I am quite glad that I only set my goodreads goal to 52 books this year. It has allowed me to read at a slower pace; if I am not sure what I want to read, I can take a day or two to decide. If I don’t feel like reading because I want to blog or do yoga or watch a movie, I don’t feel guilty! As such, I only have three books to post about today, and I enjoyed taking my time with each one of them.
Emma– Alexander McCall Smith
This is the third book in the Austen Project series, where poular authors retold Austen’s works in a modern setting. This is the first that I had read (Sense and Sensibility will be up next!), and it was not bad. A lot of reviews seemed to criticise the book for a lack of weight or meaning behind it, but I never found the original particularly weighty. It is a light, fun book that focuses on the social trails and tribulations of the precocious Emma, and I found that McCall Smith’s did the same! Some of the plot was excised, but I didn’t find that it greatly affected the story- a few less mishaps does not make the story less entertaining. The only issue I had with this book is that the beginning focuses on Mr. Woodhouse far too much for my liking. Still, I would give this 3.5/5!
Mademoiselle took me nearly a month to read, but I think that it was worth it. One of my best friends loves all of the French fashion houses, while I personally stick with the English (and occasionally American). She inspired me to read about French fashion, and while my first choice was Givenchy, there is surprising little written about that house. I turned to Chanel next, and finally decided on Mademoiselle. This is a well-written biography, and Garelick does superbly in providing the historical context for Chanel’s life. Chanel is a fascinating figure, although morally problematic (for me, at least). It’s always concerning to know that someone was pro-Nazi and hung out with high-ranking party members on a regular basis, but I suppose that’s the reality. The biography that Chanel herself presented is a complex set of lies, woven together from countless people’s lives. Garelick picks these lies apart and traces their origin- no easy feat. The bibliography is detailed and bursting, so if anyone wanted to dig further, you would have what you need! Ultimately, I would give this a 4/5- it was fantastic aside from dragging slightly here and there!
I grabbed this for $5 at the Chapters bargain section, and while I don’t regret it, I probably wouldn’t purchase it again. I wasn’t paying attention when I picked it up, but I didn’t realise that it was a modern retelling of Cinderella specifically (not one of my favourite fairy tales). Charlie is a loveable protagonist, and her step-sisters and step-mother are expectedly awful. I would have loved to read far more about Charlie taking over the family designer shoe business than her romantic interlude with the guy that you know she won’t end up with. It also ended quite abruptly, and everything tied up neatly (which it shouldn’t have given everything going on). I’m only giving this 3/5, and that is fairly generous.
Summer is a fairly meaty piece of chick-lit, and I enjoyed it! It begins with Shayla in New York whose life is falling apart after she loses her job, and becomes Sheila working at Castle Stone on the west coast of Ireland. After losing her job as an editor’s assistant while trying to get her own work published (under her name), Shayla goes to Ireland in order to convince a chef to let her write his cookbook. He doesn’t make the connection between the girl on the phone and the girl working in the kitchen, and voila! Hijinks and romance ensue. I loved the depth and detail given to the supporting characters, it really rounded out the story. I found the people in New York irritating but they disappear pretty quickly. The only criticism I have is that I would have liked more detail in the setting (both the estate and town)- while the characters were fully formed, the background seemed a little hazy. This gets 4.5/5 stars!
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?