Sunday, 25 October 2009
The Sunday Salon
The read-a-thon ended for me at lunchtime, I took a good long walk into town (a 3 mile all round trip) picked up some holds from the library, have lazed around a bit and have made 2 handmade bookmarks. Was thinkig I was going on a crafting binge, then got a phone call from my ex, saying he was back in the country after 6 months away. It was very unexpected as he's not due back for a month and I would have like to have been prepared, we're friends but in that uncertain way with exes. So now I'm in a funny ole mood.
Anyway, back to books. I'm going to do a very quick round up of the books I read during the read-a-thon.
Starting with my least favourite The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, I was expecting great things from this, mainly because I had heard that Neil Gaiman (one of my favs) had written the introduction for the new edition and he said it was one of his greatest reads. I was blocking out the fact that I hadn't liked The Wonderful O either. From what I can remember (i was reading it during my mega tired hour, and I was struggling with everything) this is a fairytale type story. The beautiful princess is promised to a man as a child, he sets a challenge for another man to win her hand. There was stuff about jewels and tears and some pictures which I hope were painted in the 1970s. Oh well its another one knocked off the 1001 list. One star.
Ok the rest of this post isn't going to be that whiney.
I also read The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachen. From the synopsis on the back of this I thought it was going to be the aventures of a girl who flies around the town as a detective. Wrong I was. Gwenni has a vivid imagination, she complains that she could fly as a small child but now can only fly in her sleep and she thinks the jugs on the shelf are watching her. She is also a very sensitive child, living in poverty she is fed cheep meat each night, her thoughts about the meat have put me off eatting mince for the rest of my life. She grows queasy at the sight of blood and feels sick if upset.
Her mother is scared the neighbours will think she is mad so she is constantly shouting at the child, and picking on her. Gwenni goes to visit a neighbour on the day of a disappearance, she becomes convinced that this man should be found and sent back to his wife. From this day on her mum becomes 'sensitive' and becomes more and more aggressive towards Gwenni.
It was an average book, clearly a first novel but a fairly easy read-a-thon read. 3 stars
The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat this was a fab read for the read-a-thon, the chapters were short, and it was a good story. Set in Haiti in the time of the problems between the Haitians and those from Dominica. We followed a young girl who had been orphaned as a child. She was rescued by a wealthy man and went to live in his household and trained up as a maid. Her boyfriend is underpaid and treated badly in his job as a cane worker.
When her boss kills one of his friends in a car accident the feelings of oppression which have always bubbles under the surface break and evryone is suddenly pulled into the middle of a civil war. She escapes across the border hoping her boyfriend and friends will manage to make it over and avoid the bullets.
The story was good, but has that feelig of familiarity to it. 4 stars.
My Children! My Friend! by Athol Fugard. I added this play to the pile at the last minute as it was so tiny and looked like something which would be good for those hard hours. I ended up reading this as my final book (I'd had a nap so I wasn't tired when I got to this). The South African play involves only 3 characters, an 18yr old black boy, an 18 white girl and his teacher. It quicks off in the middle of a debate over whether women should have an equal role in their society. The boys arguing along the tradition route while the girl is saying Africa needs to catch up with the rest of the world. Both very intelligent their comments are well formed and a friendship develops.
Despite living very different lifes, not just in terms of culture but also in terms of wealth they are brought together again by their teacher for a literature quiz in which he mentors them. The teachers role is vital to the play, he asks her if she would like to participate while he just tells the boy, he justifies this by saying a teacher in a black school in Africa must demand respect and obediance.
Under the surface we are aware that a rebellion is going on and just waiting for a moment to break out.
If you haven't read this go borrow it from the library and read it. Its only 68 pages and you'll be so glad that you did. 5 stars