SUNDAY SHOUT-OUT: RON ELLIOTT & PENNY FEENY

SHOUTOUTIs there ever such a thing as too many books? I don’t think there are too many books to read, but there can definitely be too many to review. Often I’m sent books and, with an already sagging review shelf, these unsolicited books often end being overlooked – I just can’t fit them in to my schedule. Sunday Shout-Out aims to acknowledge these books and the publishers who have sent them to me.

Sunday Shout-Out is a bookish meme hosted by Monique of Write Note Reviews. If you’re a book blogger and you want to join in, just:

  • Share the title, author, blurb and image from a book (or more than one) you want to acknowledge
  • Share the genre, price and link to the publisher so readers can follow up if they like the sound of the book
  • Ping back to Write Note Reviews in your post.

1. Now Showing by Ron Elliott (fiction $29.99) – published by Fremantle Press

For the price of two movie tickets, Ron Elliott’s criminally good mini novels bring cinema’s best known genres to the page. Celebrate the celluloid as you read your way into a noir movie, romantic farce, comedy heist, thriller and classic Aussie road movie. Brimming with cinematic references, Now Showing is best consumed with a tub of hot popcorn.

‘After the fashion of the best crime novelists, screenwriter Elliott adopts a plain, quietly witty style with lots of dialogue, establishing his characters with expert brushstrokes and making the action gallop along.’
Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald,The Age and Canberra Times

Reviews have been very positive for Now Showing, but I just haven’t been able to get to it. It contains five mini-crime novels based on five cinema genres and is full of film references. If you like short stories, off-beat characters and a cinematic flavour, this looks like a thriller of a read. I’m going to set it aside for a day when my review shelf looks a bit less saggy.

2. The Apartment in Rome by Penny Feeny (fiction RRP $19.99) – published by Profile Books and sent to me by Allen & Unwin

The Apartment in RomeAmbitious art photographer Gina lives a glamorous life in bustling Rome. Her edgy shots of refugees have been receiving rave reviews and commissions for future work, and things in her personal life have finally settled down. But just when she thinks she can sit back and relax in the apartment she was left by her unconventional husband, a chance encounter sends her world into a tailspin. Sasha, an exchange student from England, had been excited to come on an adventure to Rome. But when she arrives the reality of living in the busy city is a sharp shock. Taking refuge with Gina in her art-crammed apartment, Sasha befriends one of the refugee models from Gina’s work. But this innocent act complicates Gina’s busy creative life more than either of them knows. From her precious apartment Gina juggles her hectic life and relationships. But there are men in Rome who wield power and influence in devious ways and Gina has to fight them – and some painful memories – if she is to keep hold of her hard-fought independence.

Another book that has been languishing on my shelf after several attempts to read it. I love books about Italy and the premise of this book appealed to me. For some reason, I could not relate to the voice and I found that I just didn’t really care for the characters. What I did learn, from reading half the book, was that there’s a different side to Rome including asylum-seekers and poverty, that is rarely highlighted in fiction or film. This one has had good reviews – I just couldn’t connect with it.

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What do you think? Which of these books would you read?