It’s been a month of thought provoking books for me. Do please let me know your thoughts, even if you haven’t read any of these books.
Jem Lester- Shtum- Jonah is 10, autistic, and can’t talk. His parents Ben and Emma are struggling to meet his needs and are now trying to select an educational setting for him. The one chosen by the local authority is unsuitable, but their choice is residential and very expensive. Emma suggests that if Ben was the sole carer there would be more chance for their selection. So Ben and Jonah move in with Ben’s father Georg. The novel takes you slowly through the painful appeals process for the school , gradually revealing just how difficult it is for them all. Towards the end everyone’s back story is told. A difficult subject told with great sensitivity. Recommend this one.
Mary Beard- Women and Power – I’d been thinking about those poor women and girls in Afghanistan , which by a convoluted way round my thoughts led me to thinking about the clever women on TV who get trolled or dropped from programmes because they got old, which made me think of Mary Beard and wondering if the library stocked her books. They do, including this book based on some lectures she gave. Her lectures led to the most disgusting and vile trolling I have heard of. So I read the book, very short and accessible- subject matter, how women have been denigrated, side lined and silenced by the male of the species from Ancient Greece to Hillary Clinton. Well worth the read.
Arundhati Roy- The God of Small Things- it won the Booker Prize. I can see why, an interesting use of language and a distinct style with a good plot. Only problem was that I struggled with it. The names and nicknames were hard for me to recall, who was who. The style was different ,but then the constant going backwards and forwards with the timeline confused then annoyed me. Language was interesting , it captured beautifully the make believe world and chatter of children who struggle to first make sense of the adult world before abandoning the attempt for their world of make believe. Throw in the caste system , love and marriage, the role if women, communism and there is a great book. Only two thirds of the way through I had had enough and just wanted the author to drop it all and just get on with telling the tale. But it did win the Booker, so that just proves I am a bit of a heathen, that I like a book to be straightforward!
S J Watson- Before I go to Sleep- good twisty pyschological thriller, Read in less than 24 hours. Christine has lost her memory. Every morning her husband Ben has to explain who she is, who he is, and how to stay safe whilst he is at work. Thrilled to find after I read this I had a recording of the film, which was good, but the book is much better.
Solomon Northup- 12 Years A Slave. It so happened that I also had recorded the excellent film 12 Years a Slave, which I watched this month and was pleased to see it was based on a book of the same name . I was even more pleased to get my hands on a copy of the book from the library. The film had been made a little more sensational than the book, but by and large it’s faithful to the true account in the autobiography. A harrowing read but one that is informative and very moving.
So that was my month in books and the last two set me to wondering if anyone had any thoughts on good film adaptations of books or some horrendous examples? And what about women in power, or the way older women are sidelined on TV, or the whole nightmare of trolling? Looking forward to some lively comments.