Pandora in the Congo by Albert Sánchez Piñol
Five words from the blurb: Congo, manservant, jungle, diamonds, mystery
Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez Piñol was one of my favourite books last year so I was excited about reading the second in this trilogy. Unfortunately Pandora in the Congo failed to match the brilliance of the first book. It started well – with a wonderfully atmospheric mystery; but once they headed to Africa the entire book collapsed. The characters were poorly described and the plot became increasingly ridiculous. It seems weird to write that considering the first book was about giant humanoid toads, but something about the writing failed to enable me to suspend my disbelief. Read Cold Skin, but forget about this one.
Hummingbirds in my Hair by Pamela O’Cuneen
Five words from the blurb: diplomat, transfer, Suriname, Trinidad, cultures
For many years I have been interested in travelling to Suriname and the other countries in the northeastern corner of South America. Information about this area is quite scarce so I jumped at the chance to read a review copy of this book about the wife of a diplomat who is transferred to the country.
The culinary information was excellent and I loved the recipes that were included within the text, but I found the rest of the cultural information quite vague. She never fully immersed herself with the locals, only gaining snippets of information from her hired help. Instead of investigating the local area much of the book was devoted to the problems of importing her dog. I guess I’m used to more adventurous tales and the lonely life of a diplomat’s wife wasn’t as exciting or as amusing as I’d hoped.
Like a Virgin by Richard Branson
Five words from the blurb: business, questions, entrapreneur, success, relationships
This book is a collection of interviews and essays about how to successfully set up a business. Branson’s humor and original style shine through the text and there is a lot of useful information included, particularly regarding relationships with those you work with. Unfortunately the information was compiled from press clippings that Branson had done over the years, not written specifically for this book. This meant that much of the information was repeated and by the time I reached the half-way point I was finding little new material. With some editing this would be a very useful book, but I found the repetition frustrating.