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Thursday, 11 August 2016

August 2016 - Post 3: An Update

Okay, so, I have finished a few books since my last posts. Not enough to catch up on the 52 book challenge (I'm still 10 books behind, and I don't know if I can finish another one before Sunday, when the week number changes);

The Suffrage of Elvia, by VS Naipaul

Set in Trinidad and Tobago in 1950, the multicultural township of Elvira is having its second general election.

The book follows the committee campaigning on behalf of Surujpat Harbans, their trials, triumphs, fall outs and financial wranglings.

It's written mainly in the patois that the denizens of Elvira would speak in, which I found made it quite hard to follow, but once I managed to get into the flow of it, it was amusing.

I have no idea if elections in Trinidad were ever that corrupt in real life, I hope not, but as a fan of Yes Minister of old, I suspect it's funnier for having at least a sprinkling of truth.

Overall, it was okay, but quite hard going.

 
 
Pictures or it didn't Happen, by Sophie Hannah
 
Chloe has forgotten her daughter's sheet music, they will be late if they have to go back to the car for it, but they are rescued by a handsome stranger with a pushbike.
 
After the audition, Chloe tracks him down and takes him a thank you gift, which she leaves with his receptionist, who offers a dire warning to stay away from him.
 
When the handsome stranger contacts Chloe and asks her out, the receptionist's claim that he is a plague in human form isn't enough to make her walk away, but does make her curious enough to try and investigate him.
 
I found this one slow to start and the protagonist frustrating, I wasn't happy with the denouement, however, it was only a Quick Reads book and the author has limited time to form and then tie up the psychological thriller. Overall, this one was only okay, I'm afraid.


The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho

As I'm sure you can tell by the lowest star rating, I did not enjoy this book.

I was expecting a book about the Camino de Santiago, which I know I haven't blogged about yet, but part of which I walked with my friend earlier this year, so I was excited to read a book about someone else's experience.

Instead, this book starts with a religious adept failing an initiation ceremony and walking through Spanish customs with a sword. You're not allowed to take walking poles through Spanish customs from within Europe, you've got no chance of getting a sword past them!

I absolutely loathed this book, but I finished it. It was more spiritual self-help, mysticism-y type stuff than it was descriptions of the trail itself.



Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
 
The newest book by JK Rowling's pseudonym about a private detective. Someone sends his secretary/partner the dismembered leg of a corpse. Not only can Strike think of an astounding four people who might send him dismembered body parts, but the police don't seem to be taking some of his suggestions seriously, so Cormoran and Robin investigate themselves.
 
Chapters are written in three POVs with the POV changing, not every chapter, but only at chapter changes, between Cormoran, Robin and the un-named killer, without giving his identity away.
 
The plot itself was mainly engaging, I didn't work out whodunit, but I was able to guess, although it felt, to me, as though the story lulled for a little while just after the halfway mark. Not my favourite, but another good mystery in this series. 


and I read Richard III on Trial for Murder, by Michael S Bennett.

This one was sent to me by a friend, who knows that I am Ricardian, and it was published in 1994, so still ascertains that Richard's remains were hoiked into a river when Grey Friars was dissolved.

This book is aimed at people new to either the era of the Wars of the Roses, or the idea that Richard III may not have murdered his own nephews, and is laid out in a trial format, so both the prosecution and the defence are able to put the reasons for their point of view.

There's plenty of background information, clarification from both sides on certain points, but no conclusion written out, which is left up to the Jury (the reader) to decide.

It didn't change my mind, I do think it was unbiased, but even reading biased sources, I have always thought that the evidence against Richard was weak, circumstantial at best and probably not enough for the CPS to prosecute.

I was pleased that the author included, at the end, information about Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, as well as Henry VIIs treatment of Elizabeth Woodville in later years. The format is slightly dated, and the use of M'Lud, amongst other things, may make it difficult for non-native English speakers to follow, which is a shame, as I believe this publication is from the Richard III Museum in York.

Overall, there are more detailed sources available, but if you're new to the subject, this would be a good place to start, it's easy to read, covers most of the bases. Overall it's good, but not 5 stars (I am stingy with the old 5 stars though).


CINEMA
picture from internet
Beloved and I made it to the flicks at the weekend, to see Suicide Squad, which we really enjoyed! I actually loved the soundtrack, sadly some of the music I enjoyed most in the film, wasn't on the soundtrack when I downloaded it the following day! I've found them on Spotify since though, so all is well. LittleBit is a smidgeon jealous, she wanted to see it, having seen a number of trailers in 12A films for it, but it's a 15, so she can't get in. As a result, she went to look after Grandad while Nanna was out at a birthday afternoon tea and cocktail party.

Anyway, the film. It's based on comic books, which I haven't read, neither, surprisingly, has Beloved, but he knows more than me about them... it's set in the DC Universe and ties loosely to the end of Superman Vs Batman. You do not have to have seen Superman Vs Batman in order to understand Suicide Squad, however, I cannot stress this caveat enough, the early scenes of Suicide Squad contain a massive spoiler as to the end of Superman Vs Batman. So, if you haven't seen Superman Vs Batman, but you will want to at some point, watch that before Suicide Squad.

Okay, so, if you have seen Superman Vs Batman, you know the thing that happens at the end, it leaves people feeling vulnerable, and there are types of people, who do not like to feel vulnerable. One such person is Amanda Waller, who works for the US military/government in an undisclosed role/department etc, but Amanda, has a plan. Amanda is going to take the worst 'meta-human' criminals, who she handily already has in custody, and use them to fight bad guys. She is a master manipulator, and has control of a Special Forces soldier named Rick Flagg, who is in control of 'Task Force X' on the ground.

Task Force X is comprised of Deadshot, an assassin who never misses, Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend(?), who seems to have some kind of Stockholm syndrome thing going on, The Croc, who is more crocodile than human, Boomerang, an alcoholic Australian thief, and Diablo, an Hispanic warlord who can shoot flames at people. Rick Flagg has a number of Special Forces personell at his disposal and a young lady known as Katana, who isn't one of the convicted bad guys, and appears to be a volunteer.

Anyway, there's this ancient witch, who has possessed an archaeologist, and she (or should that be they?) are now in a relationship with Rick Flagg, only the witch isn't happy, and she manages to resurrect (sort of through means of possession) her brother, so that she can get her heart back and destroy the world, and the Suicide Squad are being made to stop her.

In amongst all of this, the Joker tries to help Harley Quinn escape from this enforced servitude, we get flashbacks of most of their backstories and good guys do things which would probably have made the Joker pause for thought, without actually pausing for thought.

There were one or two things that appear to have been left to us to figure out that I would have liked to have been spelled out, a few bits of backstory missing, and to be honest, I would have liked more justice to have been meted out, but possibly not to whom the filmmakers intended us to detest.

It's an action packed film with some bad language, less blood and gore and violence than I would have expected, some comedy, a few moments meant to make you feel moved, oh and a pretty decent soundtrack.

If I'm honest, I'm not sure why this one was a 15, maybe I'm just so immune to swearing that I missed something really offensive, but I didn't notice anything else really, but LittleBit still can't go and watch it, because it is a 15, but I would otherwise recommend it as being better than Superman Vs Batman.

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