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Yes, it was very good (and not bad for a drunken late night purchase whilst waiting for a train in London).

 

Never read any Hemingway before, I like his writing style and will have to look out some more at some point.

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Sneaked in a quick Hemingway . . .

 

And a quick Dicks . . .

 

That doesn't sound good . . .

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I've made an unplanned foray into chick-lit. 

 

As I've said previously in other threads, I quite like Mike Gayle's novels and although I feel they've veered away from writing about life from the male perspective over the years I've stuck with them because they are generally easy, enjoyable reads.  Along the way I've also read a few Nick Hornby books and towards the end of last year I also read Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace; all of which have been similar in tone and content. 

 

Anyway, a few weeks back I was checking out when Gayle's latest novel is out in paperback and Amazon threw up some books by Matt Dunn.  I have heard of him in the past and a quick look at one of his titles suggested it could be in a similar vein, so I ordered a copy of A Day at the Office.  I'm nearing the end of the book now and I would definitely categorise this as being chick-lit.  It's a bit of an odd read because there is very little substance here, it is all "does he/she or doesn't he/she like me?"  with very little story to hold it all together or back plot to flesh out the characters.  In part, that can be blamed on the premise (as the title suggests everything in the book happens over the course of one day) but I'm wondering if this is the norm for this type of story; heavily playing the will they/won't they aspect at the expense of any real sense of involvement with the characters.

 

I'm finding it very light-weight and because the characters are pretty shallow its not particularly satisfying either.

 

One to chalk up to experience, I guess . . .

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I have some of Mike Gayle's books on the TBR, they sound good. Sorry to hear you didn't like A Day at the Office all that much. I like about chick-lit that it's more lighthearted than the more serious books. I do like some of my chick-lit though to have something other than 'does he/she like me or not', such as friendship issues or career problems. Funny bits are good too. I hope you'll enjoy your next read more :).

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Finished.

 

Yeah, I guess the point of [some] chick-lit is to be deliberately lightweight, but enjoyable (rather than realistic and mundane!).  Dunn does have quite a good sense of humour, even though some of his situations are a little contrived.  The last 50 pages of the book haven't really altered my opinions from above, but I will give him credit for not pairing everyone off in the way I was expecting. 

 

I think I would have to look very carefully at the synopsis for any of his other books before I give them a try, but I won't go so far as to rule them out at this point.

 

Which Mike Gayle books do you have on your TBR pile?

Edited by Raven

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Brand New Friend, The Life And Soul Of The Party, The Stag And Hen Weekend and Dinner For Two. I have Met at Work on order but I haven't received it yet. Have you read any of these?

 

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the Dunn book even if it wasn't that complicated.

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I'm not sure I'd say I enjoyed A Day at the Office; I didn't dislike it but its not something I'd be tempted to read again.

 

I've read all of Mike Gayle's books, with the exception of his latest hardback Turning Forty

 

Of the full length novels you have listed I would say Dinner For Two is the best, the other three are okay but they are not my favourites (I think there are reviews of a couple of them earlier in this thread!).

 

Men at Work is a short story, by the way, that I think would have made a good full length novel if it had more flesh on it.  As it stands it is a little light-weight.

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I've just finished the back-to-back double of Turning Thirty and the recently published [in paperback] Turning Forty, by Mike Gayle.

 

I really enjoyed re-reading Turning Thirty again; its main theme is nostalgia and it is populated with interesting and colourful characters.  It struck a chord with me when I first read it and it did again this time around, in a way that I'm sad to say Turning Forty most certainly did not.

 

I'll probably [haha] post a review at some point, but whilst the first book was a joy to read, I found second depressing and although there are some good characters in it the ones I really wanted to know more about (from the first book) weren't included and that was a massive let down. 

 

All I can say at this point is I really hope - that ten years from now - there isn't a Turning Fifty.

 

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go and find something cheerful somewhere . . .

Edited by Raven

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I'm glad you liked Turning Thirty but it's a shame Turning Forty didn't live up to your expectations at all.

Edited by Athena

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One for the sci-fi fans out there; I've just finished reading Wasp, by Eric Frank Russell.

 

A new release in the SF Masterworks range*, telling the story of an undercover operative working behind the lines on an alien planet prior to an invasion by Earth forces.

 

I'd never heard of it before, but when I read the blurb on the back of it in Waterstone's it sounded interesting enough for me to buy it there and then.

 

If you like Stainless Steel Rat, I think there is a good chance that you will like this as well; they are from a very similar mould.

 

ETA: *New, as in last year, by all accounts!

Edited by Raven

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One for the sci-fi fans out there; I've just finished reading Wasp, by Eric Frank Russell.

 

I read that last year.  I thought it was okay - decent, but nothing particularly special.

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I'd definitely recommend it to others, hence the above, but it's not a must read or anything.

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Well, I've now equalled the number of books I read last year and this year is still over a month away from being half gone. 

