Tuesday 17 September 2019

I have been reading, honest

Life has been weird. We had a couple of months of hectic activity on the house and then I ran out of both money and energy. The bathroom is still in process, looking fab, but delayed somewhat by cutting the top off my thumb with the Stanley knife, and now waiting for a suitable day to redo the bath sealant.

The list of books unreviewed has been growing and I just wanted to make a record of them for posterity, or whatever:

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi - a magical realist story of Perdita and Harriet and their strange provenance and the gingerbread with peculiar properties. (Realised looking at her website that I read Mr Fox too some time ago but did not like it.)

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: vignettes from the life of a young girl Esperanza, considered a coming-of-age classic.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz: thriller about a woman who changes her identity to escape her past; rather implausible much of the time and a predictable ending.

The Siege by Helen Dunmore: I love Helen Dunmore, many other of her books read and reviewed here. This one follows a family as they live through the siege of Leningrad during the Second World War, despite the extreme cold it is warm and life-affirming.

Fever Dream by Samata Schweblin: I read a list of recommendations of translated novels and requested a few from the library. Fever Dream is a scary and surreal story, it is about a mother's bond with her child, and the extremes they go to in the face of threat. Hard to describe and it left me disturbed.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Winner of the Pulitzer in 2015 this has been on the shelf for some time. I loved it as much as I anticipated. It is the story of Marie Laure, a blind french girl, and Werner, a young german boy, and the war that uproots their entire existence and leads them to a place where their lives brush gently up against each other. It is the kind of story that you can allow yourself to sink in and live it with the characters, beautifully drawn characters and meticulously historical, I wish there were more books like this in my life (and that I had the energy to do it justice).

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore: Have done a lot of late night insomnia reading of this short story collection. Have struggled with the stories being long enough to get thoroughly engaged and then feeling dropped as they end, and also the sense that they are about the same people in slightly different situations and times in their lives. She is so highly thought of but I feel a bit underwhelmed.

So quite a bit of variety, despite feeling like I have lost my mojo. The readathon is coming up in a few weeks so will try and recapture it.

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