Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

November Books!

Some more wonderful books this month.  Love to hear what you have read recently, I really enjoy your recommendations.

June Emerson- Albania-the search for the Eagle’s song. Not only is June an artist, a practising musician in her 80s, still working in the sheet music company which bears her name and inspiration and organiser of the Repair Cafe, she is also a bit of a travel writer. There is no end to her talents. In the late 80s on almost a whim she spotted an advert for a guided tour in Albania. Thus began a love affair with the country, the music and the people, and in due course two booklets. A Fascinating read. This lady really is my role model.

Ian McEwan-Nutshell- unborn babe with amazing thinking skills over hears his mother and her lover planning the murder of his father. The book struck me as odd and thought-provoking, until page 124. How could I be so dense? I had my “Reading like a Professor” lightbulb moment. Then all of a sudden the book was clever, sheer genius and brilliant! Loved it. If anyone is looking for a book for Book Club, this has got to be one, so much to get your teeth into, don’t let people give up, See how long it takes for their light bulb moment. Even the names of the characters should have told me. As I said , just dense.

Kate Atkinson- A God in Ruins- a stand alone follow on from Life after Life. The main protagonist is Teddy Todd, RAF fighter pilot in the Second World War. There are a lot of chapters about this part of  his life as well as about his family. It’s a good read, but the chapters are each very long, too long to read one at bedtime, at least for me. They also dot around a lot from one time period to another , which is confusing to me as I couldn’t always recall who the secondary characters were from one chapter to when they appeared again. Also I got bored with them all, the book is just too long for me, which is what I thought about Life after Life. Love to know if anyone else has read this one and what you thought.

Joanne Harris- Blackberry Wine- I have waited ages for this one to appear in the library. It’s a lovely book, if you enjoyed Chocolat , you will enjoy this too. Young boy befriends old man who is a whizz of a gardener and herbalist. Later on young boy as young man writes a best seller based on the character of the gardener, then moves to France where the magic begins.I was reminded of the message from Joni Mitchell about the pink paradise putting up a parking lot, the sentiment fitting in with our discussion in my York City Wallls post on tourism. One of my favourite book this year.

Samuel Beckett- Waiting for Godot- re-read of a loved play, prior to seeing in performed at the Stephen Joseph theatre in Scarborough.. It’s like marmite you love or loathe it. A play in which nothing happens while waiting for Godot. Bit like life!

Emma Healey -Elizabeth is Missing- this one was recommended to me by Simply Hooked in the October books comments. A woman in her late 70s in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, worries why she can’t find her friend Elizabeth and why no-one listens to her concerns. This story is entwined with her earlier life and her missing sister. A good read and especially good for highlighting the symptoms of this terrible condition, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as one after another of my own Mum’s peccadillos, as we thought them at the time, were mentioned. Especially poignant were the endless notes and the most irritating reading out loud of street signs. A well observed book, and I would sincerely recommend everyone reads this, because it may save you months of misery whilst you try to cope in these early days should your friend or relative fall victim to this illness.

Have you read and enjoyed or not enjoyed any of these? Has anyone been to Albania? I spent a long time reading about the country after reading June’s book on t’internet, fasicanting country and the folk costumes looked so Greek to me. And please do give me your recomnedations. Rainbow Junkie, I am reading yours right now An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris.


Comments on: "November Books!" (30)

  1. I have read and loved reading Blackberry Wine and a God in Ruins. I will have to check the others out 🙂

  2. I admit I’ve not read much recently pm but I did really enjoy Elizabeth is missing. There was some real food for thought on perceptions of others in that book!

    • I found it very good at picking up on early signs of dementia which a family might not spot. Whether the way Maud interpreted things we can’t know if this is an accurate portrait, by the nature of the illness itself. The sad part is that the early symptoms include mood swings which alienate friends. My Mum had always been what friends called fiesty and that tipped into downright nastiness. A horrid illness.

