January Summary

Books

Sense of Ending by Julian Barnes: This is a film also and as lots of insight into thoughts it must very different to book (I have not watched). Although lots of thoughts it was a concise, slim read with a good twist and left questions unanswered.

Nutshell Ian MacEwan

Nutshell by Ian McEwan pre book club review (contains spoilers)

Did not make it to the book club.

Woolworth girls by Elaine Everest. Lots of misfortune in this war time saga. Mainly focussed on one character therefore did not get same insight into all characters.

Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend. About imagined scenario of royal family being exiled. Some humour in it, but as published 10 years ago feels a little dated for example, prior to Prince William and Kate’s wedding.

Films

Darkest Hour

The post

Three  Billboards

Best Picture Oscar

Theatre

Everbodies talking about Jamie.

Day trip to London 20th January 2018 Part 5: Everybody’s talking about Jamie; “Sometimes you have got to take life by the balls…

 

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Nutshell by Ian McEwan pre book club review (contains spoilers)

Although a short book (199 pages), there is a lot of words for not much action. There is basically one big thing that happens … the murder. The other event should have been the birth but, that is covered in just one paragraph and I did not like that paragraph . Writing about being given birth to is pretty difficult as (luckily) none of us remember it, but the description seemed empty devoid of adjectives describe the sensations; squelching, crushing, suffocating and finally all encompassing fresh air … Instead it felt very cliched like the “Panama canal’.

The concept of telling the story from a fetuses point of view was an interesting concept. At times the narrative is from an all seeing point of view but, at other points, great lengthens are taken to emphasise what the fetus did not know like explaining how knew restaurant candle lit because that was discussed. I found this jarring it would be better not to explain what fetus did not know; How did the fetus know so much language, yet not know other basics? Also how did the fetus not realise that John and Claude were bothers earlier just because he did not know Claude’s surname?

It is probably not my preferred type of book as I prefer more story. If it had been longer, I may have found tedious. Having also watched the BBC version of MacEwan’s Child of our time which had an intriguing (baffling) ending; I would not rule out reading another of MacEwan. Perhapas Amsterdam, just because I loved the place.

Teaser Lines From The Books I’m Reading Now

I saw this on Small Town Rambler who originally got it from So Many Books so Little Time

https://smalltownramblingssite.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/teaser-tuesday-my-absolute-darling/

“I like to share a glass with my Mother” You may never have experienced, or you will have forgotten, a good burgundy (her favourite) or a good Sancerre (also her favourite) decanted through a healthy placenta” p6

Placenta is not a typo! It is from Nutshell by Ian MacEwan which starts with narrative from a baby in it’s Mother’s womb hence placenta. I have only read it before bed twice. It has quite big words so not ideal bed time reading. The concept of baby in womb is interesting. Last autumn I saw a tv adaption of Child of Our Time by Ian MacEwan and the ending was quite weird, so I’m expecting weirdness from this book.

I’m reading this for book club at the beginning of February. I thought we were doing it for March so when I realised I had to interrupt the book I was reading…

” Charles shouted, ‘ If I had been allowed to marry Camilla when we were young and first in love, there would’ve no question about her status in this family'”

Not sure if there are many couples called Charles and Camilla but to clarify this is Prince Charles the Queen’s eldest son and his wife Camilla. The book is Queen Camilla By Sue Townsend. It is an imagined scenario of the UK becoming a republic and the dethroned royal family forced to live in a exclusion zone which is a big brother setting with close surveillance including tags on ankles. It was published 10years ago and already feels dated. Not sure if this is because Prince William is single or because of Townsend writing style.

My Husband The Stranger The Discussion: Contains SPOILERS

Whilst I enjoyed reading this, I did feel given the subject matter it could have been more gritty. There was too much perfection. Alex was too perfect, before the accident. Molly was presented as perfect, but reading the dialogue of when Molly first meets the twin she just sounded very dumb; it is hard to get what the boys saw in her. Molly’s appearance is never described in the book apart from hinting about her bump at the end.

The end is the main point where everything is too perfect. Really would Life have been so smooth? Alex( still had the same problems. It is cliche thetdhe is pregnant in the perfect happy ending.

Towards the end, it feels like it is building to a dramatic conclusion but, does not deliver. The reveal of the accident is not a twist or a great surprise. At the end of the day it was an accident; Graeme did not do anything cold blooded and calculating; he lashed out in the heat of the moment. Throughout the book it was hinted that Graeme felt responsible. It was not hard to guess that they were arguing at the time of the accident. The decision Molly makes not to tell anyone about what really happened is not really momentous, it makes sense; it was an accident so what good would telling do? Space apart does work out but perhapas that is another example of the perfect ending.

