So a word about reading. This is my happy place. I am reading obsessed.
I tend to have 3 books on the go at any one time.
Book 1 has to be a library book. Since having kids I am in the library a lot. I think it is really important to make reading fun for children and I also think it is important that my children see me reading. Libraries are a wicked resource that we should massively support.
Book 2 has to be one of the many unread books on my book shelf. This is mainly because I have a book addiction and if I don’t read what is on my shelves the books will take over the house.
Book 3 is a dip in and out book. Poetry , play, something more factual.
Without further ado…..
This was my library book.
I really liked the blurb about this book mainly because it is a family saga. The story is told through 3 women. Grandmother Betsy, Aunt Bel and daughter Hetta. The story essentially centres around a devastating accident which changes all the lives of the Tye family but in particular between cousins Cele and Will.
I love a good family epic, but I felt this book was lacking something. Because the story is told as memories of the three women, it feels somehow detached. I also really wanted to hear from Cele. I think the combination of the memoir concept and the lack of Cele’s voice made me struggle to really care about the characters even though what they were going through was so emotional.
My favourite character’s voice was Betsy, mainly because it focused on WW2 and the fact that Betsy’s husband was a Concientious Objector. This was a slant to the story which I found really interesting in particular how the father’s political views affected the lives of the rest of the family.
The other interesting topic the book brought up was euthanasia……
‘So what should I do?’ I asked. ‘You know something about the sanctity of life but is there not a sanctity of death? There are occasions where there is such a thing as a good death, wouldn’t you say?’
This is topic I have thought about a lot since reading the book and it is impossible to not be moved by the plight of the characters but I think it’s the subject itself rather than Vickers’s writing that has made me think.
Book 2. I read this for my book club and I have to say I was really looking forward to it. There was so much hype around this book that I was massively intrigued. I also loved the idea of the pictures and it has to be said that the look of the book is great. Having said that, it is really hard to read such a hyped book with an open mind. Will the book ever live up to expectations? Also reviewing a YA novel as a 36 year old is also quite tricky. Without a doubt my 14,15,16 year old self would have loved it.
My 14 year old self would have loved the photos. Would have thought they were absolutely amazing. 36 year old me is slightly more cynical. It seems a little paint by numbers. Briggs describes a character and the next page is a picture of said character. So far so good. Unfortunately it gets a bit silly when you see a photo of some silly squiggles which are then described as Horace’a premonition. The same as the photo of the girl smoking a pipe and peeling potatoes. Really???? Did Briggs just find these photos and think ‘yup, I’ll just chuck ’em in the book.’
Sometimes I’d find a new photo that just demanded to be included in the story, and I’d find a way of working it in; other times I’d look for a certain type of photo to fit a story idea I had.
I started questioning what the book would be like without the pictures?? This is slightly unfair as the pictures are a massive part of the book. Nevertheless, I don’t think the story alone is that impressive. All in all, I did enjoy it but I wasn’t blown away.
Should I read the other 2 in the trilogy????
So with reading 3 books at a time I thought it would be a good think to read an book that would take me out of my comfort zone. I am a poetry novice. I have not read any poetry since A Level English and even then I am embarrassed to say it was a bit of a chore. I think maybe I just haven’t found my thang so my plan is to dedicate a bit of time to discover what it is I like. I don’t want to be one of those people who hate all seafood because they dislike prawns. I need to be open minded and challenge myself.
This book has been sitting on my shelf since Xmas. It is perfect to dip in and out. Alan Bennett’s commentary is brilliant and I think I preferred a lot of his words to the poems in question. His words on Larkin’s This Be The Verse:
Even if Larkin hadn’t got on with his parents, I still think he was wrong to complain about it. If your parents do fuck you up and you’re going to write, that’s fine because then you’ve got something to write about. But if they don’t fuck you up, then you’ve got nothing to write about, so then they’ve fucked you up good and proper.
So what new poems did I discover and love….
Last Words to a Dumb Friend Thomas Hardy
Trilogy for X Louis MacNeice
Les Sylphides Louis MacNeice
I will definitely keep reading poetry. I love the challenge and I thinkit completely centres the mind as I have to really concentrate.
What are my next 3 books???
All 3 books are to do with mothering/child rearing. I have already started the Kevin Wilson and I am loving it. I decided to look at the Biddulph as my 4 year old daughter is already asking me if I think she is pretty. She is insisting of wearing 10 (yes 10) hairbands at a time because with only 1 she is ugly. Terrifying and something I don’t feel equipped to deal with. And The Mormon Girl…..well this is just a subject I want to know more about.
Anyway thank you for looking at my blog.