Thursday, 31 March 2011

Stephenie Meyer: Twilight 02 - New Moon

In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. The "star-crossed" lovers theme continues as Bella and Edward find themselves facing new obstacles, including a devastating separation, the mysterious appearance of dangerous wolves roaming the forest in Forks, a terrifying threat of revenge from a female vampire and a deliciously sinister encounter with Italy's reigning royal family of vampires, the Volturi.

The storyline again makes for simple, fascinating reading with little science-fiction. This is perhaps less exciting than the first book in the series, but still a fast and great read.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Rebecca Skloot: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells -- taken without her knowledge -- became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences....

What an unbelievable story! The way Skloot put together hundreds of hours of interviews with factual research into medical trials and research projects and the private story of one poor family made for great reading. I would have wished for more details about the Lacks family and less of a discussion about the ethics of clinical trials. However, it still makes for good reading.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Stephenie Meyer: Twilight

When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town. But she finds that her new classmates are drawn to her. But not the Cullen family. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her. He seems determined to push her away until he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella soon discovers that the reason for Edward's coldness: he and his family, are vampires.

I've wanted to read this book for a while now, to understand the hype that comes with the Twilight saga. However, at the same time I've always told myself that I don't like science-fiction and vampire stories - but how wrong I was! The storyline makes for simple, fascinating reading with little science-fiction. I'm already onto the next one of the series...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Mark Logue and Peter Conradi: The King's Speech

One man saved the British Royal Family in the first decades of the 20th century - he wasn't a prime minister or an archbishop of Canterbury. He was an almost unknown, and self-taught, speech therapist named Lionel Logue, whom one newspaper in the 1930s famously dubbed 'The Quack who saved a King'. Logue wasn't a British aristocrat or even an Englishman - he was a commoner and an Australian to boot. Nevertheless it was the outgoing, amiable Logue who single-handedly turned the nervous, tongue-tied Duke of York into one of Britain's greatest kings after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 over his love of Mrs Simpson.

This is indeed a very fascinating story about English history. Also, it is fascinating to get to know the Royal family as a typical English family with their very own problems. Although some sections weren't easy to read, the overall style of writing is easy to digest and follow.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Thomas Raab: Der Metzger sieht rot

Was tut man nicht alles aus Liebe? Willibald Adrian Metzger zum Beispiel, der feinsinnige Restaurator, überwindet seine Abneigung gegen Massenveranstaltungen und begleitet seine heiß verehrte Danjela zu einem Heimspiel ihrer Lieblingsmannschaft – mit tragischem Ende. Denn auch der Tod löst diesmal seine Eintrittskarte und zeigt auf dem Spielfeld die finale Rote Karte. Als tags darauf überdies Danjela ihrer Neugierde zum Opfer fällt, ist es vorbei mit der Gelassenheit Metzgers. Mit einer ordentlichen Portion Wut im Bauch macht er sich auf die Suche nach der Wahrheit und findet dabei etwas erschreckend anderes.

Der Metzger und seine Danjela sind interessante und liebenswürdige Charakteren und die Geschichte ist an sich auch fesselnd. Leider sind ein paar Passagen etwas überzogen und lenken vom eigentlichen Geschehen ab. Dennoch ein guter Krimi.