The sub plot with Nicola comes to nothing. The history with the twin’s parents is inconsequential in the ending. Perhapas a twist could have been the argument being about the Mother’s death and a reveal that Alex was not innnocent in that. Not that Graeme was guility in either case; both his twin and Mother seem to have had tragic accidents which he was associated with.

I have been quite harsh here but I did enjoy the read. Yes it was not gritty but instead it was a light pleasant read.

Book Scavanger from My Husband the Stranger by Rebecca Done

I found this on pintrest. I used My Husband the Scavanger by Rebecca Done which I was part way through for the Scavanger. Some of the items were very basic; but I to google other items.


Proper Noun
The two main places in the book are London and Norfolk which are both in England.


Two pages quotation marks 

There is a lot of dialogue in the book. I have picked p4 which introduces the main character Molly and her husband Alex. Her husband has a brain impairment following accident . This dialogue at the beginning of the book shows how his neurological issues like lack of smell and not being able to think clearly impacts Molly.


The second page I have chosen is from the first chapter from Alex’s persepective; p28. It is describing their first meeting which involved confusion with Alex’s twin brother Graeme.


One thing that was funny?

Not a book with many light moments but, perhapas the mix up in the extract above on p29 could be described as a funny situation.

One thing the main character wants

The main character is Molly she wants her husband back to full health; the man she fell in love with.

Two charterestics of main character

Loyal, over thinker.

One way similar to main character

Overthinker

Two ways not similar to main character

1.Not married

2. As not married, not experienced having someone that level of special.

Two adjectives
Clandestine

This is used to describe Alex secretly meeting his ex girlfriend on P22


3 words to describe the setting

On p69 the cottage Alex inhertited from his Father, which him and Molly was in the process of renovating a the time of the accident I’d described as dark cavern with rotting windows.

A new word

Inglenook
This is the alcoves either side of a fireplace. It is used in descriptions of Molly and Alex’s Norfolk Home.

Two vivid verbs
I think frenzied is a vivid verb, it is used towards the end of the book as the story builds to a climax. Also in the last section is oozing.

One thing heavier than a dictionary

The iron coffee table that Alex bangs his head on.

Two things smaller than a baseball

Alex enjoys playing snooker and golf. In both sports the balls used are smaller than a baseball.

Three beautiful things 

Alex is an artist and at least three of his drawings are mentioned.

Two contractions

He’ll

It’s

Two things that can be inferred from the text.

What? I don’t know!!!

The copyright date

2017

One place book was published

India

The dedication

Was at the end of the book

CONCLUSION 

An interesting scenario and multiple layers introduced but, not very gritty.  It could have gone a lot deeper considering the situation instead it was fairly light, including the ending where it had felt  like  the story was building to a climax but then; the end is not really very dramatic. It may not be gritty with a an ending that leaves a big impact but it is a pleasant read that gives you plenty to think about.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar and other Anne Frank related posts

Today on Boxing Day, I have just finished The Annexed by Sharan Dogar. Starting the book, it was very vivid after visiting Amsterdam, earlier in the year. I could imagine the street and some of the rooms; not so much how the warehouse fitted in as don’t think see that. I liked that Anne was not glorified; it is described how Peter found her irritating. As the book continues they become closer, at this point I became less keen to read as you know it is not going to be a happy ending and there is no suspense. Partly,  I read it intermittently as book was at my parents but also I chose to start other books whilst at my parents. Sitting down to read it on Boxing Day, after a while I ended up reading blog posts about Anne Frank; I realised it was about 20years since read Anne Frank’s diary so could not remember details. Below are highlights of what I read. 

It would be interesting to have read Anne Frank’s diary and Annexed side by side. Annexed reference’s the diary albeit changing sequence of events; it includes some footnotes about alterations. It talks about romantic tension between Anne, Margot and Peter which you can imagine happening with teenagers in intimate, isolated environment but; I can not remember from the diary. In Annexed Peter asks Anne not to write about their closeness; so could it be this was not explicitly written in the diary. Anne rewrote her diary; conscious of recording the experience for public so it is not a private, raw venting diary.

The last part of Annexed is the time in the camp. I do not like all the italics breaking up the writing.

Someone else’s review of Annexed.

 https://albertaninmtliteratureblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/module-six-annexed/

A post about alternative view that those in the annex were found by accident rather than betrayed. https://givemeliberty01.com/2017/10/16/anne-frank-may-not-have-been-betrayed/ 
 A review of Anne Frank diary. https://thebookllama.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/anne-frank-the-diary-of-a-young-girlhaunting-and-hopeful/

Another alternative to Anne Frank’s diary is discussed in this post where women who knew Anne Frank are interviewed.

http://thereandtheir.com/2017/08/28/the-last-seven-months-of-anne-frank-book-review/