Monday, 28 April 2008

Recent reading

Breath of Corruption by Caro Fraser. An amusing pacy read, well-written, giving interesting insights into the legal world and the lives and loves of her sophisticated characters. Shall now try some more novels by this author.

Two Lipsticks and a Lover by Helena Frith Powell. Non-fiction. ‘A witty investigation into the style, lusts and secrets of French women.’ We’re always fascinated by the French and this book is great fun on the subject. Of course, I don’t agree with absolutely every word she says. For instance, I’ve seen many more face-lifts in Paris than in London, but then my social life is mostly rural these days. The Hampshire ladies don’t do Botox, as far as I can tell.

The Last Empress by Anchee Min. Maybe it is a failure on my part, but I found myself skipping half-heartedly through this novel and began to cease to care who had beheaded which eunuch on whose orders. Here’s the blurb ‘In this sequel to Empress Orchid Anchee Min offers a powerful revisionist portrait based on extensive research of one of the most important figures in Chinese history. The Last Empress is the story of Orchid's dramatic transition from a strong-willed, young woman to a wise and politically savvy leader.’ But I gather that Orchid/Tzu Hsi (1835-1908) was seen at the time as anti-Western and destructive, unwise rather than savvy, and set on preserving the old customs of the Forbidden City. 'How very different from the homelife of our own dear Queen', as Victorians would say.
I’ve read lots of fascinating books set in China but, for me, this wasn’t one of them. For a quick Western view see

Losing You by Nicci French. About a missing teenage daughter, set in East Anglia. Usual gripping, nail-biting stuff. I don't often read crime but if I do it's usually Nicci French.

I'm also perusing Neris & India again in the hope that merely reading a diet book will help me shed pounds. I often buy cleaning products in the hope that the house will clean itself or gardening books for similar reasons.


sablonneuse said...

Hi Susie. Your book looks most interesting. I've added it to my wishlist for when the pound/euro exchange rate improves.

monix said...

I have shelves of diet books and cleaning products for exactly the same purpose!

I'm really enjoying your blog and look forward to adding your books to my summer reading list.