Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Salon 22 June 2008: The Gritty and the Smooth

Hello again, Saloners. I'm back after a couple of weeks' absence due to working flat out on a book proposal. I enjoyed it but I have not been out of the house for a few weeks in consequence. Anyway I have now returned to the book pile and find it has grown somewhat in my absence. I've consequently attacked the two top ones (ie most recently acquired) first. Both were quick, easy reads but that's where the similarity ended.

UNDER CONTROL by Mark McNay was sent to me from Canongate (an uncorrected proof so I have been asked not to quote from it). This was a gritty fast-paced read about a prostitute, her psychotic boyfriend and the man from the health service who was supposed to be helping them free themselves of their drug addiction. My review is on Revish here.

This is Mark McNay's second novel - his first having won an Arts Foundation New Fiction Award and the Saltire First Book of the Year Award.

AN UNCOMMON READER by Alan Bennett, in contrast, was about as ungritty as you can get. It was an extremely funny fantasy based on the idea of what would happen if the Queen of England suddenly became obsessed with reading books. It was sent to me by Profile books. This is a very short, light-hearted book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Despite its lightness, I did find it had a few things to say about the effect of reading books on a person's life, which were quite profound. I shall also review this on Revish here.


Blogger Lesa said...

I enjoyed The Uncommon Reader, and found the right person to pass it on to.

Sun Jun 22, 01:42:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know of anyone who's read this and not loved it. How can one man be so wickedly talented?

Sun Jun 22, 03:21:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both books sound like great books. Sometimes the faster reads are better, especially when you've fallen behind.

Sun Jun 22, 04:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to add The Uncommom Reader to my TBR. Sounds like a great book.

Sun Jun 22, 08:30:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, both books worth reading. Not sure what I'd call the Uncommon Reader - not really a novel I think.

Mon Jun 23, 09:02:00 am  
Blogger Jud said...

I heard an interview with the author on NPR some time ago, and picked it up. I enjoyed it, too.

Another book I have enjoyed on reading is "A History of Reading" by Alberto Manguel.

Wed Jun 25, 09:52:00 pm  

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