Light reading this week, because work’s too dreary:

1) Second Prize, Chris Manby
Predictable plot about a girl who falls for the wrong guy, neglects someone who’s better for her, but eventually comes around. Easy reading, with an occasional interesting play of humour that made me smile.

2) My Favourite Wife, Tony Parsons
Don’t like this at all. An English lawyer moves to Shanghai with his family, and ends up getting attached to a local girl when his wife and daughter return unexpectedly to London. “Western” interpretations of the “East” have never impressed me, especially when the author says things like:

“She had that Chinese ability to suddenly flare up, to go from placid blankness to self-righteous rage in one swift move”,

“The East was practical. The East could not afford to love. The West was romantic. Because the West could afford to love”,

“He had been told that they did not feel love in the way that he felt love, that they responded to acts of kindness and generosity with all of their body and heart, but that was not love, they told him, not in the Western sense of the one true one, the partner for life, the unmet lover found at last. Not love like that, like love back home, the way that it was meant to be, they said. Not real love the way it was made in the West.”

No, don’t like this at all.