Friday, August 22, 2008

Books 60 - 61

Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (Audio)
Read excellently by several people whose names I don't remember!
Genre: Fiction

Four strangers find themselves on the top of a building that's a popular "jumping off spot" for people hoping to kill themselves. As they look around and see that there are others who feel just as helpless as they do, they form an unlikely support group and gradually come to feel better about their respective situations.

I found that I liked some of the characters much more than others. My favorite was Maureen who was a single mother of an adult child with such severe disabilities that there was no evidence that he knew what was going on around him. Maureen had not had a vacation in the 19 years since her son was born and became so overwhelmed with her day to day caregiving responsibilities that she ended up on top of the roof with the other characters.

The other characters were mostly whiners.

There was lots of gratuitous bad language. I was interested enough in the story to finish it, but I didn't like it so much that I will seek out more books by this author.

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: Mystery

This is the first book in Smith's Isabel Dalhousie mystery series. It is set in Scotland (the author's home country), but the setting isn't important to the story. (This surprised me because of how much the setting plays a role in some of the author's other stories.)

It does have its mildly humorous moments, but it was not a very exciting story.

When I pick up a mystery, I expect to develop some kind of burning desire to figure out "whodunnit". In this case, I just didn't form any kind of attachment to the characters and I didn't care very much how the mystery would play out. Hardly anything happened in the story. The main character is an editor or writer (I forget which!) for a morality and ethics publication and the book is peppered with conjectures about the moral way to behave in various situations. The story is really more about that than it is a mystery.

In one chapter near the end, something exciting finally does happen. I actually thought, "Ooh, finally something is happening!" but then it was over almost as quickly as it appeared. Anti-climactic.

I must be one of the few people who hasn't fallen in love with this author's widely popular No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but at least the writing in The Sunday Philosophy Club is less stilted than that series.


1 comment:

DebD said...

I liked McCall-Smith's Ladies #1 Detective Agency books (at least I enjoyed the first 3-4) and tried to read Sunday Philosophy Club but ended up sending it back to the library unfinished. I didn't like any of the characters and it was boring.