Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blistering Pace

So far in 2009, I've been reading at a blistering pace, for me anyway. I think I increased my pace in December to ensure I'd reach my 2008 goal and I guess I haven't slowed down. This reading, combined with my new addiction to Lost has sure cut into my blogging! I'm currently in the middle of Season 3 of Lost and am still loving it, still intrigued. To tell you the truth though, I'm really glad I'm watching it like this. I cannot imagine having waited 2 1/2 years to get to the point where I am now! It's also much easier, I think, to keep track of all the little details.

On to the reviews.

The Risk of Darkness by Susan Hill

This is the third of the Simon Serrailler books and if you are interested in my thoughts on the first books see here and here. I liked this one better than the second. As usual, this is a completely atypical mystery. The mystery of the kidnapped children that was begun in the second book is finally resolved in a sense and much of the book is questioning the why of it all. There are a couple other story lines going on, as always, plenty about Simon's sister and her family, and much about Simon's inner struggles with women and his career. I have to say, Simon is not the most likable character and I wanted to scream at him at one point, okay, two. He has major issues with women. This was a good book to take with me on my trip and I'm sure I'll be reading the fourth soon.

The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee



How gorgeous is that cover?? The Piano Teacher is the story of Claire Pendleton, a young British woman, recently married, who arrives in Hong Kong in 1952. Claire seems young and immature, somewhat unsure of herself, and her marriage seems like it was a bit of an escape for her. Claire enjoys herself in Hong Kong and begins teaching piano to the daughter of a well-to-do family, the Chens. There she meets Will Truesdale, also British, but who has never lived in Britain. He is, somewhat unusually, the Chen's driver. Claire and Will begin a relationship that quickly turns into an affair, one that gives Claire something she does not have in her marriage -passion, but Will keeps his emotional distance.

The story is interspersed with chapters about Will's life in Hong Kong in 1942. Young and handsome, he is the boyfriend of beautiful society girl Trudy Liang. When the Japanese arrive in Hong Kong, everything changes and along with all the other British citizens, Will is placed in a camp while Trudy remains on the outside. I thought this section was the best part of the book. The last section of the novel deals with Claire's realization of how the war affected Will's life, and how she deals with her relationships with Will and her husband.

I enjoyed the setting of this book, Hong Kong, and learning what life might have been like there during the war. The Piano Teacher didn't have that little something extra that makes me love a book or find it to be a great read. However, it is well written and I found it to be an enjoyable read. Many thanks to Libraything's Early Reviewer Program for sending it to me.

13 comments:

Carrie K said...

Lost is sucking me back in. Just don't expect seasons 1-3 to tie in much w/season 4-6.

So what's the 2009 goal?

vintagereads said...

Lovely cover. I might recommend that book to my library book group.

melanie said...

I totally relate...it's hard to take a break to write reviews - completely breaks the spell of being on a roll. :)

Anna said...

I haven't watched Lost in ages. They lost me back in season 3.

I've had my eye on The Piano Teacher. I'm glad to hear you liked it.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Nan said...

Though the setting is Shanghai, not Hong Kong, I wonder if you have read/might like When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro? I think you'd like it, Tara.

We are on the same wave length - I've been spending more of my time reading rather than on the computer. And we watched LOST the same way - first few seasons on dvd, then went to tv for a couple, and are now buying it on iTunes each week. Whew! What a ride!

Tara said...

Carrie K, Nuts! - about the Lost thing I'm really into season 3! 2009? Hmmm. I guess I'm aiming for more than 2008 at this point, but my husband says I should get a life!

Vintagereads, I think it would be good to discuss!

Melanie, so true, so true.

Anna, so many people have told me that! I'm glad I never watched it before now, I'm guessing it makes a lot more sense this way.

Nan, I haven't read that book - I'll make a note of Nan! You know, Lost is free on abc.com, even the new season it looks like, if you don't want to pay!

Lisa said...

I'm glad someone is off to a blistering reading pace. :) I'm not doing so well. I'm actually liking everything I'm reading, but it seems like it is taking me forever to finish things.

Nan said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Tara, but our satellite internet connection isn't fast enough. As it is, Tom has to buy it at his school, put it on a disc, and then we watch on our computer.

Danielle said...

Sometimes those shows can become really addictive. I try and stay away from too much TV, but then I just spend too much time on the computer--without accomplishing much. I have one Susan Hill book--the first Simon Serailler mystery to read. It looks good.

Iliana said...

I don't think I'll continue with the Hill series. I've read two and I have a big problem with Simon and obviously he hasn't improved in the third book! I like the settings and how she covers so much ground with characters and such but he's just one character I can't get interested in.

Anyway, glad to hear you enjoyed the Piano Teacher. That cover is lovely.

Bree said...

Watching series on DVD is great. We just did that with House but now we can't watch 2008-09 season until it comes out on DVD so we don't miss anything.

I think I want to go back and re-watch Lost season. What the producers started to do last season was show the previous week's show right before the new episode with pop-ups that give you refreshers/insight into whatever happened before. Its great if you have time to watch the episode and sometimes if I miss a week, you have the chance to watch them back-to-back. But who can wait a week...

nutmeg said...

Hi Tara - finally able to sit down and visit some blogs after returning from o/s!

I am an avid dvd buyer and tend to watch all tv shows this way now - no ads and watch it when I want! And you've interested me in Lost so much now that I have bought series 1!

Tara said...

Lisa, as long you like everything, I think your pace is just right. I cannot say the same - that I've liked everything.

Nan, Ah, I see.

Danielle, I am just the same with the tv/computer time issue. I hope you like the Susan Hill!

Iliana, you would have an even bigger problem with him in this book, if you already feel that way - you won't believe what he did! I am a big fan of the characterization, as well.

Bree, it's so great to watch Lost in a condensed way; I feel like I understand everyone/everything so well and all the relationships and past history. I wonder how I'll feel when I'm waiting next year for season 6!

Nutmeg, Hi! Watching tv programs this way is definitely the way to go. I hope you like Lost! Let me know.