The beginning weeks of 2009 are the weeks of firsts. At least as far as challenges are concerned. I have listened to my first 2009 Audiobook Challenge book, read my first Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge book and the first in my fiction category for 999 Challenge.
Let me start off with Chocolat by Joanne Harris. What a delectable novel! It is about Vianne Roche and her daughter Anouk who move into a little town of Lasquenet in France. There, they decide to open a chocolaterie, right across the street from the only church in town. Vianne is a mysterious character, with some psychic powers giving her the ability to know what her customers' favorite sweets are. Until the day Vianne and Anouk came to Lasquenet, they had been always on the move, never staying in one place for too long. Such a way of living was passed on to Vianne from her late mother, who was always running away from 'the Black Man'. Vianne thinks she meets 'the Black Man' in Lasquenet. He is Father Reynaud, a strict priest, whose rules are obeyed by almost everyone in the town. And so, when Vianne comes along, all of a sudden giving the villagers a choice, another social spot, making it clear that she is a non-believer and 'tempting' Reynaud's parishioners with chocolates during the Lent, she becomes Father Reynaud's number one enemy.
Chocolat is a small book, but just like a little chocolate truffle, it held a lot of delicious flavors. The writing is truly poetic, I did feel like I was eating my favorite dessert. Vianne is an adorable character, you can't help but like her. She transforms the little town filled with hypocrisy and bigotry. All the vices get easily exposed but so do the good traits in the residents. And one might look at the competition between the priest and Vianne as very controversial, being that the priest is shown as the most hypocritical character, but I think that Ms. Harris merely showed the difference between the good and the bad in all of us, our attitude to the change, our willingness to accept the unknown and to stay true to who we are, even in the face of great danger.
My first audiobook in 2009 was quite different. One For The Money by Janet Evanovich is a book known and read by quite a crowd. I never belonged to this readership, probably because I have this weird aversion to books that become 'million-dollar' treasures and are glorified by masses. But after having been asked hundreds of times if I read the book and having received starnge looks when I admitted I hadn't, I decided that if i can't read it I can at least listen to it. And I am really glad I did. Stephanie Plum is a girl I can't help but like. She is a ding-dong, getting herself into the most ridiculous sitiuations and yet, I completely identified with her. The book supplied me with a few laughs, many more giggles and even a thrill or two. I have to say that Ms. Evanovich did create a very likable character and supported it with good writing. It was light, entertaining and humorous. I will definitely go for no.2 and who knows, maybe I will even become a die-hard fan.
CHALLENGES: Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge, 2009 Audiobook Challenge, 999 Challenge, 2009 100+ Reading Challenge, 2009 Ban On Spending Challenge