Monthly Archives: April 2007

Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie

crusieanyone.jpgHarlequin Books. 224 pages

40-year old Nina Askew is starting a new life. She’s just divorced her wealthy successful husband for a simpler and more meaningful life. She’s enjoying her newly single life at a rented apartment and gets herself a dog–a miserable looking part basset part beagle old dog which she names Fred. Fred is adorable, lazy and almost bossy–far from the cute and fluffy puppy that she initially wanted to get.

But thanks to Fred, Nina gets to know her downstairs neighbor, Alex Moore, a 30 year old doctor. Alex is easy going, loves Fred, and old movies (just as Nina does), and most of all–handsome. The attraction between them is undeniable yet Nina has so many hangups, most glaring of which is their 10 year gap.

This light rom-com is perfect for those who want relaxed and light reading. The ‘supporting’ characters (the funky bestfriend and the sleazy brother) are entertaining enough but not too irritatingly ‘supportive’ as with other rom-coms.

When you read this book, you will either fall in love with Fred or the story. I’m a dog lover but the story got me hooked more.

the author, Jennifer Crusie

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Sleep With Me by Joanna Briscoe

Bloomsbury Publishing. 306 pages.

Where was this book all those times I was in dire need of an excellent read?? From start to finish, this book has got me like little hooks grazing my skin. This is a perfect example of a terrific material/bad title novel.

Richard Fearon and Lelia Guha are a normal middle class academic London couple with a normal giddy relationship. As the synopsis begins, ‘The day our child was conceived, someone else arrived. She was there as the cells fused, like a ghost.”

Their lives are unknowingly interrupted by this seemingly harmless and plain as obscure french-english woman/girl named Sylvie Lavigne. She is plainer than oatmeal, with features you are bound to forget right after you see her. But in some mysterious and quiet way, she manages to get Both Richard and Lelia smitten over her.

Unknown to each other, both Richard and Lelia develop an affair with Sylvie.

Laced with haunting and beautiful literature, this entire novel is very well thought of, excellently written and perfectly sensual. It touches on lesbian love, obsession, and extra-marital affairs.

I wish this book had the proper marketing and packaging. It’s way better than the last 2 ‘bestsellers’ I’ve read.

 the author, Joanna Briscoe

The Perfect 10 by Louise Kean

perfect-10.jpgHarper Collins. 340 pages

After the Bridget Jones ‘civilization’ has swept most of the female population, I unknowingly developed the biased habit of viewing most ‘chic-lit’ books as being the ‘hatchling’ of Miss Jones.

Cliche as it sounds, but this book has a charm of its own that will remind you once again of B.J.

After successfully dropping down 8 clothes-sizes (from a size 20 to a size 12), Sunny Weston still finds herself very wobbly, insecure and unattractive. Of course, she is more attractive than she thinks she is, and has the brightest personality. But as always, she is single, and has 2 thin ‘friends’.
While taking her LITE Blueberry Muffin in Starbucks one Sunday morning, she sees a strange man try to randomly kidnap a small boy. She chases after the man, thinking of how many calories she’s burning while sprinting.

Another man joins in the chase to save the boy. After enduring punches and kicks, the boy was safely handed back to his mother and the stranger apprehended.

This other man who joins in the chase is Cagney James, an extremely sarcastic and obnoxious man. It was hate at first sight (at the police station) for Cagney and Sunny but they inevitably had to face each other again as the young boy’s mother invites them for a thanksgiving dinner.

The only thing in common that Cagney and Sunny have are their odd jobs. Sunny sells sex toys for women online, and Cagney runs an agency that specializes in catching cheating wives/girlfriends.

You read on as Sunny battles more weight insecurity, a not so ideal relationship with an ex-coworker and this attraction/hate with Cagney.

With the merriment of amusing supporting cast roles–the loveable gay Christian and Sunny’s stoic therapist, the story is not very unusual of an ‘opposites attract’ formula. But it’s definitely funny and heart-warming.

 the author, Louise Kean

Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer

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 Simon  & Schuster; Hardbound. 230 pages.

Has anyone of you read Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim? My Lord, I have given up on the fifth chapter. It’s like listening (or reading in this case) to a drunk man’s non-sequential blabbering!

