Books: Currently reading: Labyrinth, Kate Mosse. It's... hm. It's OK, but the author's done lots of research and is really keen to put as much of it in the book as possible. I'm not so worried about the occasional foreign-language oddments, but it jars when the (modern-day) heroine is walking through a town and it says
She walked up X Street to Y Square, passing Z Avenue on her left and pausing only to look in the window of A B & Sons.
Unless I'm actually reading a tourist guide, I don't really care what the streets are called; I'd much rather just have description along the lines of
She walked up the narrow street towards the bustling square, cursing her stiletto-heeled shoes as they caught in the cobbles. At the corner of the next street, an elderly man sat on a rug, dozens of pairs of gaily-decorated sandals laid out before him. He smiled and called out to her, brandishing a pair that looked as though they might fit and would certainly be more comfortable than the fashionable pumps for which she'd paid so much in Rome.
Well, maybe not exactly like that. But you see what I mean. Dan Brown is guilty of much the same (among many other sins).
It's the local book fair next week and I've just taken delivery of a bunch of books from our friend S who was clearing out some of her spares. (Yes, yes, believe it or not, I do have friends who will get rid of books.) I've nabbed a few for me and for my mother-in-law, but the remainder actually will make it to the sale -- I'll take them down there when I go to help sort out their SF/fantasy stuff next week. I've got a couple of bags of leftovers from the (continuing) Great Garage Clearout, too; with any luck I may actually take along more books to donate than I actually buy. If I count S's, anyhow. (Mind you, there was a Michael Marshall book in her stash. That might be grounds for excommunication. ;))
Speaking of MM(S), I have just had a copy of Cuerpos Ajenos arrive on my doorstep, which is the Spanish version of the short story collection What You Make It. I finally managed to make arrangements with our friend who lives in Barcelona to get me a copy; so much cheaper than trying to order it from Spain myself. Time to practice my Spanish ahead of our trip to Granada later this month.
My father-in-law and step-mother-in-law don't have access to a computer, and thus we have a complex barter system going on which involves them swapping Marks and Spencers vouchers to us in return for us ordering stuff online for them. (And then we swap the vouchers to my parents for cash; like I said, it's complex.) Normally this works fairly well, but the current book they're after is cursed, as far as I can tell. I'm currently on my fourth attempt to source it. Supplier #1 managed to lose my phone number, email address etc. and thus didn't get back to me to tell me that they couldn't get the book concerned until I called and wondered where it was. Supplier #2 had a listing for it on Abebooks but then replied to tell me it had already been sold. Supplier #3 sent me... well, they sent me a packing note bearing the book title I wanted and its alleged ISBN, but enclosing a completely different book (with that ISBN). It looks as though the (small) publisher may actually have screwed up when they assigned the ISBN; the British Library record gives the ISBN on the packing note, and the ISBN for the other book is allegedly different. I'm now trying supplier #4, with a note that I know there is an issue with the ISBN and they should please check what they're sending me.