This edition of the Book Pile features reads from some fellow bloggers – I hope you will check them out and see for yourself what has so pleased me. And as a complete aside, today happens to be my third anniversary on WordPress – what a great three years it has been – thanks to all you lovely folk out there xoxo
Bits of a Boyhood
An on-line biography found here subtitled ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’
I have never liked reading electronically, though many have told me the kindle is eye friendly- I just like books! I like the weight of them and the smell of them and the feel of them. I like reading covers and back covers and author profiles. I like rifling the pages and fiddling with my book mark which is tactile and friendly in my hands when the story is winding down or I am winding down ………. Despite that, late last year I spent some time reading an on-line biography written by Mr Bruce Goodman of Weave a Web fame. Covering the fifties and sixties and set in rural New Zealand the story is told compassionately and humorously of growing up in a large, rambunctious, Catholic family. I know much of the era and the areas and the descriptions resounded strongly for me. The pathos and humour of a boy sometimes struggling to understand the complex world of older siblings and grown-ups was a delightfully innocent read. Do wander over and have a read, it’s free and it’s delightful and give my friend Bruce a thumbs up.
And, coincidentally, Just to stay in a similar vein, I began this past months reading of real books with the delightful
Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle – Geoff Le Pard
I should start by admitting I’m not much given to reading a book where the protagonist is a nineteen year old youth ….. and I continued past the first pages only because I had promised to read and review Geoff’s book. And yep, was I glad I did!
I’m a fan of Geoff’s writing style – found on his blog TanGental. I loved his month long supply of short stories back in November and marvelled over his ability to swap genres and weave on-going dramas for the same character. My question was would his ability with short stories bear up in the quantum leap to a novel?
I can’t remember when I last read a book where the story unraveled so clearly and independently before my eyes in the form of a movie. There is something in the author’s writing style that allows the reader, or at least, me; imaginative space to ‘see’ the characters and the context in it’s entirety, the whole scene unfolds like a movie – the entire book is a movie waiting to happen!
The story is wryly witty, the ongoing movie informed me when incidents evolved into laugh out loud comic moments or segued into moments of despair or desperation.
In the end what I loved most was the manner in which the story unfolded and revealed itself only as much as it did to the poor befuddled teenager, Harry. Girls are a mystery to him and these ones were to me as well. His parents behaviours and words make no sense – what is going on? Harry’s love and care for his grandmother is a tender side story that weaves throughout, though even she is now a mystery to him. As Harry twigs more to what is going on, so do we. The characters reveal themselves sometimes in surprising ways and the end denouement is exactly what Harry himself would have wanted!
I’ve got another book by Geoff Le Pard in the pile. I deliberately didn’t pick it up straight after finishing this one – I was so tempted, but I wanted to give this book time to settle.
[But I’ll tell you about the next one, next month, because now this post is up, that book is open!]
So I started in on
The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith
I actually struggled to get into this little book. I found the character of Isabel Dalhousie a bit stiff and unreal and not quite right……. I wonder if it is because it is a man writing – and his descriptions of a woman’s thought processes and emotions are not necessarily actually accurate. Or maybe I have just never known a woman of such a degree of philosophical ilk. Despite this, the thing I really like and appreciated was that the story stayed real, quite relatable to how real people I know might have responded in such a scenario. In other words, no derring-do, no flights of fancy, no taking on the baddies in the face of great odds. Just a slow peramble through gentle nosings and visits and the unravelings of the mystery. When the gripping bit does come it is actually chillingly real. I know I’d respond the same way. I don’t know if I’d read another one, but I might. If you are a fan, please do share your thoughts on these books, I’d love to hear them – I might be being totally unfair and judging prematurely and thereby missing out on further good reads. [Heaven forbid!]
Included in the ‘currently reading pile’ are two little volumes I’m opening at random and reading a page from most evenings.
One – [A Compendium of Inspiration]
The first is a gift sent to me by my friend Norah which I mentioned in my last post. The photo shows the cover which bears the inscription ‘How many people does it take to make a difference’ alongside the giant digit one. Inside the front flap poses the thought: Instead of asking ‘What can I get from life?’ watch what happens when you ask “What can I give?” Which is a philosophy I thoroughly approve of!
It’s filled with little inspirational texts and quotes to ponder and muse over and take into sleep. I feel really honoured that Norah thought of me when she saw this book and went to the trouble of sending it to me. It’s appreciated and enjoyed Norah, thank you. It makes a lovely gift!
A Certain Age – Cynthia Jobin
The second book I’m picking up every evening is an anthology of poetry from the pen of the rather delightful Cynthia Jobin who blogs at littleoldladywho where you can savour her words both written and spoken.
Cynthia writes about the commonplace, the every day, she writes too of love lost and love found. She writes of her animals, her family, the seasons and festivals. And sometimes she writes and I wonder, ‘Now, what triggered that?’
The art of the poet, I feel, lies in making the reader share the experience, in causing the breath to catch, the eye to burn, the ‘Oh!’ to form or a chuckle to rise and so often, having read, to sit and let silent contemplation fill the soul. I so often experience one or more of these responses when reading the work of Cynthia Jobin. Do wander on over and see for yourself.
That’s it for this month on the reading front. Do share what you are reading and add in any thoughts to the books I’ve mentioned.
Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.