Wednesday, 30 January 2013

LLBG January

Lowestoft Library Book Group doesn't have a meeting in December, as the last Tuesday of the month is always in Christmas week (last year it was on Christmas Day), and people aren't too fond of abandoning their festive celebrations to sit in the library and talk about a book they no doubt didn't read!  Because of this, we had two books to read over December and January to be discussed at the January meeting.  These were The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths, and The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld.

As you should all by now, I'm a very pedantic reader.  Since writing a book, I've read books with a different eye.  So as I was reading The Crossing Places, I used an envelope as a book mark, and made sure I had a pen or pencil nearby to note down the various bits that jumped out at me on the back of said envelope.  It's not to say that this was a bad book or that I didn't enjoy it.  I'd just like to know how these things slipped through the editor's net.

Page 25: "empty can of coke" - There are two things wrong with this snippit.  Firstly, Coke is a brand name, from Coca-Cola.  If it is Coke (from Coca-Cola) then it should have a capital 'C'.  If it's just cola (from Tesco or ASDA or any other own brand soft drink manufacturer) then it should have a small 'c'.  It does annoy me when people write 'biro', 'hoover', 'sellotape', etc.  Someone has put their name to their invention, and we should all show respect to them my capitalising these words.  Secondly, if it is indeed a 'can of coke' (sic), how can it be empty?  A 'can of coke' (sic) indicates that there is indeed something in the can, like a packet of crisps, or a box of chocolates, or a jar of marmalade (the list could go on; have a looksee next time you're in the supermarket).  If the can was indeed empty, then it should be described as an 'empty Coke can'.

Page 64: "googles" - Google, like Coke, is a brand name, and should have a capital 'G'.

Page 68: "March 1998 ... Look at the cursuses and the causeways."
Page 70: "She was halfway through the letter dated March 1996, with its surprising mention of cursuses and causeways."
Make your mind up, was it 1998 or 1996??

Page 146 & 147: "diet coke" - Brand name!! Diet Coke (both letters capitalised)!!

Page 148: "coke" - Ok, I'm getting bored of this now!

But one bit that did make me laugh appeared on page 154/155: "The wife belongs to a book club ... They never talk about the bloody books at all."  I don't know why, but this sentiment sounds familiar ...

The general view from the reading group that this was a good book, easy to read, and it flowed well.  But the sex scene (and the result of this sex scene) was completely unnecessary and almost detracted from the book.


I, thankfully, have no grammar issues with The Interpretation of Murder.  However, I do have other issues with this book.  It has two main voices; Younger, written in the first person, and the narrator, written in the third person.  Younger tells his own story from his own point of view, and the narrator tells the story of all the other characters.  To start with I quite liked this device, but after a while it became confusing, as more and more characters were introduced.  I got bored of that fairly quickly.

As the title suggests, this book is about murder, and I know with all murder mysteries we (the audience/reader) are supposed to suspect the wrong person up until the denouement where *surprise surprise* is wasn't who we thought all along!  But with this story, it was extremely contrived and unbelievable.  I felt let down when I found out 'whodunnit'.  It's a very long book, slightly tedious at times, with twists and turns and cliffhangers (I will commend Rubenfeld on his cliffhangers; they did grip me, and they did prevent me from putting the book down), and I expected a great reveal, but it was more like a deflated balloon flapping around in winter tree branches.  All I can do is shrug my shoulders at this book.

The majority of the group didn't like this book.  They felt that the author was showing off with his knowledge of Freud and Shakespeare, plus a million other things that he knows everything about.  It also had too many characters and too many things going on for it to be an easy read.  I know not everything should be an easy read, but if it's not easy it should at least be enjoyable!


Our next meeting is on Tuesday 26th February, and we will be discussing The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. 

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