Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Rating 3.5/5

I've seen reviews of this book in which it is described as porn, smut, and/or as having no plot. None of this is true. It's a coming of age story and an exploration of sexuality. Cleland deserves some sort of award for writing a book almost entirely about sex without using a single "dirty" word - although some of his metaphors are extremely amusing. My personal favourite is "oily balsamic injection". Fanny is an interestingly delightful character. However, I thought it completely unrealistic that Fanny was so enamoured with the appearance of men's testicles. In reality, women do not admire that particular body part - it is of no use to us (unless we are trying to get pregnant or want to hurt a man badly!), and it looks, at the very least, ridiculous. Nature should have made sperm hearty enough to survive a man's internal body temperature. Just sayin.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Rating: 2.5/5

This book has some merits, but it took all my patience to get through it. There was about 100 pages in the middle that I found myself actually very interested, but the rest was quite tiresome. To be fair, I am not a fan of the mystery genre, but I actually didn't know this was a mystery until I began reading it. I'd just heard all the hype and figured it was a must read. It's not. The original Swedish title for this book is Men Who Hate Women, and while that's not a very good title, it's more appropriate than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is an interesting character and has a big role to play, but the book isn't really about her. Which is disappointing. The Swedish family in this story is also interesting, and pretty much the only reason I kept reading this book. However, I was disappointed with how it turned out. Maybe it was all the hype, but I was expecting something much more unusual than what actually happened. I don't know how things are in Sweden, but in North America we are so addicted to crazy crime stories on television, movies and books that nothing can really shock me anymore. So the "whodunit" of this book was a real let down. So, I'll give this book 3 stars for its interesting bits, but overall I have to say I was very disappointed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Rating 4/5

I enjoyed this book very much and will definitely read the next in the series. There were a few things that stretched my sense of credibility, though being a fan of scifi, the time travelling wasn't one of them. It was some of claire's decisions - like choosing to remain in dirty, cold and smelly 1743 where people were trying to kill her rather than go back to a great life in the future; not to mention quickly forgiving and continuing to respect a man who had enjoyed lashing her nearly to death with his belt. I'm a (closet) romantic, but even to me love seems a poor excuse for these things. Moreover, these decisions don't fit with her practical, headstrong character. But I admit her doing otherwise wouldve completely ruined the story. I did think at one point maybe she'd go through the stones again and find herself another 200 years into the past, which would have changed but not necessarily ruined the story. Anyway, I found the story as it was fast paced and rather action packed. I had absolutely no interest in the history of the period in Scotland, but she managed to make it compelling for me.