down the hatch, and after undergoing the passing discomfort, unavoidable when you drink Jeeve´s patent morning revivers, of having the top of the skull fly up to the ceiling and the eyes shot out of their sockets and rebound from the opposite wall like racquet balls, felt better. It would have been overstating it to say that even now Bertram was back again in mid-season form, but I had at least slid into the convalescent class and was equal to a spot of conversation.


I guess Bertie gets drunk occasionally and he is very familiar with the effect of Jeeves´ hangover cure (I venture another guess that his is some kind of running gag in these books).


But what I really do want to know now is the secret recipe of Jeeves´ drink.

Reading progress update: I've read 98 out of 377 pages.
Death Wears a Mask (The Amory Ames Mysteries) - Ashley Weaver

The insecurities of the main character are a bit annoying. I thought it was settled at the end of the last book that her husband is deeply and madly in love with her. Apparently I was wrong about her being aware of that. 

4.5 Stars
Crooked House
Crooked House - Agatha Christie

After having been abroad Charles Hayward only wants to meet his fiancé Sophia Leonides again. The Leonides family seems to be a happy family, living under the same roof. But suspicions within the family arise, when Aristide, Sophia´s grandfather and head of the family, passes away by unnatural means. Charles sets out to solve the mystery behind this mysterious death.


After having read this mystery I feel myself slightly crooked. This family, these characters, the reveal of the murderer … Agatha Christie did it again. She completely fooled me. I did suspect someone, but of course, my guess has been wrong. I love when this happens.


Crookes House is a great mystery and I want to reread this book in the future. I can´t shake the feeling that Agatha Christie hints numerous times at the identity of the murderer and that I simply have been too oblivious to notice these hints. She is magnificient at creating shady characters and throw suspicions on every single one of them, so I guess I had to much on my mind to see what´s been going on right before my eyes.


I have to say, though, that the character of Charles Hayward was a bit to gullible for my taste and his sleuthing talents lack considerably. But oher than that, this has been an excellent read.

Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 302 pages.
Crooked House - Agatha Christie

As of now I´m suspecting someone. Charles´ father is of the opinion that the murderer has to be both ruthless and unscrupulous and this descriptions fits one person perfectly well:


Sophia. She is such a cold fish.

(show spoiler)


I´m probably not right, but I´m venturing a guess anyhow. It´s half the fun of reading a Christie mystery. 

currently reading

Progress: 103/368pages