Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sometimes I Read

Portrait of  Man Darning Socks

Well goodness me, it's ages since I blogged about my reading list!

That pile of books did not defeat me after all, and I have been working my way steadily through all those and more.

The ones I read but haven't written about went like this:

The Proof of Love - The summer of '76 in Cumbria.  Remember that summer?  Very very hot, even Up North.  I was reminded of The Go-Between with added hippies.  The main character annoyed me.  The ending was rushed.  But, you know, not bad as a library book (I wouldn't pay for it.)

Spin Cycle - Three women who work in a Glasgow laundrette: their lives, lack of love, and strange obsessions.  Quite disturbing (Certificate 15 sex and violence), highly evocative of its environment and its time (absolutely contemporary).  I could quibble with the likelihood of those characters working in a laundrette and I could complain about the denouement, but I won't.  I liked the appropriate peppering of Scottish expressions through the narrative - not at all alienating, rather stylish.

Alone Together - Nah, not my sort of thing.  People don't speak to each other now we have technology. "Let me experiment with my own child - oh, how interesting my child is." Really?  Nothing startling.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Oh my word.  I almost stopped reading early on, because the death of Grandpa freaked me out.  But I think I may have been having a sensitive day.  The more I read, the more I thought it was a sort of sub-par Harry-Potter meets Sapphire and Steel with Americans trying to do Welsh accents.  BUT... the idea of pinning the story around genuine Victorian photographs of Peculiar People made for compulsive, spooked reading.  Probably more suitable for a Young Adult than an Old Cynic. 
The Age of Shiva - ah, here we are, I thought!  The Good Read! ( I thought.) I read Manil Suri's earlier book, The Death of Vishnu as soon as it was published, and was waiting for this for far too long, and somehow missed its publication.  I love the flow of the writing, the immersion in a culture that it isn't my own, and the absolute humanity of the characters.  I was taking my time with this one...  until suddenly I had had enough.  That uncomfortable-to-read tribute to breast-feeding at the beginning is revisited as the child gets older, and I suddenly thought: "I don't like the way this is heading.  I don't trust this author enough to keep reading.  Anything could happen..."  So I stopped.  I'm a sensitive soul.  And something else?  It was a library book and it was full of debris:  hairs, crumbs, dead insects.  Ugh.  It put me right off.

Green is The New Black -  a "dipper" (as in: you can dip in and out of it and not miss anything).  A guide to ethical living, mostly fashion-based.  Worth borrowing from your library, with lots of UK ethical resources I had never heard of, but mostly out of my price range.  Excellent run-down on where to find the best charity shops.  Peppered with celebrity anecdotes which were more interesting than I expected (not having heard of most of them!)

Also read:  The Enduring Melody by Michael Mayne.  Look, I was reading it to find out what it was like to have cancer of the jaw.  I didn't expect it to be fun.  It wasn't.  Very "Radio 4".  I was glad to finish it.

Reading now?:  a Biography of Sylvia Townsend Warner by Claire Harman.

P.S.  Gratuitous photo of FL for no reason other than to prove that he does, in fact, darn his own socks!


didyoumakethat said...

I love your book reviews! Thanks for posting more.

Gail said...

A man darning socks! I've never actually seen this mythical creature! Awesome!

argie said...

I think maybe you would like Rules of Civility by Amor Towles...the best new book I've read recently. (It's set in the late 30's and has some great descriptions of clothes, by the way.)

LinB said...

I find myself returning again and again in my mind to An Incident of the Fingerpost, by Iain Pears. It's sort of Rashomon meets P.D. James meets the Protestant Revolution. Don't know if you are familiar with it, or if it would interest you at all. It's a hefty tome -- I'd borrow it, were I you.

Law said...

Love a man that can darn. Great reviews too.

Felicity from Down Under said...

thank you for the reviews, thought provoking as ever. And what a rare and treasured creature that is, a man who not only can but actually does darn socks! Worth hanging onto. Really.

Sarahel said...

Whatever you post about you're thought provoking. I really enjoyed the reviews, and marvel at your reading productivity on top of all the sewing and knitting. And I love the photo - and my OH has the same shirt.

Roobeedoo said...

Argie and LinB - thanks for the recommendations! I haven't heard of either of those before and will add them to my library list!

Sarahel - the same shirt?! LOL

Scruffybadger said...

I tried to comment yday, but my mobile device wasn't having any of it! But, I too love your reviews, remember you got me started on Maggie o farrell, and have just finished the fantastic esme lennox.
Sorry to mix commenting up too, but yes, postage increases! What the.....?!?*&%#!