The month of February was a dire month for reading. I started a book I didn’t like and couldn’t finish. Thanks to some light reading in terms of Sandi Toksvig’s memoirs, I got back in the mood again. So to what I have read recently. Starting from the bottom of the pile in the picture below and working up, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Australian writer Jessie Tu is the tale of a young violinist, who had been a child prodigy, before having a break down. As a young adult, she uses men as an escape from her loneliness and the void left by her previous fame. It was an interesting exploration of a young woman coming to terms with who she is, but it won’t be for everyone – read this review to find out why.
The Glass House by Emily St John Mandel was the book I choose for this month’s work book club. The theme this was ‘a book set in two countries’ and this fitted the bill perfectly, being set on Vancouver Island and in New York. Part thriller, part mystery, it is the story of…well a failed Ponzi scheme, success and failure, the lives of a young woman who meets a rich man, her half-brother, and many important incidental characters. I quite enjoyed it, particular the unexpected moments, and would recommend it as a different sort of read. Some of you may have read here previous novel, Station Eleven, about a pandemic, which I haven’t done, and not sure if I want to in 2021!
Then we come to a problematic book. I had loved Curtis Sittenfeld’s most recent book Rodham, so had gone back to this earlier work of hers, Eligible, which is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice. I read that it was actually part of a series of the retelling of Austen’s tales, which this review thought pointless. I’m not sure that is fair, but while Eligible is well written and observed, I found the ‘prejudice’ elements far too many and far too obvious. It was almost as if she thought ‘how many modern prejudices can I get into one book?’. A pity as I so enjoyed the other book of hers, and have another one in my pile, as well as the short stories in the featured image (I’ve read one – about prejudice again). If you have read this book, what did you think?
And so we come to Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who Had 60 Whiskers – whilst maybe not the best in the series, always perfect comfort reading for a Sunday afternoon.
In the non-fiction spot, I dipped in and out of The Best American Food Writing. These annual anthologies are always quite interesting, though sometimes I have a complete lack of cultural references with the collection being so US oriented. Still, it is good to learn! One of my favourite podcasts is 99% Invisible, so when I heard there was a book coming out, I had to get it. I managed to find a copy a few weeks ago (books are one of the things suffering under Covid supply chain issues), and it is a lovely book to browse with so many interesting stories stemming the podcast.
Finally, I have been enjoying reading this month’s Cuisine magazine, and have re-read Peter Gordon’s Savour for inspiration as summer ends and autumn approaches.
Have you read anything good recently?
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