At Dockside: Fielding's Olivia, Sparks' World Tour

Here is where you will find what's new at St. Thomas' well-known, well-read Dockside Bookshop at Havensight Mall. Every week you will find new titles to peruse. Look for updates of our "picks" for fiction and nonfiction and, at the end of the reviews, new tradepaper books.
DOCKSIDE BOOKSHOP STORE HOURS
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Phone: 340-774-4937
E-mail: dockside@islands.vi
"Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination" by Helen Fielding. Viking, fiction, 305 p. $24.00
Considering the number of writers who've tried, and generally failed, to do plummy Bridget Jones one better, it only makes sense that Fielding should take a vacation from the genre she spawned and seek (sort of) greener pastures. Her new inspiration? Think Ian Fleming. Fielding's ridiculous, delicious, wildly improbable plot goes something like this: Freelance journalist Olivia Joules ("as in the unit of kinetic energy"), formerly Rachel Pixley (her whole family got run over when she was 14), gets bumped from the Sunday Times' international coverage down to the style pages thanks to the titular imagination (e.g., a story about a "cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia"). In between ducking twittering PR reps and air-headed blondes at a Miami face-cream launch party, she uncovers what looks like an al-Qaeda plot, headed by a dreamy Osama bin Laden look-alike, who is either (1) a terrorist, (2) an international playboy, (3) a serial killer or (4) all of the above. Languid, mysterious Pierre Feramo returns Olivia's interest, and thus begins an around-the-world adventure that has plucky Olivia eventually recruited by MI6. In addition to the fun spy gear (e.g., Chloé shades fitted with a nerve-agent dagger) there are kidnappings, bomb plots and scuba-diving disasters. Olivia is slim, confident and accomplished; ostensibly, she's "painstakingly erased all womanly urges to question her shape, looks, role in life," etc. But she still has her bumbling Jonesian moments, and though she may not need a man, she'll get one in the end. What's wrong with the book: two-dimensional characters, dangling plot threads, the questionable taste of al-Qaeda bombings in an escapist, comic spy novel. What's right: girl-power punch, page-turning brio and a new heroine to root for.
Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Three Weeks with My Brother" by Nicholas and Micah Sparks.
Warner Books, nonfiction hardcover, 356pp. $22.00
Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author of several novels ("The Notebook;" "Message in a Bottle"), turns his hand to nonfiction in a hybrid that mixes personal memoir with travel narrative. Chapters alternate between descriptions of the exotic locales visited on an around-the-world excursion with his brother Micah and incidents from their shared childhood and Nicholas's adult life. The greater part of the book is devoted to memoirs that read like Sparks' novels; indeed, it would appear that he has drawn much of the inspiration for his fiction from personal experience. The travel chapters are disappointing at best. Sparks drones on about the minutiae of the trip while offering little description of the famous landmarks he visits (Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal, Easter Island) beyond the usual postcard writer's platitudes. In fact, the entire book is cliché-ridden, with short, choppy sentences, unexciting dialog, and a dearth of modifiers. However, Sparks' legion of readers will undoubtedly find the details of his personal life appealing, and there is certain to be strong interest in this title.

New Tradepaper Books

1. "Bay of Souls" by Robert Stone, $13.00
2. "Fluke: or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings" by Christopher Moore, $13.95
3. "Hot Legs" by Susan Johnson, $15.00
4. "The Mammoth Cheese" by Sheri Holman, $13.00
5. "Dutch: The First of a Trilogy" by Teri Woods, Bernard James, $14.95
6. "Before I Let Go" by Darren Coleman, $14.95
7. "Samaritan" by Richard Price, $14.00
8. "The Last King" (Strivers Row) by Nichelle D. Tramble, $13.95
9. "In Love and War" by Denene Millner, Nick Chiles, $14.00
We will gladly order any books you want. E-mail us at dockside@islands.vi, or call 340-774-4937.
DOCKSIDE BOOKSHOP STORE HOURS
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Phone: 340-774-4937
E-mail: dockside@islands.vi

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