Thank you...

... for taking the time to stop by. I hope some of these ponderings will resonate with you.

Leave a comment if you want to - your contributions are more than welcome.

(Unless stated otherwise, all text & pictures are © Lee Labuschagne, all rights reserved.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

1+1+1 for 365 day 9: Imagining things


“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” - Mark Twain

Second Glance, by Jodi Picault

I don't believe in ghosts. But nevertheless, I enjoyed Second Glance, first published in 2003 and one of the first two Picault novels I acquired (I also bought the more recent House Rules, but have not read it yet).

So this is the first book I'm mentioning in the "bestseller", popular genre.  There is no particular reason for it other than it is the most recent of that kind of novel that I've read. 

I've always enjoyed spy thrillers and whodunnits and these days I am drawn to Scandinavian crime thrillers. But I like taking a break from the tension of those and love books that make me smile.  I read some fantasy novels, human drama & mystery, a tiny bit of scifi, and bits and pieces of other things. Bestselling novels often fall in those categories.

The main characters of Second Glance are Ross Wakeman, a ghost hunter who investigates strange occurences in the small town of  Comtosook, and Cecelia Pike (or Lia Beaumont) a suicidal woman.  The themes of eugenics, suicide, family secrets and Native-American heritage are woven into a book that is hard to put down.  This is good fiction without necessarily being prize-winning literary work.

Yes, Picault sure knows how to tell a tale.  Her books are page turners and she cleverly weaves the different threads of the story into the whole.   Generally the writing is good, but there are areas where she and her editors could perhaps be more vigilant.  I noticed some sloppiness such as repeated use of the same expressions that makes them lose impact (people "waking up with a start" instead of just plain "waking up").

What made me buy her books in the first instance was the fact that Jodi Picault impressed me as a person when she was here at the Cape Town Book Fair (no doubt that book signings, book fairs and book launches are brilliant for sales and to bring authors closer to their readers).  Of course I knew how phenomenally successful she has been as an author,  but I'd never read one of her novels.  I was impressed by her insistance on carefully researching the backround to her novels. Besides, her warmth and spontaneity charmed me.  So I bought the books and duly had them signed...

Her books are good to curl up with for a pleasant weekend read, or to read on a plane or on holiday. I particularly like the fact that she examines interesting and current topics while telling good tales,which is what makes her books stand out from other bestselling authors who sometimes repeat the same formula with different characters but with no new themes to make it really interesting.  Picault clearly works hard and deserves her success.

Jodi Picault signing books during the Cape Town Book Fair 2010.
She was a great sport an immediately wore the 'angel'
alice band that a fan had given her.
Picture & text: © Lee Labuschagne - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED TODAY'S WEBSITE
Madam and Eve:   The wonderful gentle sattire, fun and comment on everyday life from Tephen Francis & Rico have made us smile for years.  Long may this brilliant team of cartoonists continue!

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