Mobileread
New Leaf Still Life by Louise Penny
#11  issybird 11-16-2020, 07:01 AM
Quote Uncle Robin
It appeals to me - I have hesitated to get involved because of feeling a bit intimidated by the structure of the clubs, and the erudition of the members.
Maybe after the new year once we’re past the holiday season? (Perhaps we could do a Wodehouse. ) People should always feel free to suggest a group read.

Quote
As for Still Life, your concerns nicely sum up why I always try to give new series 2-3 books, to see if the author develops a voice that interests me. Penny did, although I do find the series wildly uneven in quality and appeal.
It’s a combination of impatience, life being too short and so many books to read, but I couldn’t give an author so much scope to improve. What I did do when I hit the wall was check the reviews on Goodreads to see if I should muscle through. While the book is very highly rated, those who didn’t like it, didn’t like it for the same reasons I didn’t, and I took that as sufficient reason to give up, but I admit that’s totally confirmation bias!

Quote CRussel
I'm sorry you quit as early as you did, issybird. And I agree, the town does seem stunningly twee. But, you know, I LIVE in a twee and cliche kind of place where I don't ever lock my doors (though I'm tempted when my neighbour is trying to unload his corgettes), so I can't really hold it against Penny. And yes, the bistro couple are multiple cliches. But that misses my 2 solitudes comment completely, because the parts highlighting that don't even start until after Gamache appears.

That being said, the ongoing character of Agent Yvette Nichol is probably my least favourite aspect of the series. For one thing, I'm sick to death of the "insecure female" meme. And for another, she's just a really annoying character.
I don’t lock my doors either, although I wouldn’t describe my town as twee. What it is, like Three Pines, is relentlessly non-biased and sensitive so it’s not as if I don’t know they exist - although I don’t think that aspect has anything to do with not locking my doors. And your description of the sidekick doesn’t encourage me to try again! Unfortunately, a poor start makes it hard to muster my interest, but perhaps down the line I will try a later book.
Reply 

#12  poohbear_nc 11-16-2020, 09:14 AM
I got hooked by the first book in the series - quirky, inconsistent, obvious freshman effort in writing a mystery - I was intrigued by the concept of a town that was not on the map, and the interactions of the people within it. Gamache began as an outsider, and his role in the series increases as he increasingly becomes integrated into the town.

The murder scenarios were always fantastic, but connected with Three Pines.

I had to stop reading the series after the books pivoted away from Three Pines, with Gamache taking on the entire Canadian government, the entire northern hemisphere drug traffic cartels, and lately, the entire French government. And winning ....

Ruth Zardo is one of the greatest characters ever created, IMHO. And the use of Margaret Atwood's poetry is stunning.
Reply 

#13  issybird 11-16-2020, 10:29 AM
Quote poohbear_nc

The murder scenarios were always fantastic, but connected with Three Pines.
I know I invoked Stars Hollow, but it sounds as if Cabot Cove also applies.
Reply 

#14  gmw 11-17-2020, 06:58 AM
First up: I apologise for my absence for the previous book (indeed an absence for the last 6 weeks or so, I think). I was ... lots of stuff really, but let's keep it simple: unavoidably detained. I didn't read last month's selection, and I didn't even read this one this month, but I have read it before, and recently enough that I have both my review written at the time and a reasonable memory of it. So...


I enjoyed this book. I liked the cast of characters, even the more stereotypical ones were done well enough to keep me entertained. The only character that didn't work particularly well for me was Yvette Nichol. There were a few things through the story that didn't sit perfectly well with me, but mostly I thought it played out well and resolved in the expected tradition of this genre. The conclusion did not surprise me, but there were enough distractions along the way to keep me from being certain, and I found the ride to be well worth it.

BUT, for all that I did enjoy it, I have not rushed out to read more. I have the next couple on my reader (collected on special since reading the first), but haven't been inspired to come back yet. I expect I will - eventually.

I agree with Uncle Robin's comments that there is no point trying to compare this to the work of Agatha Christie. There may be overt similarities in genre, by they feel quite different to read.
Reply 

#15  Bookworm_Girl 11-17-2020, 09:48 AM
I enjoyed but didn’t love the book. I like the village life depiction and mysteries in the “Bruno, Chief of Police” series better. I will likely read more in the series. I’ve heard that the next 2 are a little weird and that the series really hits its stride with Book 4.
Reply 

#16  Luffy 11-17-2020, 01:10 PM
Quote gmw
there is no point trying to compare this to the work of Agatha Christie.
Why not? Would that be a mandate, if you'd had your way? I love comparing apples and oranges. It's a necessity, an urge, totally rational, and useful to those that are compelled to compare.
Reply 

#17  gmw 11-17-2020, 07:44 PM
Mandate? No. But the exercise feels pointless to me because I found the two quite different to read (both quintessentially their own place and time), and so liking or disliking one is not going to be an indicator for liking or disliking the other - which seems to me to be the main/most-useful reason for making such comparisons.
Reply 

#18  Uncle Robin 11-17-2020, 07:56 PM
Quote poohbear_nc

I had to stop reading the series after the books pivoted away from Three Pines, with Gamache taking on ...lately, the entire French government. And winning ....

Ruth Zardo is one of the greatest characters ever created, IMHO. And the use of Margaret Atwood's poetry is stunning.
Agree 1000% on Zardo and thanks for the heads up about Penny's latest. I bought it, but have been humming and hawwing about reading it, since her last few have been more miss than hit for me, MUCH more in the case of a couple. I'd hoped the move to Paris might have been a refreshing change, but apparently la plus ça change... Sounds like I can let the Devils live where they may, without disturbing them.
Reply 

#19  Luffy 11-18-2020, 02:39 AM
Quote gmw
Mandate? No. But the exercise feels pointless to me because I found the two quite different to read (both quintessentially their own place and time), and so liking or disliking one is not going to be an indicator for liking or disliking the other - which seems to me to be the main/most-useful reason for making such comparisons.
Liking Godfather II is not an indicator for liking or disliking III. What you said can be applied to anything. I have somewhere a long list of how the book, LoTR is just a clone of The Hobbit, and the similarities are very convincing, making both books in their underlying stage, as derivative as one Dickens novel is to another. If I had completed Gamache, I would have been able to point out the similarities. But even that's not the point, though it needed to be said to address your POV. What's the common familiarity between one work of art and another is the way your brain reacts to it, and that is the foundation for my comparing different books, movie, songs etc. E.g, I am able to say that my top three works of art are 1. One Piece, 2. Harry Potter, and 3. The Beatles. I am able to do that because of the way my mind reacts to them. I don't mind others voicing their preferences, more power to you, but please don't generalize and make it a natural way of viewing the world.
Reply 

#20  Uncle Robin 11-18-2020, 03:12 AM
Quote Luffy
LoTR is just a clone of The Hobbit, and the similarities are very convincing, making both books in their underlying stage, as derivative as one Dickens novel is to another.


Of course LotR and the Hobbit are very similar, they're by the same author and the similarities are intentional. and commented on at length BY the author himself. That's NOT comparing apples to oranges, and is not a valid argument in defence of comparing dissimilar works like those of Penny and Christie
Reply 

 « First  « Prev Next »  Last »  (2/5)
Today's Posts | Search this Thread | Login | Register