What I'm Reading This Week: 15th December, 2014

I did it! Last week, I completely caught up with my reading (pats self on back). As some had been hanging around for a couple of weeks, I feel relieved…and ready for something new.  This week, that means books but not authors as I’ve read other books by the first two writers on my list this week.

The book: Take Me Home by Daniela Sacerdoti

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The blurb: Inary Monteith’s life is at a crossroads. After a stolen night with her close friend Alex, she’s just broken his heart by telling him it was all a terrible mistake. Then she has to rush home from London to the Scottish Highlands when her little sister’s illness suddenly worsens – and in returning she must confront the painful memories she has been trying so hard to escape.

The reason: I read Daniela Sacerdoti’s first novel Watch Over Me and remember loving it. I missed she had released another book until now – this came out last December- but as soon as I saw it on the shelves at the library had to read it.

(Revisiting) The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingslover

Over the last few months, ever since I started my blog, I’ve been thinking about all the books I’ve read in the past and loved.  Some of these were big hits at the time and have been forgotten, some have become classics since, some – I’m discovering – aren’t anywhere near as good as I remember them.   Without meaning to, I realised I’ve been picking these books up as I wander round the library and, although I wasn’t planning on reviewing them, I thought I might start sharing them as I revisited them….at least the ones I’d still recommend!

First up is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which I first read about 10 years ago.

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In 1959, Nathan Price, an evangelical Baptist Minister from Georgia, takes his wife and four daughters to Kilanga, a small village in the Belgian Congo to carry out missionary work. A religious zealot, he sets about trying to convert the local population but, having made no effort to understand the them, ends up alienating the villagers instead. At the same time, his wife and daughters struggle to come to terms with their new lives and how they fit into the world in which they find themselves. It is through their eyes – primarily those of the four girls – that the story of what happens next is told. Not surprisingly, each has a very different reaction to the village, the people and the Congo. As their father becomes more fanatical, two events change their lives forever. We follow each woman from these events and through their lives (up until the 1990s).

Classic Club Spin (No. 8)

For November/ December I’m taking part in The Classic Club’s “Spin” again, choosing 20 books from my main Classic Club list. A number from 1 to 20 will then be chosen at random tomorrow, November 10th. I’ll then have until January 5th, 2015, to read the book.

Last time I got A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf and loved it so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another good pick. For the last spin, I let my daughter randomly select which ones to read. This time, I’ve chosen books under four categories to see how that works out for me.

Books I Really Want to Read

1. 1984 – George Orwell

2. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

3. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

4. East of Eden – John Steinbeck

5. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene

Books I Really Don’t Want to Read but Feel I Should

6. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

7. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

8. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

10. Bleak House – Charles Dickens

Books I Know So Little About I Don’t Know if I Want to Read

11. The Golden Notebook – Dorothy Lessing

12. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan

13. The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins

14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

15. Lacuna – Barbara Kingslover

Books I’ve Read Before and Hope are as Good as I Remember

16. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

17. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

18. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

19. The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy

20. Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey

And that’s the list. the number has been drawn and the winner is No. 13 The Moonstone.

 

Happy Reading!

Emma x

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Title: The Dud Avocado
Author: Elaine Dundy
Published: 1958
Source: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

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It’s 1958 and Sally Jay Gorce, hair “dyed a marvelous shade of pale red so popular with Parisian tarts”, is an aspiring actress in her early 20’s and living in Paris courtesy of her rich Uncle Roger who, after one too many runaway attempts as a teenager, told her he would pay her way for two years once she had finished college so she could have the adventures she dreamt of having.

“I just want to eat about a hundred million oysters and two tons of caviar and go swimming naked in champagne…”

Dying her hair is just one of the many ways she has embraced the Parisian way of life; she hangs out with artists, stays up late drinking absinthe and has become the lover of an Italian diplomat (not his mistress, he already has one of those). From pretty much page one of the book, her life is disorganised and chaotic; when we meet her, she is in an evening gown in the middle of the day as she slept late and missed picking up her clothes at the dry cleaners.

“That’s the story of my life. Someone’s behavior strikes me as a bit odd and the next thing I know all hell breaks loose.”