January 2010

Dead Famous

I must admit, it is probably my dislike of reality shows that drew me to this book. Dead Famous by Ben Elton is a thriller whereby a contestant is murdered in one of those over-hyped reality show programs. Thus, the cops spend quite a bit of time observing the rest of show, trying to figure out the murderer. While this is essentially a thriller, it also contains a number of commentary about fame and reality shows in general. It is such commentary that makes the book worth reading.

The overall story is about a bunch of hopefuls who wish for a grander life simply by being part of a reality show called House Arrest. The contestants are folks from all walks of life.

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

There are so many books that portray Africa in a negative light that it is wonderful to come across a story which defies the 'everything falls apart in Africa' theme. The book in question is of course the famous The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. It is a heart-warming novel that follows the fictional tale of a detective agency run by a woman in Botswana. Actually, I should add that, in addition to avoiding the Dark Africa mentality, this author also covered a number of other topics rather well: gender norms in Africa and cultural adaptations to a new era are just some of these said topics. All of which certainly added to the appeal of this book.

As I mentioned earlier, the main plot is about the first female-run detective agency in Botswana.

Round Ireland with a Fridge

I know, I know: everyone else who has read the book said the same thing. But I'll say it as well – Round Ireland with a Fridge is definitely one of the funniest books I have read in a while. I first came across it on BBC radio when they broadcasting audio versions of the book. Since then, I nabbed a print copy for myself and throughly hooked to the novel. I must admit, I did enjoy the book all the way through.

Round Ireland with a Fridge traces the bizarre real-life journey of comedian Tony Hawks as he attempts to hitch-hike around Ireland whilst dragging along a fridge. Why embark on such a weird trip? Turns out, Hawks made a bet with one of his mates and that's how this fridge journey came about.