Archive for June, 2012


Mad Men?

In Book Reviews,websites,what i'm reading now. . . on June 17, 2012 by mrsdillemma

Mad Men Unbuttoned: A romp through 1960s America by Natasha Vargas – Cooper

I am a huge Mad Men fan, but I’m more of a fan of that time period, the attitudes to sex, to race, to marriage, the social conventions, the fashion, need I go on – the man on the moon, Kennedy’s assassination, the civil rights movement.

Each snippet lets you into the secrets of the world at that time and makes you want to both read more and then watch more – it just never gets old.

I don’t read a heck of a lot of non fiction but I’m not so sure Vargas – Cooper does an outstanding job, the ideas are awesome, the theory and background fascinating but the way she puts it together just seems like a collection of mini discussion points about related topics collated into chapters.

Its worth reading for the research but not as a cohesive whole. As a study of society in the sixties in relation to the characters in Man Men it sort of works, but, one of the most glaringly obvious omissions, is the lack of images / screen shots from the outstanding Lionsgate / AMC TV series. I suspect that the book was an ‘unauthorised’ addition to the information pool.

Having said all of that, Vargas – Cooper’s website is outstanding and a must visit if you’re a Mad Men fan;




My favourite book?

In Book Reviews,what i'm reading now. . . on June 17, 2012 by mrsdillemma

I read a blog post this morning that got me thinking, (for those at home: Can we really just have one favourite book, I’m with her – I have dozens of favourites and I always forget one and think later, damn, thats right, that was really good. So, no I don’t have a favourite book I have a couple of dozen favourites!

For me, it’s really the author that does it, I find one I like and devour all of their work, sometimes it takes days, sometimes years. But along the way I collect titles and other authors of a likeminded persuasion to follow up on when I’m done.

I started this process at university, I took courses that had required reading lists (I always found that harder than choosing a book myself) so I devoured them the summer before and then re-read them as course work required.

But the course that changed my reading life was AMST 106 – Contemporary American Literature. It sounds like a try hard addition to a classical history degree and it probably was to start with but when I’d finished with Don Dellilo’s White Noise I was hooked. Delillo, Pynchon and Kerouac, I’d read them all again in a second. I have branched out from that core group and added Bradbury, Easton Ellis, Auster and I think my favourite Philip Roth. I still have a to read list (titled contemporaries) that continues to grow exponentially; I’ve recently added Jonathan Lethem, Zoe Heller and John Updike.

Having said all of the I will continue to revel in a fiendishly good thriller, probably more often than not. Having just devoured R.J Ellory’s Three days in Chicagoland, Stephen King’s Mile 81 and Karin Slaughter’s Unremarkable Heart. I love an odball character, a gruesome murder and a hero cop / lawyer / journalist that saves the day. I have a list of to reads that is as long as my contemporaries list and it just seems to get longer everyday, the authors I like seem to time their writing to release a new title each and every month and I just cant keep up.

I have a couple of New Zealand authors who are at the top of my “I must read their latest work the second it hits the shelves” Vanda Symon, Neil Cross & Paul Cleave ( all three have been nominated for the 2012 Ngaio Marsh Best New Zealand Crime Novel ) and there are a number of International authors who are outstanding storytellers, I would recommend their writing to anyone who enjoys a good thriller; strong storyline with powerful characters and an exciting enviroment  – Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver, Iain Banks and Tami Hoag.

To conclude, instead of telling you what my favourites are I’ll tell you what’s on my ‘to read next’ list;

Suicide Run – Connelly, Michael.

Night Shift – King, Stephen.

Americana, -Dellilo, Don.

Paper Towns – Green, John.

Gold – Cleave, Chris.

Collecting Cooper – Cleave, Paul.

Bring up the Bodies – Mantel, Hilary.

Bad Monkeys – Ruff, Matt.