Friday, February 11, 2011

Chick Lit.... or not?

I don't know why, but I haven't been very regular with posting, so now I have three books to review at one go. Not that I mind(:

But when trying to to find a unifying thread for three apparently disparate books, I realised some/most/all of them may be classified as Chick Lit by some. Now, I'm not a fan of fluff, but still, I wonder what counts as literary. This is probably linked to the problem of finding suitable EE books that won't get rejected by IBO but that's beside the point. I shall just cut to the chase and review the three books (not in order read).

The first book is The Catherine Lim Collection. Catherine Lim is a famous Singaporean authoress, although I don't really favour local books. But, this was lent to me, so, being a bibliophile, I decided to read it. There are four books in this collection, The Serpent's Tooth (a novel), They Do Return, O Singapore! and The Woman's Book of Superlatives (all short story collections). While I don't really like The Serpent's Tooth and They Do Return, it's more because of the trite way she deals with religion. I have the feeling she's either Buddhist turned Agnostic/Atheist or Buddhist. But the way she seems to trivialise Christianity doesn't sit well with me. And I find that in her novel, apart from the protagonist, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of character developement. Of course, that's just my opinion.

I find her short stories much better, mostly because you don't need to develope charcter, and she can really capture the essence of the story better than in a long novel. The Woman's Book of Superlatives is Ok, but not that outstanding (to me), I much prefer O Singapore! and I'll be recommending it to others. Inside, she pokes fun at all things Singaporean, and actually manages to shed light on Singaporean society. One of the funniest stories are 'Kiasuiam: A Social-Historico-Cultural Perspective' and ' "Write, Right, Rite'; Or 'How Catherine Lim Tries To Offer Only The Best On The Alter Of Good Singapore Writing' "

The next book is "A Countess below the Stairs" by Eva Ibbotson, and I've actually read it before. But it was so enjoyable I just read it again. I really really enjoy Eva Ibbotson's work, ever since I read Journey to the River Sea. There's something really likeable about her heroines, and her writing makes reading an immersive experience for me. Her characterisation is really well done too, and I can really imagine people like that in real life.

The final book is Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, the author of Still Alice. Still Alice (to digress a little bit), is a book about a lady professor trying to cope with dementia. It's an immensely touching story, and I remember crying while reading it. Left Neglected, isn't what you think it is, since the title is a pun. The book isn't about someone being left alone, it's about a successful career woman who gets Left Neglect after a car accident. Left Neglect is apparently a real condition, where the concept (and reality) of Left simply doesn't exist for the sufferer. This novel is also really well done, and the ending is happy but believable.

All in all, three really enjoyable books(:

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