Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 2012 Books and Movies

The Other Side of the Bridge
Mary Lawson

Another Mary Lawson book read inside a week. This time, it's set in Struan, the fictional town nearest to Crow Lake. The story oscillates between the late 1930s until after WWII and the late 1950's early 1960s. There is a familiar character, Dr. Christopherson, but he is the second of three Drs (grandfather, father, son) to carry that name, so you don't really know which one is which. There is a hint, when Lawson describes the Irish setter named Molly, who Kate was comforted by in Crow Lake, but then there's talk of getting the same breed of dog and naming her Molly. Even though it's not expressly said, I get the feeling that the third Dr. Christopherson is the one in Crow Lake, and Kate leaves the North for Toronto sometime in the 70s. That would fit with the authors timeline as well, and she definitely writes what she knows. The twist at the end is well hidden and the book just flows. A must read, especially if you've already read Crow Lake.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I knew from the trailer that I was going to love this. A bunch of retirees go to an Indian retirement complex, read dilapidated old hotel, to live out their golden years. Add Maggie Smith, Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, and the guy from Slum Dog Millionaire, Dev Patel along with many others and you have one stellar cast. The cinematography was spectacular, making me want to go to India even more than I already do. An absolute charming must see.

A Touch of Pink

Given the premiss, a gay Torontonian (living with his partner in London), gets a surprise visit from his unaware, very religious Muslim mother, I thought I would like this much more. It was a joint effort between Canada and the UK, but they seemed to get it all wrong. All the British characters were played by Canadians, but the actor who played, Alim, the Canadian living in London, is British. Pretty backwards and wreaked havoc on the accents. There were some great comedic moments, and Aunty Dolly, played by Veena Sood was just hilarious. So so.

Crow Lake
Mary Lawson

This was so good that I read it in 3 days. This is unheard of for me, considering all the stuff I have going on, plus a full time job. I'm having a hard time putting it into words. All the emotions, real or imagined leap off the page and sock you right in the stomach. Kate, the character who provides the first person narrative, is not very likeable. You come away with the impression that she has been irreparably damaged by each turn of event. I liked that it was set in fictional northern Ontario farming community, but named an actual town (New Liskeard, which apparently has now been amalgamated with 2 other townships to form the city of Temiskaming Shores) so you get a sense of the local geography. This book is beautifully written, and even though it's somewhat easy to figure out what happens next, you'll be so engrossed, you won't care.

Saved By Cake
Marian Keyes

I was a mite disappointed that this was a straight up recipe book, but only in as much as I miss Marian Keyes' books so much, not that I don't wish her the very best on her journey to get well. The recipes look gorgeous, and I'm very glad that she has found something that helps so much. The intro was very well written, and it made me pine for more. Even better than some of the short stories I've read in multi author compilations! An introduction or a short story is much less demanding than a novel and I (along with her legions of fans) hope that she will one day return to the novel. And if she never does, we have had a great time reading her work. Good luck Marian!

The Whole World Over
Julia Glass

Another brilliant book by Julia Glass. I loved Three Junes to bits, and have always loved when authors write character crossovers. Fenno is one of the best characters in Three Junes, and he was seamlessly, but never intrusively woven into the fabric of The Whole World Over. The new characters were just as finely drawn, and the story was deliciously twisty. I couldn't guess what was going to happen next and I liked it. I really can't wait to read more from her, and have just now put her other two books on hold at the library. :)

Bite Me
Christopher Moore

This is the third instalment his vampire series that started with Bloodsucking Fiends and continued with You Suck. These have not been my favorite Moore books by a long shot, although I did appreciate the crossover in the first book with the character Asher from A Dirty Job, my first Christopher Moore novel and a book I really did like. It had been so long since I'd read the other two, I'd forgotten who Abby Normal even was. At first, I really didn't like it. I was put off by the valley girl speech and Abby's general annoying-ness, not to mention the character of Jody, whom I never liked at all. But after a while, when old friends such as the Emperor, the Animals and the cops Rivera and Cavuto re-appeared, and the story picked up, it got better. From research on Wikipedia, I just realized that Kona is from Fluke and the whale had Bite Me written on its tail. Not my favorite, and he completely sets the story up for yet another vampire book, but funny enough to make the read worthwhile. (I just went back and read my review of You Suck, number 2 in this series, and saw that I had posted that I would have liked to have seen a book that centred around Abby Normal. Really, I'm sorry I asked... :) )