Another Good month for books! Here’s what I have been reading.
Kazuo Ishiguro- A Pale View of Hills- 1952, Nagasaki- we meet the pregnant Etsuko and her friend Sachiko, a wealthy woman reduced to working in a noodle shop and her daughter. Present day- England Etsuko is haunted by the death of her first daughter. I found it an interesting and enjoyable book, until the end- I don’t like enigmatic endings- I want my endings to be clear, even if it’s that memories are not straight forward- I can live with that, but I spent a while trying to figure out the various daughters… my fault I expect I was reading the novel for its place in time and not as an unreliable narrator novel. I’ve read reviews since with everyone saying they need to re-read it to fully understand it. What do I know – apparently it won prizes. Love to know what anyone else thought if they had read this.
Richard Osman- The Thursday Murder Club- This was a birthday gift from my son Mr J last year. Decided it was high time I read it. It’s jolly good , set in a retirement village, where you’ve guessed it some residents meet on a Thursday to solve old crimes- think New Tricks (TV Programme) meets Three Things about Elsie/ Elizabeth is Missing (books). It’s totally charming, and I didn’t forsee any of the ending. Just a delight- the cosiest of cosy murder mysteries.
Sebastian Faulks- Birdsong- What a wonderful book- one from the Channel five list. Yes it’s about WW1, but there is a love story to begin with and great grandson at the end. I found it fascinating and moving- no glorification of war here, but fear, cowardice, bravery, dispair, and all for what? Absolutely magnificent, and certainly one for my top 100 list, which is filling slowly, if you look at the page called My top 100 books.
Liane Moriarty- Big Little Lies- Well it is a very good book, but it unsettled me a lot. I found myself being drawn into the story while feeling a real sense of menace- did I want to read it or not? I gather there was TV series, which I totally missed- probably not on ordinary TV but some pay through the nose channel. Anyway the themes are friendship, relationships, bullying, domestic violence, love and the school yard- the children and the parents. As it happens I collected my grandchildren from school this week, all by myself- instead of just going along for the ride- couldn’t help noticing that no-one was wearing their power business suits- all that working from home- everyone was in jeans and casual wear- not like the last time I did a school run, some 20 years ago- that aside- it did make me wonder what under currants there were – I tried not to stare as I did my wondering. I have included this book in my top 100- it says a lot about the times we live in, especially in the week in which a woman was kidnapped and murdered whilst walking home one evening in London which then led to a vigil for her one night which the police then broke up in a heavy handed way under Covid legislation. Love to know what you thought if you have read it. Did you feel the menace I speak of?
Ian Rankin- Knots and Crosses- This one was from the Channel Five list. I’ve not been a fan of the Rebus TV series so wasn’t sure what I would make of this book. It’s the very first Rebus book, and gives the backstory of Rebus’ s army career and personal life. It was ok. Probably won’t bother with anymore in the series, but never say never. The thing I did like was he is a Detective Sergeant therefore not the bod in charge. Made a nice change.
Laura Ingalls Wilder- Little House in the Big Wood. Utterly charming children’s story. Thanks to everyone who has mentioned it in recent weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Who knew you could eat bears, and that there are panthers in America and maple syrup is sap. The life seems to have been hard but happy. I am just full of admiration for all the skills they had. We have lost a lot.
And that’s it for March. The exceedingly good news from my viewpoint, is that I had an email telling me my local library is re-opening next month, no more trekking into the rather grotty town centre.