I have had amazing feedback from College mums everywhere – the sidelines of the football field, New World Supermarket…as to how much they enjoy my blog. So here is my second one purely for the mothers of our darling boys. Now you just have to get said boys to make you a cuppa whilst you put your feet up in the school holidays and read.
I have been in temporary accommodation for the last eight weeks – feels like a lifetime of being stuck in a show box. The result is, I have read a lot.
I started by reading The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. The plot centres around a newly married couple who live totally isolated on Janus Rock – off the coast of Western Australia, half a day’s journey from the shore. The protagonist, Tom Sherbourne is lighthouse keeper. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and an infant. They make the decision to keep the baby and therein lies the mystery. This is a moving story about love and longing for a child and about good people and what happens when they make a bad decision.
“Sometimes life turns out hard, Isabel. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it’s done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk.”
It is descriptive and gorgeously written in the way that only Aussies can – think Tim Winton.
A teacher at school recommended The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I could just say – sigh – what a remarkable narrative. It is an enthralling saga that spans decades and lives, twining the personal and the political into an epic novel of love, magic, and fate. I was delighted with Clara the clairvoyant and fell in love with the rebel boy Pedro. If you are a fan of Spanish writing and magical realism with a bit of quirkiness thrown in, then this is a must read. It is layered, it is complex, and beautiful. It is the story of three generations of strong women, in a world where women are not supposed to be strong.
I then moved swiftly onto Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This is a much quicker read – in fact I read it in about three days. However, this is partly because after I had got used to the writer’s style, (it feels a bit YA at times), I simply had to get to the end and find out what had happened to the wife. Nick Dunne’s wife, Amy, disappears on their 5th wedding anniversary. Obviously, the police think the husband has something to do with it. But it is not as simple as that, for one thing there is no dead body. This book is fun – a mystery/crime with a few laughs. It is certainly not high literature but great for the beach and it takes you on some clever twists and turns along the way.
At the moment I am just coming to the end of The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. It was first published in 1933 and is a based on the real life of a upper middle class lady who has literary aspirations. I don’t normally like diary type books. But think of this as the original blogger. The writing is delightful – scattered, chatty, with often wry observations on her husband (perpetually hidden behind The Times), two children, nanny (“Mademoiselle”) and the line-up of village ladies that she is quite rude about. Her accounts of the daily doings, struggles with money and her perpetually sick children is the most humourous book that I have read in years. Delafield presents quite a dark take on British country life that makes me wish that I lived in Devon in the 1930’s.
Notice, and am gratified by, appearance of large clump of crocuses near the front gate. Should like to make charming and whimsical reference to these, and to fancy myself as ‘Elizabeth of the German Garden’, but am interrupted by Cook saying that the Fish is here, but he’s only brought cod and haddock, and the haddock doesn’t smell too fresh, so what about cod?”
It is a naturally satirical work that had me laughing out loud at the fate of the winter bulbs but saddened at her sorrow each time her son goes back to boarding school. (Who can resist owning a book with such a beautiful cover!)
My July reading list:
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – written from a dogs perspective
Perfect and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry both by Rachel Joyce – because everyone has been reading them and I feel like I am missing out…
A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler – the story of the woman behind F.Scott Fitzgerald. (I am secretly hoping for lots of scandal.)