Sunday, 11 July 2010

What I've been reading

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by Robert Harris

"Ancient Rome teems with ambitions and ruthless men, none more brilliant than Marcus Cicero. A rising young lawyer, backed by a shrewd wife, he decides to gamble everything on one of the most dramatic courtroom battles of all time. Win it, and he could win control of Rome itself. Lose it, and he is finished forever."
Aah, reading for pleasure again. Nothing better than sitting on holiday with the rain pattering on the conservatory glass roof and reading a nice, light (but historically believable) thriller novel.

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Vile Bodies
by Evelyn Waugh

narrated by Robert Hardy

"The Bright Young Things of 1920s Mayfair, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and sophistication, exercise their inventive minds and vile bodies in every kind of capricious escapade, whether it is promiscuity, dancing, cocktail parties, or sports cars. A vivid assortment of characters hunt fast and furiously for ever greater sensations and the hedonistic fulfilment of their desires."
I needed more Evelyn Waugh after admiring the lyrical narration of Brideshead Revisited, and this book reminded me of the wonderful black humour of his writing, which was absent from Brideshead. This isn't the best of his work, but I enjoyed it a lot. Much more audio book action to come, now that I'm commuting again.

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An Infamous Army
by Georgette Heyer

narrated by Claire Higgins
"'Why, Charles, whom can you be staring at?' she began, but broke off as her gaze followed his. It was quite obvious whom Colonel Audley was staring at. He was staring at a vision in palest green satin draped in a cloud of silver net. The Lady Barbara Childe had arrived, and was standing directly beneath a huge chandelier, just inside the ballroom."
Now, I like reading Georgette Heyer, and I'm sure she included a great deal of historical accuracy in this account of a love affair set in the background of the Battle of Waterloo. I learned that the battle didn't really take place at Waterloo, but that was the village in which the Duke of Wellington stayed the previous night, and I have picked up the names of many of the distinguished commanders of various divisions of infantry and cavalry. But that's not why I read Ms Heyer, and there really was too much swashbuckling and not enough handsome swain. The last three hours of the book were an account of the battle, with about 20 minutes at the end for the two lovers to become reconciled.

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