Saturday, 1 December 2007

Book party

Tonight, I am going to a book party. Two former workmates have birthdays around this time, and of course Christmas is coming, so rather than have the usual dinner and drinks party, they've decided to do something a little bit different. The theme is bring a book, take a book with the idea you bring along a book (or several) you have really enjoyed, or one that you haven’t enjoyed but know someone else would. This way, everyone will be set for a good read over the Christmas break.

The book I've just finished reading, and will be taking to the book party tonight, is Coastliners (2002), by Joanne Harris. Having enjoyed another novel of hers, Chocolat (1999), and a book of short stories, Jigs and Reels (2004), I was looking forward to a really good read.

I found Coastliners really hard to get into; lots of scene setting and endless descriptions of locations and an ongoing feud between two rival communities on a tiny French island, but very little development beyond that for the first half of the novel. At about the half-way point, I was almost ready to concede defeat, but I have this strange trait of having to finish every book I start reading, regardless of how bad it is. Yes, I know there are too many bad books in the world to do this with, and there is not enough time to read all the good books out there, but I just can't help myself!

Coastliners was an easy read, but just didn't really do it for me. I was told that it picked up about three-quarters of the way through, and the action did get moderately better, but the ongoing historical tension between the two rival communities became tedious, with only some of the questions in my mind resolved. I also found myself not really caring about what happened to the characters - something that is unusual for me when I get into a novel I really enjoy.

Still, I'm sure someone else will enjoy Coastliners (it's a number one bestseller with rave reviews, after all), so I'll look to see who takes it home tonight and look forward to picking up a little gem for myself for the Christmas break.

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