Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Bex's Bookshelves: end of summer round-up
No, I have not been struggling through War and Peace, I have just not been taking the trouble to record my reads. I don't have anything excessively intelligent or interesting to say about any of them and I failed to note any quotes but I do like to record all the books I read. So, since the beginning of our summer holidays I have read:
1. A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly
I have a snobby aversion to buzz books. I tend to read them about ten years after the buzz has died down. Sometimes I kick myself because they're brilliant (The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen) and then sometimes, as in this instance, I feel vindicated in my snobbishness. A Gathering Light, or I've Done My Research I Have, was nevertheless hard to believe. And the woman should be given a lifetime ban on using similes, metaphors and symbols. Sometimes things just are, ok!
2. Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey.
I'd already read and loved Oscar and Lucinda and The Illywhacker so when I saw my uncle reading this while staying at my parents' house I dropped lots of heavy hints until he asked me if I'd like him to leave it behind. Yes please. The subject of what happens to master/servant relations when the concepts no longer exist is an interesting one but it's not really a "deep" book. I didn't care, it's a rollicking good read. And if for nothing else, I love it because it allowed me to use the word rollicking.
3. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
Another buzz book studiously ignored. In the middle of our ongoing economic crisis I raided my mum and dad's bookshelves (again... I forgot to mention but A Gathering Light also came from the parentals) and chose this on the basis that the entire world seemed to have read it, except for me. It was good. A bit too didactic and I got bored by the tying up of the characters' lives at the end but it was well written. I'd definitely like to read some more of her work.
4. Behind the Scenes at the Museum, by Kate Atkinson
I bought this for Steph for her birthday because, despite my recent disastrous encounter with Ms Atkinson, I had very fond memories of this book. Rereading it, I did feel it had something of the glibness which so irritated me in Started Early, Took My Dog but the characters are affecting and the story feels horribly real. Ruby is a brilliant creation. She doesn't let you feel sorry for her but makes you care about her deeply. A reminder of how thoroughly we are shaped by our families.