Wednesday, 1 October 2014

September reading


Once again linking up with Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees and her 'Year in Books' - such a great idea, I've already tried books/authors I might otherwise never have noticed or known about.

First on my list is 'The Knot' by Mark Watson. Dominic is an enthusiastic snapper as a child who grows up to be a photographer of people, especially weddings. But he carries a dirty little secret that would appal everyone - if it came out. 

Next is 'Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon' by Linda Newbery. This is the time and day when teenage Rose aged 18, disappeared. Leaving her friends, family, all in total shock. For twenty years her younger sister Anna holds the thought that Rose is alive and one day she'll find her. Will she find her and will it be more revealing than she thought? Like the previous book, a brilliant debut novel.

'The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap' by Wendy Welch is non-fiction, the story of Wendy and her husband who had a dream to open a bookshop. So they do, and whilst the idea of a cosy bookshop, chairs by the fire and so on is appealing, the reality of creating such a shop, and in the town they chose, was very different and there were times when they were close to giving up. But they persevered and now the shop thrives. I chose this book because I collect books about or novels set in, bookshops, and also because Big Stone Gap is where one of my favourite authors, Adriana Trigiani set her novels.

Nina Stibbe's 'Man at the Helm', is her first work of fiction following the success of her previous autobiographical work 'Love, Nina'. This is the story of Lizzie, who with her little brother and big sister leave the family home with their mother when their parents separate. It becomes clear that their mother is useless at the parenting lark alone, and so they devise a plan to find her a man, they make a 'man list' to find a man to be at the helm and make everything all right again. One by one prospective candidates are ticked off the list until the right one finds them, unexpectedly, without any help or interference from them.


'Delicious' by Ruth Reichl is just that, a delicious read. Billie leaves California for New York to work as a writer, and ends up on the foodie magazine, Delicious. When the magazine closes she is the only staff member left to work in the old building, answering complaints and queries from readers. And it is whilst she is doing this she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a young girl, and it is reading about this young girl and her life, how she copes with adversity that has a profound effect on Billie and how she lives her own life, how she copes with her fears. 

'Eleanor and Park' by Rainbow Rowell...  is the story of young, first love. At times it's hearbreakingly sad at the end, and the ending itself... well, you make of it what you will. But the reading of the story of these two young people in their mid-teens, brings back memories of how it felt to be young, and in love. The pain, the ecstatic highs and very miserable lows too. Good read. It's actually classed as young adult fiction, but it can be read by anyone of any age. Even an oldie like me, still able to remember those feelings.

I also read, on my Kindle, 'Elizabeth is Missing' by Emma Healey, a sometimes upsetting novel about living with dementia. Maud is forgetful, goes out and forgets why, has lots of scribbled notes she keeps in her pockets, none of  which make any sense to her when she finds them. But she's certain of one thing; that her friend Elizabeth is missing. So she looks for her all the time. Whilst her short term memory isn't good, she can remember her teenage years and the people who were a part of her life. Well-written, and starkly brings home the reality of what dementia feels like.

I am in the middle of a short course in women's studies, having just finished the first part which is about women's roles in WWII. The two books below are ones I've had since they were published almost twenty years ago, both filled with facts and personal remembrances of that period in our history. It's amazing to think that despite what some of the women were doing - driving tanks, flying aircraft, working on the land, running British Restaurants, doing the dangerous, smelly, noisy work in Ammunitions factories, even parachuting into occupied France as spies -  many of them felt second class, as if their efforts weren't as valid, or valuable, as the work the men did. Yet it has been well documented that without the effort of these women, nearly half a million of them in military service and 6.5 million in civilian war work, it's possible that we wouldn't have been able to put up the fight we did.



So there you have my books for last month. Now autumn is almost upon us, leaves are falling rapidly off the birch trees in my back garden, Christmas magazines are on sale in the shops alongside Hallowe'en costumes and pumpkins. Lots more time for reading hopefully.

Thanks for dropping by.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Edwina, thanks for sharing all your book list. It is always nice to gett a list of recommendations for new books. Going into a bookshop without any idea of what you want can be a bit overwhelming and it is always good to get a second opinion. You are a prolific reader!

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    1. My mind always seems to go blank when I go into a bookshop! So many books to choose from, and have I read that one before, was it on my list - which of course has been left at home on my desk!
      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

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  2. I've not read any from your selection but certainly 'Quarter Past Two on a Wednesday Afternoon' looks like it would be my type of book. I recently read a book called 'Stranger in my House' which was true stories of how families coped when their loved ones came home. Very good. I've read Sante Montefiore's 'Secrets of the Lighthouse' which was fantastic and I have 'The Beekeepers Daughter' on my wish list. Just so many books and not enough hours to fit them all in.

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    1. A new face, lovely to see you! I've left a comment on your blog, thanks for visiting.

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  3. Thanks for the heads up on The Little Bookstore - I adored the Big Stone Gap series and often wish I could read them again, but for the first time!! Delicious has been one of my favourite reads this year too, thought it was wonderful. Visiting from Circle of Pines, I have a couple of links there too.

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    1. I loved the Little Bookstore so much I Googled Big Stone Gap and saw lots of photos of the shop, which looks such a brilliant place to visit. Sad it's thousands of miles away, a bit too far to 'drop in'!
      Thanks for visiting.

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  4. Great list of recommended reading, many of which appeal to me. I'd particularly like to read 'Elizabeth is Missing'.

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    1. 'Elizabeth is Missing' is a really good read, but uncomfortable at times because of the subject matter. But it does give an insight, even if only briefly, into what it must be like to be suffering with dementia.

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  5. Some interesting books there. I've not read any of them but particularly like the sound of the little book store or big stone gap. Your summary conjures up lots of images about the store etc! Look forward to seeing what you read this month.

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    1. The bookstore is just the sort of bookshop I've daydreamed about having. And sadly there are too few of them.

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  6. That is an impressive list of reading in a month. I have not heard of any of these, they all sound really interesting, all for very different reasons.

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  7. Hi Edwina, I always find books by authors I've not heard of when I visit you, some more titles to go on my list, I think! Happy reading for October :-)

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