Welcome back to A Book and a Beverage everyone! Because I think that settling down with a good book and a good beverage, I wanted to open this monthly post up to other bloggers and guests to sharing what they are reading and sipping at the moment. This month I am joined by Orla of fancypaper, one of my favourite bloggers- she will make you feel like you are sitting with her, enjoying a cuppa and relaxing for an afternoon when you read her blog. (I’ll wait while you go and catch up…) She is sharing her book and beverage choices with us today, so let’s dig in!
A book and a beverage. Books are my friends. They can heal me, give me joy, make me see the world in a new light. Like friends, they can get under my skin. Annoy me. Worry me. Stay with me a long time after they have been passed on, shelved or returned. Make me see truths. Some books are loyal friends, loved since childhood. Others were made through college or introduced to me through others. Some I found myself, sitting pretty and shiny in a lovely new bookstore. More were saved from the dusty corners of the ‘once loved’ second hand shop much like the dog no one wanted. However I came by them, they are my eclectic comfort blanket who see me without make up, show, pretence, being carefree and at ease. Loving Jessica’s idea of A Book and a Beverage series, I was very happy when she offered her series to outside participants and even more delighted the historian about town accepted Fancy to give her two cents reading and supping. My book: I read in twos. Like Katie Price with husbands, I always have one in mind for the next occasion when my book affair is ending (Do you think that is the first time Jordan was ever referenced in a literary post?). Jessica says two recommendations are fine so here we go…
Lie to Me by Sabine Durrant A reading buddy gave this to me and I am glad she did. It is engaging from the start but you have to get past a huge obstacle- it is impossible to like the narrator. In fact it is truly difficult to like any character. Only excellent characterisation and a concrete strength plot will get you over this hurdle. For me however, it did. This is a take on a modern Agatha Christie –yes, yes, I hear you say, but we like even love Miss Marple AND Poirot, but you have to realise! This is Christie without the leadership of a detective as protagonist. No one to like, you see. Just a bunch of potential nasties in a clever whodunit.
The lifestyle of key characters in this book is essentially indulgent and occasionally immoral. This is where the book takes on reminders of Gatsby. I am sure it is no coincidence that less than obscure allusions are made to the Fitzgerald text in the novel as to Agatha Christie’s own work. I enjoyed seeing a character in my mind’s eye flick through a classic murder mystery or society critique whilst I read about them in similar genres. Intertextualisation …I think! Essentially, this is a great read; a mystery with a twist and a slow burning tension that lie following lie must bring until of course, the liars are exposed. I recommend this to lovers of Christie or people who don’t mind a book which requires little or no empathy for the characters.
French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain. I love Antoine Laurain. I cannot believe I got to thirty eight years of age before I discovered his work but the delay boasts benefits. I get to catch up on previous writings! Oh joy. Having adored The Red Notebook, enjoyed largely The President’s Hat, I am now hooked by the concept of a delayed letter with a potentially life changing message which took ‘thirty three years to travel across three arrondissements of the capital’ finally arriving to its recipient. Thirty three years until Alain Massoulier belatedly realises that once upon a time, his dreams of a rock and roll happy ever after could have come true. I am currently in this text so cannot commit more only to say that I have confidence that Laurain will take such a melancholy thought as broken hopes and bring it to an optimistic light. And who doesn’t benefit from light though literature upon occasion?
Do I recommend Laurain? If you love life, yes. If you enjoy a quirky take on the world, yes. Finally, if you adore a Parisian setting, definitely. Laurain makes me wish for croissant crumbed mornings in French cafes with a side of decadence and the scent of petrichor.
Beverage: For Lie To Me I will have palate cleansing sparking water. I love Flying Tiger for unusual money wasters but feel guiltless in buying my water there for a very good price of fifty cent. Feeling slightly repulsed by the ‘wine and beer all day long’ life of the texts’ main players, I can sit on my judgemental high horse reading this book sipping on carbonated h20. For French Rhapsody, it is imperative I have coffee. Strong, honest, true coffee. Roasted beans wafting me to unpredictable, eccentric Paris on a wave of wanting.
I have The Red Notebook waiting for me on my to-read shelf (for a year or so now….), so I think this will be bumped up my list!! And I always enjoy a good mystery, especially one in the vein of Christie. I also love that her beverage relates to her book, which has given me a few ideas for my April post.
What are you reading right now?