The Grim Reaper, Conspiracies and Jellyfish

>> Saturday, September 17, 2011

TITLE: First Grave On The Right
AUTHOR: Darynda Jones

Our heroine, Charley Davidson, is the Grim Reaper. Yes, really. Her job is to help people cross over to the other side. Most manage it fine, but some hang around and she needs to send them on their way. Charley's also a PI, and both jobs go together fine: dead people tend to have some really useful info (like who killed them, even), and investigative skills come useful when she needs to find out more about the circumstances of someone's death.

In the bit I managed to get through, there are a group of lawyers who have just been killed and need Charley's help, in both her capacities. There's also a spirit that's seemingly haunting her, and it looks like it's this tragic and handsome young man she met once when they were both very young.

I actually really liked the setup and was quite intrigued by both the mystery and the emerging romance, but I just couldn't bear Charley. She's like a MaryJanice Davidson heroine on speed. Wisecracks all over the place, no matter how inappropriate the time or place. She came across as stupid, not sassy and snarky and clever, and after about a third of the book I couldn't stand her anymore.

MY GRADE: DNF.



TITLE: Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History
AUTHOR: David Aaronovitch

This was my book club's choice a couple of months ago. It's non fiction, and the author examines several conspiracy theories, trying to understand what it is about them that makes people believe some very dodgy things.

I expected a little bit more analysis than I got, but on the other hand, there's quite a lot of narration and debunking of conspiracy theories (some well-known ones, like the JFK assassination or the theory that 9/11 was an inside job, but also a couple of British ones which I knew nothing about), which was still interesting. And to be fair, what analysis there was was pretty good. The writing is quite snappy and readable, with a focus on entertaining the reader, rather than being scholarly and exhaustive. There is, however, a bit of psychobabble, which can get slightly tedious.

On the whole, I enjoyed it, but that might be because conspiracy theories are not my thing (well, not anymore... I remember being completely, 100% convinced by the JFK movie as a teen!). I've worked for the government for the last 10 years (two different governments, in fact), and the idea that we would be able to coordinate and arrange the stuff we've supposed to have done is laughable!

MY GRADE: A B.



TITLE: Happyslapped by a Jellyfish
AUTHOR: Karl Pilkington

Picked this up on a whim at the library, having watched An Idiot Abroad and found it hilarious (albeit in a "this is so wrong it's good" kind of way). This is basically a collection of essays (if you can call them that) about Karl Pilkington's holidays -extracts of his diaries, basically.

It's easy: if you liked An Idiot Abroad you'll probably get a kick out of this, because Karl Pilkington writes exactly as he speaks (and if it was a ghostwriter that did it, then well done, it's spot on). It's ungrammatical, unsophisticated, and extremely funny. He's so deadpan and outrageous at the same time that this had quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, and a few unexpected bits of truth.

And by the way, fantastic title!

MY GRADE: A B-.

3 comments:

Maili,  17 September 2011 13:28  

I'm confused. I *know* I read (well, DNF) First Grave on the Right a couple of years ago, but Amazon says it's a 2011 publication. Same cover, too (a scythe and a female foot in a sandal). Did I time-travel or something? Or maybe a different book with same cover art and a similar premise? I hope so because otherwise I'll believe I'm living a Doctor Who episode.  

rosario001,  18 September 2011 06:37  

Ohhhh! *cue Twilight Zone music* Might you have had an ARC? That's the only other non-creepy explanation I can think of! :-D  

Maili,  19 September 2011 10:51  

No,  no ARC. *sob!* Hug me, I'm scared.

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