Friday, June 30, 2006

Shopaholic & Sister by Sophie Kinsella

I picked this book up off the kitchen counter at a friend's house and next thing I knew, I was sucked into this hilarious example of British chick lit at its best. I generally like to read a series in order, but in this case I'm glad I didn't let that stop me from reading.

Our heroine, Becky Bloomwood, has a bit of an impulse control problem when it comes to shopping. She just can't resist the latest shoes, makeup, gourmet food, clothing, handbags or jewelry, among other things. With her trendy London loft apartment filling up with useless junk collected on her honeymoon, her credit cards maxed out and her career as a personal shopper in limbo, Becky is not ready for the big shock in her life - she has a long-lost half sister, Jess, the product of an affair her father had prior to marrying Becky's mother. Meanwhile, Becky's best friend, now a mother of three, seems to have ditched her for a snotty fellow mum called Lulu, and Becky's husband Luke shows his increasing exasperation for her spendthrift ways as pressures mount in his PR company.

Seeing the appearance of a sister as her best chance for intimate companionship, Becky throws herself into being the greatest sister that Jess could ever wish for. Somewhat predictably, Jess turns out to be Becky's polar opposite, but Kinsella's "odd couple" play off one another to make for a truly funny novel. Becky remains completely clueless about her shortcomings while the reader sees the "saner" characters' reactions to her behaviour through Becky's remarkably clear-sighted observations.

I am now eager to read other books by Sophie Kinsella, which seem to be just the right level of fluff for my currently addled brain.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

still here, honestly

I have not forgotten about this blog, I'm just suffering from a prolonged bout of low mental capacity that seems to be making it impossible for me to do much more than sit in front of the television. Also known as the FIFA World Cup.

Well, I can't really blame the World Cup for my lack of reading. If I can gobble up 2-3 books a week even when I'm studying for final exams, I can certainly read in between 2 or 3 soccer games a day. I'm not really sure what the problem is. I've got some great books in my stack here, and absolutely no interest in picking them up. Let's hope this turns around soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy some of the links in the sidebar.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

I hoped that reading some light young adult fantasy would help to get me reading again, so I picked up this sequel to Artemis Fowl. In this story, Artemis learns that his father, long missing and presumed dead, has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya and sets out to rescue him. He is helped by his bodyguard Butler, and Julius Root and Holly Short, the two "LEPRecon" agents he met in the first book. Along the way they help to foil an attempt to take over the entire underground fairy kingdom.

I think Colfer could have done a lot more with this story; on the whole, though it was a cute book, it didn't grab me. The premise isn't quite clever enough to match its predecessor, the characters feel recycled, and poor Artemis himself - the curiously likeable, highly intelligent and immoral teenager we know and love - becomes a wimpy, boring background character while various elves, goblins and nefarious humans in the book vie for "page time". I'm disappointed, but I know that sequels and second novels are not always an easy thing to pull off so I might give this series another chance.