Yes. Its recently been Canada Day. Kate and Will popped in for scones with jam and cream, and because I was moving in, (and even though I begged them not to,) a huge firework display was put on in the neighbourhood. And in honour of this country that I live in, I will be attempting to read Canadian authors more widely.
Which is the perfect segue to talking about the Random House Inc Book Challenge. Life hasn’t really lent itself to reading very much over the last couple of months. Living in a house with nine families and 15 children tends to make silence – or even just peace and quiet – a hard commodity to come by, and the lack of books to write about will reveal just how very different my life has been from earlier in the year. Joyfully I am moving into my own home soon and when everything is settled, the pleasure of reading will once again be mine.
So for better or worse, here is a combined reading list for April, May and June.
The Italian Matchmaker – Santa Montefiore
I loved it. Pure and simple. The imagery. The story line , whilst I don’t hold to the ideas about the afterlife sprouted by the author in her spiel about her inspiration, was perfect in its execution.
Sarahs Key – Tatiana de Rosney
One scene, where the author writes about the mothers and children being separated brutally had me weeping. I could feel the mothers panic, desperation and despair. I could sense the children’s fear. Gut wrenching and an eye opener for many I’m sure about the involvement and behaviour of many French people during WW2 .
Mini Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
Same old same old. I had hoped that the character might have started to grow up and stop being so utterly daft, but it appears I am the only reader who is hoping for character development and growth. The whole series appears to have become little more than a formulaic cash cow for writer and publisher.
Eternal on the Water – Joseph Manning
I don’t often read books by men – not sure why that is, but I am grateful that I picked up this one. Although the end of the story felt a little rushed, perhaps forced to fit into a predetermined word count set by a publisher, the characters felt real and the sadness at the obvious demise still left me hurting.
Plain Truth – Jodi Picoult
OK. So I didn’t see the twist in the tail/tale, but once again, Picoult has written a book that was entertaining and easy to spend time dwelling on. I think I would have liked more about the life of the Amish people, but that could be because I’ve had a lifelong fetish with Amish people and love peeking into their world.
Dreaming in English – Laura Fitzgerald
I had to look up this book on the library webpage to read what it was about, so I guess you can read into that what you will. It was a little too perfectly wrapped up at the end for me, and totally unrealistic. Keep in mind that I am friends with a woman who is currently battling Immigration right now. She is more than capable of being a productive member of society, educated, willing and eager to study and work and still faces deportation in four months. I wish everything was as happily ever after as this book suggests.
Aprons on a Clothesline – Traci Depree
Book three in a series about an apparently ‘Any Town USA’, I didn’t realise that it was technically part of the ‘inspirational’ genre of books – code for Christian novels. Not that I have an issue with that at all. And I actually appreciated that it wasn’t ‘preachy preachy’, but overall the book hasn’t stayed in my memory over the past few months, so I have nothing more to write about it.
The Other Family – Joanna Trollope
An entertaining cautionary tale revealing the truth in the idiom “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Some of the characters were annoying – they could have done with a slap or two – but overall, I could read this book to the end without wondering when the ending was ever going to come.
The Wishing Chair Collection – Enid Blyton
Read this series of books to Bronwen as her first foray into chapter books. The adult in me sniggered at how totally judgemental, class oriented Blyton was in her writing, but the pleasure of a little girl asking for ‘just one more chapter Mummah’ is timeless.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake – Aimee Bender
This particularly interesting book was somehow twisted into something a little bizarre in the end… but was still an absorbing read.
Home Truths – Jill McLean
Interesting to read the build up and explosion of violence in a domestic situation. Would be nice if society did step in when they gained the knowledge of abuse and did something about it. But then, that would require people to look beyond themselves, take a risk in getting to know their neighbours and saying something in a particularly awkward situation.
The Prairie Bridesmaid – Daria Salamon
So much of the insights of this character reveal much of what has occurred in my life of late. Painfully personal for me to read and impossible to write about.
The Girls – Lori Lansens
Such an unexpected story topic… craniopagus twins! It was interesting to see the change in strength between the two sisters over the course of the story. No real surprise in the end – the twists and turns come inside the novel itself.
The Forgotten Garden – Kate Morton
Glorious. The perfect overlapping of several characters, one mystery and history blended with current day life. Cannot wait for this authors other book to land in my ‘inbox’ at the library. Absorbing, well written and utterly believable. The twist is one you always knew was coming in the back of your head; actually I thought there was something even more sinister than what was revealed, but satisfying in the end.
I hope that as soon as I get settled and find my way to the local library I can resume my reading habit!