I love to read, and I love to share my thoughts on the books that I’ve devoured; especially those with beautiful covers and end papers.
In a new literary-link-up devised by Laura Fisher of The Lovely Jumble, myself and a host of bookworm-bloggers will be sharing our Blogger’s Year in Books – the journey so far – and celebrating what it is to get lost in a good book – or not…
Here’s my list in roughly chronological order, from January to now (17 in total):
The Mammoth Book of Shark Attacks – Alex MacCormick
OK, I’m a little obsessed by sharks – my Nana was a lifeguard on the beaches of Cape Town, South Africa – and I’ve been working stop-start-stop-start on my ‘family story’ of her life and my mother’s early life. I wanted to make sure I had my facts straight about sharks, whilst also feeding my fascination for them (see what I did there?)
The book was very interesting, if gruesome in parts. I had a lot of shark-related nightmares while I was reading it.
War Paint: Madame Helena Rubinstein and Miss Elizabeth Arden, Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry – Lindy Woodhead
This was a rich and detailed insight into the lives of two famous, female pioneers in the beauty field. It was quite hard-going in places and took me a long time to read, despite it being such an interesting story of innovation and rivalry.
I don’t think it was the fault of the book per se, it’s just hard sometimes to absorb so much detail in non-fiction form; remembering all the dates and names of those involved. Ultimately it was a huge insight into the lives of these two women and all that they gave us: it was Helena Rubinstein who first came up with the mantra of ‘Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise’. Amazing!
The Amateur Marriage – Anne Tyler
It took ages to read this book too (maybe a month) because I wasn’t prioritising my reading at this time. I enjoyed it but I kept having to re-read pages because I’d lost the thread of the story. The characters felt real and true though and I loved being immersed in the wartime nostalgia of Polish ‘Polka’ dances and that first heady sense of falling in love, the backdrop of war, the sense of community. Moving and tragic.
Based around a group of squatters who come together to ‘join the revolution’ in the early eighties, Alice is a conscientious home-maker who cooks and cleans for her comrades, all in the name of ‘the cause’. I was fascinated by the details of life as a squatter and the careful force of Alice’s character. I was left at the end with a sense of wanting more (always a good sign), and the story still lingers dark in my mind.
In the Prison of her Skin (L’Asphyxie) – Violette Leduc
I’d seen a film of her life and been inspired to read this, though at first I struggled to get into it. She writes in a clever and spare manner using metaphor to convey meaning on subjects that are shocking and revelatory. The story lingered on in my mind after I closed the last page; haunting and sad.