Thursday, 18 September 2014

I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella

I wanted a change of pace after reading A Clash of Kings, and thinking about the unread books on my shelves I knew where to get it.  My sister had lent me a Sophie Kinsella book quite some time ago, but I'd never quite found the right mood to read it in.  Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and hope the mood finds you.

I've Got Your Number is a standalone Sophie Kinsella book about a woman called Poppy.  As we meet her, she isn't having the best of days.  She's lost her very expensive engagement ring and then has her phone stolen.  In a moment of desperation she picks up a phone that's been left in a bin.  And so, in true chick lit style, her whole life changes.

This book did me the power of good.  True escapism, and I genuinely found myself laughing out loud.  I've struggled to get into some Sophie Kinsella books in the past (although I tend to be hooked before the end) as they can be quite cringeworthy.  Thankfully the truly cringeworthy moments don't happen until several chapters in, by which point you're already invested and so it's easier to cope with.

The nice thing with reading this sort of book is that you essentially know how it's going to end, you just don't know how it's going to get there.  So, for example, you don't start every chapter dreading that your favourite character is about to be killed off (unlike other books I could mention).  The first-person writing makes it particularly easy to be absorbed into Poppy's world and follow the ups and downs1.

The concept of completely sharing part of your life with someone you don't know is such a simple but effective idea.  And it's used really well in this book.  Somehow it's easier to text a stranger about your worries than to tell your friends - something that a quick read of Twitter will confirm only too well!

Overall I would heartily recommend this book to anyone who's been taking things a bit too seriously lately and just needs to take a break.  Or anyone who just wants to have a good laugh.  Classifying this as chick lit might conjure up the image of trash, but, just like rom coms, not all books are created equal.  Although, if you only like books about war and killing then perhaps this isn't for you.  Maybe my next book will be?

1 And the footnotes help too.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin

When you are dragged into the world of a book, you want to keep reading it no matter what.  And sometimes you'll only stop when you actually fall asleep, which means doing a lot of reading when you're tired.  Some books shouldn't be read when you're too tired, particularly those that are difficult enough to keep track of when wide awake.  Re-enter A Song of Ice and Fire...

A Clash of Kings is the second installment in the now-very-famous fantasy series by George RR Martin.  As you'd therefore expect, it continues storylines set out in A Game of Thrones, as well as introducing more characters and threads into the mix.  Because clearly there weren't enough already.  This is a kingdom at war (or should that be kingdoms?) with more sides and 'rightful' rulers than you can shake a stick at.  Or keep track of.

It has to be said that my reading of this book was quite on and off.  The timing coincided with the end of my maternity leave, and lots of visitors as I returned to work.  And when you try to dip in and out of a book that needs commitment you stop enjoying it.  But once I gave it another chance, after a short break, I re-found my enthusiasm and hit the magic point of no return that makes being immersed in a book so much fun.

Seriously though, do not read this book while over-tired.  I was pretty much falling asleep for a couple of chapters and woke up the next day unable to remember what had happened, other than a vague recollection of some ships.  Thankfully I flicked back through before continuing, as I'd half-read a hugely important battle.  Even now I may need to re-read parts before continuing with the next book.

The characters are the sort that you appreciate rather than love.  The realities that they live in would make being too friendly rather impractical.  But you do start to overlook aggressive habits, to become rather fond of people that will happily kill others.  Not too fond though.  You never know who will be next on the chopping block.

As any book in a series should do, the acceleration at the end leaves you wanting to read on.  And read on I shall.  I just hope that I can get the balance right so that it's not another 3 months before I finish my next book.