Sunday, December 13, 2015

Miss Buncle's Book

Miss Buncle's Book
by D.E. Stevenson

Barbara Buncle is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara's bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel ... if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out. 
To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It's a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Buncle's world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?

My Reaction:
I'm giving this 4 stars out of five, based purely on my own enjoyment of the book.  It's not quite a 5-star book for me, nor even a "4.5-star rounded up to 5" book.

I found this book quite enjoyable-- a good old-fashioned tale about good old-fashioned people in a good old-fashioned Britain-between-the-Wars.  Most of it is fairly predictable, in my opinion, but that only contributes to its "comfort book" cred-- and it manages a pleasant freshness, despite the fact that it wasn't always particularly surprising.

This is a very cozy read.  There's humor, but it's softened by a degree of sweetness that never becomes downright sappy.  It's more realistic than P.G. Wodehouse (though also nowhere near as witty and hilarious).  It's less biting than E.F. Benson's Lucia series (and again not as funny).

I'd recommend Miss Buncle's Book as an antidote to the blues.  If you have a weakness for "between the Wars" Britain and that comforting village/small town vibe, this hits many of the right notes.  It would be a good choice for "hunkered down in bed/on the couch, feeling just a little ill" reading.  It's charming!  It's comfy-cozy!  It's the first in a trilogy (so if you love it, it doesn't have to be over, yet)!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Pigs Have Wings

Pigs Have Wings
by P.G. Wodehouse

My Blurb:
Another day, another pig-napping plot (or two).  It's business as usual at Blandings Castle.  We have lovers torn asunder by interfering relatives, lack of funds, and unfortunate mix-ups-- espionage and intrigue in the high-stakes world of competitive pig-fattening-- and more.  Fortunately, Gally Threepwood is on the scene and equal to any challenge.

My Reaction:
(This was a shared read, as per usual for Wodehouse.)

I enjoyed it, but if Goodreads enabled half-stars, I'd have rated this one as 4.5 stars.  Instead, I'm reminded of the many, many laughs and rounding it up to 5 stars.

Why the wish to dock a half-star?  Well, there was a certain... not quite staleness, but repetitiveness...  Of course, as anyone who's read more than a few of his books well knows, Wodehouse is repetitive.  In the essentials, one of his books is much like another-- particularly within the same series.  It's the sparkling presentation that makes him wonderful.  Maybe it's just my mood-- maybe I've read one too many in a given length of time-- or maybe this particular book is somehow lacking in comparison with some of the others.  For whatever reason, in this one, that repetitiveness was ever-so-slightly more noticeable than usual.

Another nit-pick is that Lord Emsworth felt like a different character, at times, from his usual self.  He seemed a little too "with it", at times.  Not his usual completely oblivious, head-in-the-pig-shaped-clouds self, if you know what I mean.

All in all, a very amusing read.  The last bit-- the "news clipping"-- was the cherry on top.