Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Working my way through a reading challenge



I like a challenge. I like the idea of perhaps reading books I wouldn't normally read, expanding my horizons you might say, taking myself out of my reading comfort zone. So why are none of the above particularly challenging, or out of my comfort zone I wonder? Well, perhaps The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang wouldn't be my normal choice, but one of the boxed to be ticked on my reading challenge list was 'A book you can finish in a day', and this was it. A charming little story about... well, a hen who dreamed she could fly as it says. The hen is called Sprout, tired of laying eggs that get taken away from her, and just wanting to hatch a chick, be a mum. She escapes from the coop, runs off into the woods and there discovers an unhatched egg, still warm. Nobody arrives to claim it, so she sits on it.... and if you want to know what happens, you'll have to read the book!

Another book ticked off was 'A book with more than 500 pages' and for this I chose 'American Wife' by Curtis Sittenfeld, a novel about an American First Lady. I suppose if you are up on American politics, then you might be able to recognise some of the Administration characters, even the President and his First Lady. I have an idea who it is, but will keep that to myself in case I'm wrong. Alice Blackwell is the fictional First Lady, somewhat against her will and better judgement. She managed life fine as the wife of a State Governor, but when he ran for, and became President, their life changed dramatically, not least because of the security around her which meant leading a 'normal' life was out of the question for her, her husband and their daughter.

I have long been a fan of Carol Shields, so when I saw this book, 'A Celibate Season' written in collaboration with another American writer, I had to read it. Charles and Jocelyn (Chas and Jock) are separated when Jock goes away to work for a year. They continue their relationship by letter, and this is how the novel is made up, letters between them, a rather old-fashioned method of keeping in touch they both agreed on in preference to emails. Their marriage, previously strong, begins to suffer under the strain of separation, she is too far away for frequent trips home, and the few they manage to arrange turn out disastrously for one reason or another. When Jock is given the chance to extend her job, she is tempted, but the chance comes to nothing in the end, but will going back home to the usual routine of married life, help heal the rift?

A couple of other categories have been ticked off this month also with 'The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes' by Anna McPartlin about Rabbit, a woman in her forties, dying from terminal illness and spending her last days in a hospice. Sad at times of course, but also positive on other levels. And Anne Tyler's 'A Spool of Blue Thread' ticked off another. I have all her books and she is one of those writers who for me, never fails to please. This is the story of Abby and Red Whitshank, young lovers now married for several decades, getting older and with a family wondering how best to take care of them in their older age. Abby begins going walkabout, not remembering where she is going, which adds to the families concerns. A story of enduring love.

'Chances' by Freya North is the story of Vita who runs a gift shop, not a very profitable one as her ex-husband Tim, is always too quick to point out. Oliver runs his own tree surgery company, with a secret love life. When he and Vita meet, there is a chance that for both of them, this could be the start of something big, they are being given a chance to make fresh starts, but will they see this?

And Melissa Hill's 'A Gift to Remember' was a cross-over book, almost finished last month end, but not quite, and now done so it appears on two blog posts. About a girl who works in a bookshop, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I can't resist such a setting for works of fiction and also books of non-fiction. Darcy works in a bookshop, is a keen cyclist, and one day accidentally knocks over a gentleman, who ends up in hospital, with no memory! She has taken charge of the dog that was with him, out of guilt more than concern for the dog initially, and each day visits the hospital, wondering when he will realise that she is the cause of his being there. And when he does, what will happen, because of course, by then, she's rather fallen for the handsome stranger.

Looking forward to sharing this on Laura's blog at circleofpinetrees.com.

Thanks for reading.


14 comments:

  1. Hello - just seen your book challenges and choices - the challenges are far too much for me, but I very much like the look of The Hen who dreamed she could Fly - and you've really made me want to read to know what happens. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. A new 'face'! Hello... thanks for commenting. I see you live in Yorkshire, my home county, and I love your sculptures. My brother-in-law is a Master Stonemason and woodcarver having worked on many of the historic buildings in the UK, several of the Cambridge colleges, Houses of Parliament, and so on. I so admire people like you, with the talent and skills to create something beautiful out of something beautiful, stone.

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    1. Someone else new, lovely. Thanks for visiting.

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  3. I have read "Breathing Lessons"by Anne Tyler and think that I have a few that I haven't read. Love the idea of a reading challenge. All those lovely books. You really are a prolific reader and am inspiring me to read more. Xxxx

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    1. Well, knowing how busy your life is, I'll bet it's hard to find time sometimes to just sit and read! But thanks for visiting...x

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  4. I have The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes. It was given to me as a gift for my birthday. It's in amongst my books for Spring. I should imagine it is a very emotive book but I am very much looking forward to reading it and soon.

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    1. The 'Rabbit Hayes' book is quite emotive yes, but having known several women in the same position, it is also very true to life. Not in all cases of course. But it's a great read.

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  5. I like the sound of the Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly and the others look good reads too. Good luck with the rest of the challenge, Edwina.

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    1. Hi.... The 'Hen' book is ideal if you've got one of those lazy Sundays planned. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. what a great range of books, a spool of blue thread sounds like a good read. I am enjoying seeing the progress you are making with the challenge!

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    1. Hello Katie, thanks for visiting. Love the black and white photo on your recent blog post. I am a big fan of black and white and want to do more of it this year.

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  7. Wow thanks for sharing - there are a few there I want to read! Especially 'The American Wife' - that sounds very good!

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