  3. I have just picked up Chocolat to read again! Thank you for your recommendations xx

  4. I simply don’t read enough, and if I do I get halfway through and abandon it. I guess that’s a new years resolution sorted already!

  5. gillyflower said:

    These sound great. I’ve had my eye on Blackberry Wine for some time now — must try it!

  6. I almost gave up with Life after Life until I got into the rhythm of it and so probably approached A God in Ruins a bit more prepared to run with it. I heard Emma Healey on Simon Mayo’s Radio 2 book club and was so enthused that I ordered it there and then. I loved the book and have recommended it to several people. I should probably read it again as I’m a bit of a rusher and tend to miss rather important bits in my haste to see what happens in the end.
    By the way, I’ve taken note of some of your recommendations and go to the library armed with a list. I’ve just finished His Bloody Project, which I would never have picked up previously, so thank you.

    • Anne, that is so wonderful to know I have helped you create a list of books to try. I write my posts straight after I finish each book, I try to give enough information but without spoiling the reading pleasure. So glad you enjoyed His Bloody Project. I just got a bit confused with A God in Ruins, lots of characters with similiar names confuse me, like Sheila and Stella.
      The Emma Healey, was a good read and I was most grateful for the recommendation.

  7. Wow these sound good!

  8. I loved Life After Life except for the ending where I felt she just ran out of steam and wanted to end the story somewhere somehow….. And I’m not an Ian McEwan fan, but you have aroused my interest with your review 🙂 I’ve never been to Albania – maybe you will go and tell us all about it……..

    • I think I wuld love to go to Albania but I doubt Mr E would ever want to go. I think Kate Atkinson struggles to know when to just stop!

  9. thanks for those reviews . . . I’ve jotted down a few of the titles

  10. I loved Life after Life, although i initialy found it very slow, so will give the Kate Atkinson one a go. Have to try the Ian McEwen after your write-up. I loved Elizabeth is missing you and I have read Blackberry Wine but can’t for the life of me remember it!

  11. Cathy, I can always count on you to come up with some very interesting sounding books! I am going to start looking for your favorites, they sound really good.

    • I hope you find one you enjoy. Compiling a list of authors and asking for recommendations has meant I have read some really enjoyable books this year, and I love sharing my impressions.

  12. You have two here that sound wonderful to me. “Nutshell” and “Blackberry Wine.” I have so little time for reading these days but as the winter lengthens, that may change. I have never been to Albania and will probably never see it but do envy your friend who stretches herself in so many directions.

    • I seem to have read a lot this year, better than watching tv! June is amazing, such a full life. I am very conservative cmpared to her.

  13. So glad you read ‘Elizabeth is missing’ and (like me) empathised with the some of the characters. I am afraid I have not tried ‘A God in ruins’ , having really not enjoyed ‘Life after Life’ I felt it would be more of the same. Too much dashing about between different time periods and characters for me. I do love Kate Atkinson’s earlier work – especially the Jackson Brodie novels.

    • I really liked Elizabeth, thank you. It was incredible reading it and thinking yes Mum did that. I honestly wished I had known what was going on with her much earlier, but shoe covered it so well and got ratty if you tried to clarify something. A wicked illness.
      There wasn’t all that going back to the begining with A God in ruins, it was just too long. I acutally skipped the last flight she wrote about because there is only so much one can take. My favourite was the one set in York, Behind the scenes of the museum, probably because it was York.

  14. Some of these sound wonderful! I am reading a book by an old favorite author, Helen MacInnes, that I found at a used book table. I hadn’t read this one before, The Target. It is good and suspenseful. I think it is a bit predictable but you never really know that until the end! I am expecting some twists. 😉

    • Thank you. I shall look out for this author. I volunteer at the local library and it is when I am shelving I find all these wonderful books people have mentioned, thank you, she is a new author for me.

      • She is an oldie, though. Cold war suspense novels. I hope your library has some of hers. If not, let me know. I’ll share with you.

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