I already have a general concept on what its about — very simple plot actually. Yet the manner of storytelling has gone abit haywire in my opinion. There was even a foreword (more like defensive prologue) from the author saying that some reviewers have criticized that the book has gone too far. He admitted that he started writing it as a short-story for a newspaper but got ‘carried away’.

Anyhow, I’m going to tune off from reading classics for a while. I’ll take a backseat and enjoy light reading for now. And I started it with reading Sean Hepburn Ferrer’s Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers.

Sean H. Ferrer is Audrey Hepburn’s son from her first husband, Mel Ferrer. If you are planning to read any book or biography about/of Audrey Hepburn, let this be the only one you get your hands on. So many paperback biographies of the actress have come about but none of them are authorized. This book is sort of a memoir that is so intimate and personal you can feel Sean Ferrer’s emotions and feelings rise above the (lack of) literary style or writing.It has over 300 photos from the Hepburn Family Estate collection–some of which have never been published before.

I have yet to come across an actress (present Hollywood) who has the grace and charm of Audrey Hepburn. She may be known for the gamine face but what is most remarkable about her is humility and compassion. Her early years were spent in war and famine and this made her very grateful to every opportunity that graced her life. She may not have belonged to any formal religion but her compassion and work with the UNICEF spent during the last years of her life had truly made a difference. She died from intestinal cancer–which was brought about by taking an extremely strong antibiotic in Somalia. And that is just Audrey the humanitarian. There’s still the Audrey who’s the fashion icon, the dancer, the actress, the artist, mother, daughter, companion, and friend–all of which are perfectly illustrated in the book.

A perfect article on describing/appreciating Ms. Hepburn was written by Cecil Beaton, photographer and visual consultant for the issue of Vogue November 1, 1954:

‘It is always a dramatic moment when the Phoenix rises anew from its ashes. For if “queens have died young and fair”, they are also reborn, appearing in new guises which often create their own terms of appreciation. Even while the pessimists were predicting that no new feminine ideal could emerge from the aftermath of war, an authentic existential Galatea was being forged in the person of Miss Audrey Hepburn. no one can doubt that Audrey Hepburn’s appearance succeeds because it embodies the spirit of today. She had, if you like, her prototypes in France–Damia, Edith Pilaf, or Juliet Greco. But it took the rubble of Belgium, a British accent, and an American success to launch a striking personality that best exemplifies our new Zeitgeist. Nobody ever looked like her before World War II; it is doubtful if anybody ever did, unless it be those wild children of the French Revolution who stride in the foreground of romantic canvases. Yet we recognize the rightness of this appearance in relation to our historical needs. And the proof is that thousands of imitations have appeared. The woods are full of emaciated young ladies with rat-nibbled hair and moon-pale faces. What does the paragon really look like? Audrey Hepburn has enormous heron’s eyes and dark eyebrows slanted towards the Far East. Her facial features show character rather than prettiness; the bridge of her nose seems almost too narrow to carry its length, which flares into a globular tip with nostrils startlingly like a duck’s bill. Her mouth is wide, with a cleft under the lower lip too deep for classical beauty, and the delicate chin appears even smaller by contrast with the exaggerated width of her jaw bones. Seen at the full, the outline of her face is perhaps too square; yet she intuitively tilts her head with a restless and perky asymmetry. She is like a portrait in Modigliani where the various distortions are not only interesting in themselves but make a completely satisfying composite. Beneath this childlike head is a long, incredibly slender and straight neck. A rod-like back continues the vertical line of the nape, and she would appear exaggeratedly tall were it not for her natural grace. Audrey Hepburn’s stance is a combination of an ultra fashion plate and a ballet dancer. Indeed, she owes a large debt to the ballet for her bearing and abandon in movement, which yet suggest a personal quality, an angular kinship with cranes and storks. She can assume acrobatic poses, always maintaining an elegance in her incredibly lithe torso, long, flat waist, tapering fingers and endless legs. With arms akimbo or behind her back, she habitually plants her feet wide apart-one heel dug deep with the toe pointing skywards. And it is more natural for her to squat cross-legged on the floor than to sit in a chair. ‘

I come close to crying every time I think of that scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, playing Holly Golightly, she peacefully strums her small guitar and though her voice is not that of a songbird, she very earnestly sings “Moon River”.

Beautiful.

 

 

 

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