 

[hex]If this keeps up, it could well be a record breaking year for me![/hex]

 

I've got the week off and I spent an hour or so in my local Waterstone's this afternoon where I picked up Broken Homes, by Ben Arronovitch and Hatchet Job, by Mark Kermode.  Two books I have been waiting for in paperback and two books that were conveniently in their "buy one, get one half price" offer.

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I've got the week off and I spent an hour or so in my local Waterstone's this afternoon where I picked up Broken Homes, by Ben Arronovitch and Hatchet Job, by Mark Kermode.  Two books I have been waiting for in paperback and two books that were conveniently in their "buy one, get one half price" offer.

 

Ooh, good to know - I've also been waiting for the paperback of Hatchet Job, and it there's a bargain to be had with Broken Homes to go with it, it looks like I'll be taking a trip to Waterstone's this weekend! :D (Although, actually, I haven't read Whispers Under Ground yet, so I might need to get that one too)

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I don't think you have to read them in order (a friend of mine recently read the hardback of Broken Homes - having not read the earlier books - and enjoyed it), but to get the most out of the books I suspect it helps!

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Well, I've now equalled the number of books I read last year and this year is still over a month away from being half gone.

x

Woohoo, well done :)!

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Finished Broken Homes yesterday, very good, but it feels more like a middle-act than a self-contained story.

 

I like Aaronovitch's writing style and the historical detail he puts in about the places the characters visit, even if - and possibly especially - it has been made up.

 

Just got another year and a half to wait for the next one now! [in paperback].

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You're right, it does seem to be ramping up now to the bigger story, although I only felt that at the very end, if you know what I mean.
 
Were you surprised at the end like I was (and anybody who hasn't read this book and who might in the future - DO NOT OPEN THIS SPOILER!!! and now you can't say I didn't warn you) ...
 

when Lesley turned over to the dark side, as it were?


 
I didn't see that coming at all - maybe that's just because I was so caught up in the story, but perhaps there were hints or clues along the way?

Edited by chesilbeach

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You're right, it does seem to be ramping up now to the bigger story, although I only felt that at the very end, if you know what I mean.

 

Were you surprised at the end like I was (and anybody who hasn't read this book and who might in the future - DO NOT OPEN THIS SPOILER!!! and now you can't say I didn't warn you) ...

 

 

when Lesley turned over to the dark side, as it were?

 

 

I didn't see that coming at all - maybe that's just because I was so caught up in the story, but perhaps there were hints or clues along the way?

 

 

Yes, it was a huge surprise.

 

I'm not sure it wasn't sign posted though.  There was a bit near the end, before they headed out to Essex and the barn, where Leslie seemed quite hostile towards Peter and I was wondering at the time what bought all that on, perhaps now we know. 

 

I'm intrigued as to how this is going to work, because I'm guessing Leslie will be forced to do things for The Faceless Man that will cross the line, but her character has always been straight down the line (she tends to see things as being a lot more black and white than Peter, so I'm wondering how far she will go to get a new face).

 

There were a lot of threads left hanging in this story as well.  Was it Molly that used to visit The Faceless Man senior? And what was she doing on the computer?  How and when did Leslie contact The Faceless Man?

 

 

I think, before I read his next book, I will have to go back and re-read them again from the start.  I suspect there may be details which I missed the first time around.

 

On a side note, I was glad to see Aaronovitch has dropped the smut, it always felt a bit forced, but I was disappointed there was no "Blues and Twos",

Edited by Raven

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I'm on the verge of abandoning a book and I'm not sure that's something I've consciously done since I abandoned The Da Vinci Code many years ago.  Sure, every now and again I'll start a book, put it down meaning to go back to it and never do, but it is very rare I make the conscious decision to stop reading one.

 

The book in question is Forgotten History, a Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novel by Christopher L. Bennett.  I haven't read any Star Trek for years, largely because I began to find it unreadable, but the passage of time dulls the memory [or possibly that's the beer] and I thought I'd give this one a go when I saw it in The Works for £1.99.  Suffice to say, the experiment has not gone well.  The book constructs it's own history around the various time travel stories from the original TV series and goes through each one of them in turn in a rather dry and humourless way. It's biggest flaw, however, is the detail on time travel theory that uses cod-science mixed with a smattering of actual theories to explain what is going on.  Part of me thinks there could have been a half-decent story here, but any message it is trying to get across is being well and truly drowned with meaningless jargon and Trek self-referencing (it is also difficult to care about a main character when they have deliberately been written to be manipulative!).  For me this sums up all that is bad about Star Trek and why the show eventually got cancelled.  I'd really hoped Star Trek novels had improved since I last read one, but if this is anything to go by that doesn't appear to be the case.

 

Do I throw in the towel, or do I try to blitz through the 200 odd pages that remain?

 

Hmm...

 

Edited to correct a typo...

Edited by Raven

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Sorry to hear you're not enjoying it :(. Personally I try to finish books however if I'm really not enjoying it then I do put them down (gladly this doesn't happen often), usually after I started skimming sections first.

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