What I’m Reading This Week: 27th April, 2015

Belated happy Monday all.  Hope you had a good weekend – ours was lovely, with lots of sun on Sunday and St. George’s Day celebrations at Kenilworth Castle with medieval knights and battling dragons.  Unfortunately, it’s now back to reality and work and a slightly grey day (still better to be grey while I’m working vs. the other way round).

Blog-wise I managed to get two reviews posted (I’m always so far behind on these I’ve decided to stop beating myself up – I will end up black and blue otherwise). They were:

Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cummings – a memoir that I didn’t enjoy as much as I thought I would, possibly because it was an audio book but also possibly because my expectations were too high

Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro – short stories disguised as a novel telling the story of a girl growing into a woman in Ontario in the 1940s – loved it!

Book-wise this week, I am starting with some non-fiction – The People: The Rise & Fall of the Working Class by Selina Todd which I’ve heard great things about.  With the election less than two weeks away and the rhetoric about hard working people that has been thrown about it feels appropriate to be reading it.

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What was it really like to live through the 20th century? In 1910 three-quarters of the population were working class, but their story has been ignored until now. Based on the first-person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, award-winning historian Selina Todd reveals an unexpected Britain where cinema audiences shook their fists at footage of Winston Churchill, communities supported strikers, and where pools winners (like Viv Nicholson) refused to become respectable. Charting the rise of the working class, through two world wars to their fall in Thatcher’s Britain and today, Todd tells their story for the first time, in their own words.

I’m (hopefully) going to follow it up with The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter which, again, gets good reviews although I know little about it as it’s a review copy that caught my eye.

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Deep in the woods of northern England, somewhere between a dilapidated estate and an abandoned Victorian asylum, fifteen-year-old Jane Standen lived through a nightmare. She was babysitting a sweet young girl named Lily, and in one fleeting moment, lost her. The little girl was never found, leaving her family and Jane devastated.

Twenty years later, Jane is an archivist at a small London museum that is about to close for lack of funding. As a final research project–an endeavor inspired in part by her painful past–Jane surveys the archives for information related to another missing person: a woman who disappeared more than one hundred years ago in the same woods where Lily was lost. As Jane pieces moments in history together, a portrait of a fascinating group of people starts to unfurl. Inexplicably tied to the mysterious disappearance of long ago, Jane finds tender details of their lives at the country estate and in the asylum that are linked to her own heartbroken world, and their story from all those years ago may now help Jane find a way to move on.

And that’s it for this week – as The People is over 500 pages long I’m not sure I dare consider reading more than two books and that might be pushing it – what about you, what are you reading?

Have a good week!

Emma

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