One of the things I love doing, one of things that a make a margin for on my life, is reading. Novels.
Making time for myself involves making time to read, going to my bookclub, going to the theatre about six times a year and going to weekly French lessons. I wish I had more time to other things I’d like to do, and have to do: to garden and to exercise. But we can’t have everything. I would have to make such big margins around my work that I wouldn’t do even half what I am required to do. It’s why I don’t understand people who say they have to find things to do, to fill their time for when they retire. Or when they tell me I will be bored if I retired.
No way! I’d be going to more language classes, exercise, garden, travel, explore my city, bake, hang out with friends more. But for now, I make time for reading.
Here’s some of my Goodbooks ratings with some brief reviews and reflections.
Commonwealth by Anne Pratchet. 4 stars. If I could give half stars, this would be a three and a half. But I’ve just finished it so feel generous. In a week, its nothingness will probably have me revise this to a three star. I like how the children’s view/memories of their lives change as they hear more parts, or parts are filled in my adults. This is a very visual book. Surely the film rights have been sold? A film within a book within a book within a film!?!
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arandhati Roy. 4 stars. But this should be higher than Commonwealth. Bugger Goodreads not allowing half stars. This is a difficult read on many levels. The narrative structure is challenging. More challenging is the content on torture. A deeply moving tale. There are paaaates of lyrical beauty, which reminded me of Roy’s first, and only, novel. Her book was the first where icread descriptive passages without skimming.
The Group by Mary McCarthy. 4 stars. I read this as it was recommended by the ABC TV show, The Bookclub. It is an amazing read. The challenges faced by the women are universal, if many details are specific for middle and upper middle class. Still they are not limited to 20s nor the period in which is was written, decades later.
My Lovely Wife: a memoir of madness and hope by Mark Lukach. Three stars. This is an eye opener on psychosis. And how selfish mental illness makes one.
A Winter Away by Elizabeth Fair. Four stars. I read this because it was recommended by my favourite book blogger, Book Snob. A lovely gentle escapist read. So soothing on the mind that I bought others by this author for when my mind cannot cope with a demanding novel.
The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières. Three stars. This is a mini-series in a novel. With an overriding story arc of the love life of one of the characters, the lives of different characters are explored. The result is similar to how one sister is described by another sister in the central family – we never really know them, despite being within the same house. The novel also begins by using different perspectives – switching between letters, various first person voices and third person narration. But seems to give this up in the second half, almost as if the story got away from the author and became a roaming soap opera that struggled to be contained, possibly jumping the shark two thirds of the way through. Or waiting for the final series to draw everything together, but the network already pulled the plug so the story had to be finished before the writer was ready to finish it. Those caveats aside, I enjoyed this read.
The Sroey of a new Name by Eleanor Ferrante. Four stars. While Vol 1 was fresh and original, and this volume became a little soapy, it is still a fantastic read – you feel the gritty, claustrophobic, limiting life of ignorance bred from poverty. Or is it poverty bred from ignorance?