B is for...This summer our Radio New Zealand summer programme has included a daily book review (they always have a daily book review at any time of the year) of books beginning with B. So far they have had Beloved, The Book Thief, the Bible, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Bring Up the Bodies, The Beach, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy, Blue Nights, Brave New World, Black Beauty, and The Bling Ring.
I emailed them with the following: I was going to say there is no doubt about my favourite book beginning with B but already I have thought of two wonderful books. [i]Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was a fabulous book, overturning stereotypes of hostages and terrorists and showing the Stockholm syndrome is just ridiculous nonsense. It is the story of the hostages mostly when young callow boys, urged on by others, take a group hostage. Sympathetic, funny, romantic, unusual in both premise and events, just the most fantastic book.
The other one is Dickensí Bleak House, a big book in all senses. Dickens had a hatred of hypocrisy, powerful people abusing their power and ensuring no-one could get justice, and this is the background to this book, where webs of legal intricacies and shenanigans ensure the innocent are drawn into endless litigation which ruins them. Others are ruined by their own actions, but shown sympathetically. There is anger, humour, disgust, caricaturing portraits of unpleasant or wicked people, a mystery and even a long chase scene (on foot). Atmospheric and compelling. [/i]
They said they wouldn't be reviewing Bleak House. I suppose they had made their choices and contacted their reviewers by then. They all seem to be reviewed by different people. I don't recall them having books beginning with A last year, but maybe they did. Or maybe there is just a good lot of books beginning with B.