Booklitzer Challenge 200, Books

The Month of August in Books

This month I managed five books.  Here they are:

Fiction:

Carry On, Jeeves

This was my antidote to slowly grinding my way through The Poisonwood Bible.  It is your typical Wodehouse.  Bertie getting into scrapes and Jeeves attempting to redeem the situation.  The outcome is not always what Bertie would like, but sometimes the best answer isn’t what we like.
This is a series of short stories, some set in New York as well as England.  It was a nice, light work to offset the darker novel that I read concurrently.

The Careful Use of Compliments

This is the fourth book in the Isabel Dalhousie or Sunday Philosophy Club series. It once again follows the stories of Isabel, Jamie and Cat.
We see the domesticity that follows the arrival of Charlie, Isabel and Jamie’s son.  We see the conflict this provokes with Isabel’s neice, Cat.  And thrown into the bargain is the world of Scottish art and artists.  The mystery of a dead artist is the background for this story, as well as changes at the Review of Applied Ethics.

The Poisonwood Bible

This book has been given a full post here.  Briefly, it is the first book from my Booklitzer 200 Challenge, in which I am going to attempt (slowly, it seems) to make my way through all of the Booker Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners (fiction only) and the BBC Big Read Top 200.
This is book #125 of the BBC Top 200.
Hmm. Scary that it got there.  Mind you, considering Gormenghast made the list I shouldn’t really be disrespectful of this work.  Hard going though it was.

The Tainted Relic

This is the first collaboration book that I have come across.  Perhaps I lead a sheltered life.  In this volume (there are three of them according to Amazon), six authors of medieval fiction collaborate with their own settings and characters to create a short story series with a central theme – The Tainted Relic. Starting with Simon Beaufort and the character Sir Geoffrey Mappestone, set in 1100 AD during the First Crusade and finishing with Philip Gooden’s character, Nick Revill, set in the 1600s with Will Shakespeare as a minor character, we follow the course of the tainted relic through many hands and settings.  We witness the mayhem and deaths of those who come into it’s sphere of influence.
I liked the idea of different authors allowing their creations this type of collaboration, but strangely found that there was very little distinctive voice to be heard between each story.  Erroneously I thought that the different authors’ work would have rung out with a unique and personal style of prose.  I am quite surprised that this was largely a uniform sounding work.  Of course two of the six authors are one person – Simon Beaufort and Susanna Gregory – but what of the others?  If anyone else has read this, please let me know if you also found it to be this way.

Non-Fiction:

Carolyn 101

I picked this up out of curiosity.  I have never watched more than a few minutes of any of The Apprentice series.  While Mr Trump is obviously very successful, I struggle with the whole concept and execution of “reality TV”.  It’s not so real, and it’s not my idea of entertainment.
Still, I wondered what the suited woman (the hardback has a photograph of Carolyn in a sharp looking red business suit) might have to say about working for such a flamboyant employer as Donald Trump.  Turns out that it is a book full of short, anecdotal stories from her rise into corporate Trump-land.  I was surprised that she chose to name individuals, especially those that she held up to be bad examples.  However, in saying that, a lot of the ideas and suggestions held a lot of common sense.  They also held a lot of “no bull” attitude too.
If you are looking for a pithy book that is readable (I finished it in about four sittings of an hour or so each), gives you a little bit of insight into the Trump organization and dishes out some fairly straightforward views on how to run a business and the people in it, then you may find this worth reading.  Get it from the library though, as I doubt you will feel the need to keep a copy.

***

I know I have posted a whole four days early, but the books I am now reading are not going to get past the finish line before Sunday.  I am once again on the Booklitzer 200 trail with The Siege of Krishnapur – this is the 1973 Booker winner – and I am about to start on a couple of business books. Wish me luck and see you here at the end of next month.

P.S. August’s reading has tipped my over my 2008 reading goal of 24 books.  Will miracles never cease!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s