Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Tale From This City

More Tales of the City by Amistead Maupin is one of those books that feel like I have already read, and loved. There was a TV series made a few years ago based on the first couple of books in the series, which I loved, so I just assumed that I also loved the books, even though I never actually got around to (ahem) reading any of them.

I did finally read a volume, and it was odd - I found it hilarious and witty and sharp, but kept forgetting that I was enjoying it when I wasn't actually in the act of reading it. Finding out that it was originally a newspaper serial subsequently made into a series of books helped this to make sense. And the idea of different writing styles for different formats was really illuminated for me. It doesn't make a bad book, but I can see that it would be far more memorable as something read in snippets, with forced waiting for each installment.

I feel like I have probably read enough for now, although if I were stuck in a holiday house somewhere with rain pissing down outside and nothing else to do, I would be very excited to find one of these books on the shelf to read. Or if I were stuck in bed with a cold.

Oddly, it isn't merely funny fluff, but it is written in such a way that it feels as though it is. There is really great stuff about relationships, gay rights, city life and human emotions and I suppose that is what makes it such an engaging read - the possibilities for connection with the reader are great, yet it is also possible to just have a little giggle and forget about it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Irma Voth

It's funny - I really enjoyed reading this book, but now that I come t write about why, I'm not sure what to say. Although I love how the character's name sounds both strong and soft at the same time... I suppose it created an atmosphere that as compelling. And the first person narrative made me want to know more and more and more about Irma. She was intriguing andlikable.

At the outset I thought it'd be intense and gloomy (probably partially prompted by the cover image that looked like a new edition of The 19th Wife). I thought I'd need some kind of sponge-cake read to follow it with but it turned out to be a nice balance; intense, gloomy, quirky, fierce and beautiful.



See what I mean about the cover? I guess a book about present-day Christian-esque cults in America says "black clothes, long hair and DON'T SHOW THE FACE" to the cover designers of this world.