Sunday, 28 December 2008

Last Post of 2008

The Sunday

I hope you all had a good Christmas/winter festival/Cuthbert day this week. Failing that, I hope you had a good week. Alas, I had to work on Christmas Eve which was a weird occurrence. My previous jobs have been connected to retail so Christmas Eve has usually been busyish. In the end we did end up getting away 90 minutes early so all was not lost. Oh and we had cakes at the morning tea break which lasted for an hour. Huzzah!

Due to being ill last week I was rather behind in Christmas preparations so this week was rather quiet on the book reading front. I did continue with Hogfather but it doesn't seem to be doing it for me. Many of my friends adore Terry Prachett but his writing seems to leave me a little cold. I do marvel at the amount of books he can churn out (in my copy of Hogfather his biblography covers two pages - and is presented in small print) but Discworld does not do it for me. However 2008 was the year of tackling books I had previously abandoned so perhaps 2009 will continue in the same vein.

The Boyfriend bought me three books for Christmas this year:
La's Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith
Watchmen by Alan Moore (influenced by Justanothersheeldz)
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

which I have managed to keep my mucky paws off this week. The Mothership got me a grammar book to help with my Latin which was muchly appreciated.

Since Christmas Day I have existed in a waste-of-space continum and have alternated reading books on the comfy sofa, reading books in the bath and in my bed. Notice a pattern developing here? I picked up a bookring that has been kicking me for the past few weeks (i.e. get a bloody move on!) called Beyond the Narrow Gate by Leslie Chang. Leslie's parents are Chinese but emigrated to America in the 1950s. Leslie appears to have a distant relationship with her mother and explores this relationship by examining the lives of three of her mother's schoolfriends. All four women went to a school in Taiwan after fleeing from Chairman Mao in various capacities. Leslie's mother, who Anglicised her name to Mary, fled because her father was part of the Old Regime's army. I am enjoying this book but it does repeat itself an awful lot. For the third time I am told Mary did not excel at school or that one of her schoolmates was the daughter of a government official. Perhaps this serves to reinforce the links these women have but the repetition is getting on my bloody nerves. It's still a good read though and provides an insight into the Chinese immigrant population in America post-1950s.

My, now rather soggy, bath book is The Sisterhood by Emily Barr. I love Emily Barr for writing such dark chick lit. Her characters always seem to err on the unhinged and rarely are any of them likeable. The Sisterhood follows three women: Liz, Mary and Helen. Liz is a women in her late thirties who discovers her partner of ten years is having an affair. One night stand later Liz is pregnant and facing bringing up a baby on her own. This raises some confusing emotions because Liz was abandoned by her mother as a baby. Helen is a girl in her late teens who lives in France. Snooping through her mother's things one day she discovers her mother, Mary, had been married before. And had a baby called Elizabeth. It wouldn't be dramatic if Helen decided to track Liz down in an attempt to turn her family into a perfect one. You just know this book isn't going to end well. I picked it up a few days ago and have been racing through it. A very good holiday read and with a decent plot that keeps you gripped. Despite the (intentionally) weak and unlikebale characters, I still want to keep reading, find out more and the resulting conclusion when Helen's motives become clear to Liz. If you like your chick lit with a bit of bite then Emily Barr is yer woman. I thoroughly reccomend Baggage and Atlantic Shift as well.

Before I sign off, I must say I've really enjoyed sitting down the past couple of Sundays with a cup of coffee and hammered out my thoughts on books. So part of my New Year's Resolutions is to try and keep this blog more up to date. The Boyfriend's mother gave me some lovely paper notebooks for Christmas and I am determined to record my thoughts about books in a more coherant manner. Better than "This book wuz guid. Read it." Every year I try to keep a list of books I've read but usually I fail. Plus I don't start my new course until September (and possibly have a spell of unemployment between finishing work and starting the course) so that should leave more time for reading. And all other manner of self improvement.


Ms Alex said...

Yay for more posts on books from you, I like your reviews!

A Woman with an Opinion said...

Aw, shucks thank you :)