Books- March 2020
Here are the books I read this month. Strange reading back on what I wrote when I finished each book. March started off so normally and ended up in Lock Down. Books I know are going to be what get me through the next weeks and months , a place to escape too, reading from my to be read pile, re-reads or ones that belong to Mr E. So expect a strange selection next month! Have you read any of my March books, what did you think?
Benjamin Hoff- The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet- as recommended by Wild Daffodil in her February Yarn Along post. An introduction to the chinese philosophy of Taoism as demonstrated by Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. A most enjoyable read which I mostly understood. What I really loved was being reminded how much I love the Winnie the Pooh books and the delightful illustrations of Ernest H Shepard! And how much Mr E reminds me of Eeyore, he even reminds himself of Eeyore.
Tennessee Williams- The Glass Menagerie- I’m not quite certain what prompted me to read this play, I suspect it was mentioned in a novel.Written in the 1940s but set in the late 30s in a small apartment in St Louis. Amanda, a former Southern Belle was left by her husband to raise their two children as best she could. Her oldest child is Laura, 25 years old, slightly disabled from an illness which left her with a small barely discernable limp, but with a dreadful sense of inadequacy. She left school without qualifications and flunked secretarial college on day one. Tom is younger by two years, and is narrating the action from memory. Amanda tries to earn bits of money as a shop assisstant and tele sales person, and hankers after the days of servants and gentlemen callers. She is worried for the future of both her children. Laura we learn spends her days walking when her mother thinks she is in college and in the collecting of glass animals. Tom works in a shoe warehouse and longs to escape and travel the world as his father is now doing. In Act One he is persuaded to bring a suitable friend home for dinner to befriend his sister, as Amanda thinks marrying Laura off is Laura’s only hope . Act Two sees the friend coming to dinner. I shalln’t tell more, but I enjoyed reading the play. For a modern audience there is some rascism , but the theme of limited opportunity is still relevant today. I think I may have seen a film version of this back in the 1960s/70s.
Stephen Palmer- The Conscientious Objector- well how to describe this book. Think H G Wells- War of the Worlds or even Dr Who, throw in the Edwardian period,Darwinism, eugenics, WW1, a village of amazon type women with male slaves, a love story, kidnap, automata,and you just about have all the characters and situations in this novel. Decidedly odd and not helped by being a stand alone sequel to a trilogy. Shame because it was quite well written I just didn’t care for it. I got to the end more from determination rather than pleasure, but if you are into Steampunk I guess this could be for you.
Henning Mankell- After the fire- My author from Sweden is the creator of Wallander, and was actually his last book. I could see that he was drawing on this and his own life experience of living in Paris. There is a fire in which Fredik looses his house and everything in it. Fortunately he has a caravan parked nearby owned by his daughter that he moves into, and luckily for him as he lives on an island, his boathouse and two boats, are fine, and the car he has parked on the mainland is also ok to say nothing of a tent and sleeping bag. He also seems to have immediate access to funds.
The theme of the book is very much about ageing, loss of friends, identity, career, and health. There is hope and new life and a sense of things going on , and the need for the old to accept that we don’t live forever. The book has resonated with me, with all the upheaval from Covid 19, at a time when we are trying to move house and are having a big tidy up ( I found the dog basket at the back of the woodshed, it has been there for 10 years and I had no idea we still had it, and a bag of my Dad’s papers which I had put there to be burnt 6 years ago, and so had to go through again), and my step brothers son and wife becoming the proud parents of a gorgeous baby girl. I too have been living with my life belonging to the past amidst the creation of new life.
Fiona Barton- The Child- cracking good crime thriller. My car had a service this month and I had a waiting appointment. Two hours passed very quickly as I got engrossed in this book. A small item in a newspaper effects three people- one woman relives the worst thing that ever happened to her, one wishes to keep her darkest secret and another who sees a good story for her and a chance to shine as a journalist. I did see the final twist coming but not too soon, most enjoyable.
Louise Phillips- The Doll’s House- Trying to read my remaining library books quickly now to get them back before any potential closure- likely because most volunteers are in their 70s. The book is a jolly good murder thriller- spotted the villian of the piece but the ending was very well handled. The book is set in Dublin, but I didn’t really get a sense of Ireland, which was a bit of a shame. Never the less a good read.
Claire Douglas- Local Girl Missing- A good thriller- couldn’t really give it the attention it deserved, tryng to read it fast before the library closed down for the duration. Well written and plotted, lots of possible villains. Worth trying if you like psychological thrillers.
Dan Brown- Origin- And this is where the UK went into Lock Down. The first book from my to be read pile was loaned to me by my son who bought the book in an airport for him to read on a long flight. What can I say- a typical Dan Brown book- religion, symbols, chasing around churches and museums, with Artificial Intelligence thrown in. Perfect escapism.
Will you be reading during the epidemic as a way of coping by escaping into different worlds?
Stay well. x