It’s a bunch of random thoughts. Some are about books. Others are about beds, vague-booking and same-sex marriage. Join in the fun at Bookishly Boisterous.
1. Further to my Best Books of 2013 List of Lists last week, I spotted this nifty infograph (above) on Twitter that rounds up the book titles that most critics have cited in their 2013 Best-of lists (via @Angelo85) Continue reading
Ian McEwan – he’s pretty much the master of creating moral entanglements out of the simplest of circumstances. He does it with a particular brand of sharp observation and strong characters. And he’s used all of his signature moves in Amsterdam.
I’ve had Sweet Tooth in my reading stack since it was released but on the basis of a friend’s recommendation, I picked up Amsterdam instead – she reckons it’s his best. Interesting. Here’s my history with McEwan (in the order that I read them) -
- Atonement – loved, still think about it
- Enduring Love – intriguing beginning but no enduring love
- On Chesil Beach – loved, short but intense
- Saturday – can’t really remember anything at all about it – not what you want
- Solar – laughed hard at one scene, the rest – meh.
So where does Amsterdam fall into this mix? After Atonement and On Chesil Beach but before Solar and Enduring Love. Continue reading
I made a (little cranky, ranty) mention yesterday about the number of ‘Best Books of 2013′ lists being published in November. Because clearly the people who compile these lists don’t read in December.
I read in December – I guess I have time because I don’t write a column about books for the New York Times…
Anyway, one of the best books I read last year was Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears, read in the last half of December. So readers, you may still have THE book of 2013 ahead of you.
But if you are yet to discover THE BEST BOOK OF 2013, here are some ‘Best of…’ lists. It’s a list of lists – go forth and add to your TBR stack. Continue reading
Christine at Bookishly Boisterous started this meme – get amongst it.
1. There’s a lot of ‘Best of 2013′ book lists out… Don’t these people read in December*?
2. Finished two books on the same day this week – Back to Back by Julia Franck and Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. Unless you’ve read both you won’t understand how weird it was to have chosen those books to be read at the same time. And to finish them within hours of each other. Continue reading
I was grossly under-prepared for the intensity of Julia Franck’s Back to Back. Which is probably why I found it so disturbing.
The story begins in 1954, and centers around a single family living in Berlin in the socialist East. The mother, Käthe, is a sculptor, who has been leveraging her party connections in order to get more significant commissions. Devoted entirely to becoming a success, she is a cruel and completely unaffectionate mother, putting the socialist party above her children – Thomas, Ella and (unnamed and mostly absent) twin girls. She treats her children as if they were adults – there is no bourgeois mollycoddling in her household.
“Käthe was hardly ever happy, but she was proud.” Continue reading
Get your Regency game pants on – there’s another Jane Austen board game on offer. Continue reading
Welcome to the Stressed Edition of Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts, hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. Continue reading
Swap cards. My first ‘collection’ and my first obsession. Continue reading
“He would be first, everything would be alright when he came first, all would be put back in place. When he thought of being the best, only then did he feel calm.”
Barracuda is a story about winning, shame, society, identity, family and friendships. It picks at the Australian obsession with sporting heroes – how quick we are to hold them up and equally, cut them down. Continue reading
I thought I had read everything Nick Hornby had written when I was in my twenties and early thirties. Wrong. I missed A Long Way Down (and I’m afraid to say it’s meant that I haven’t finished the Hornby catalogue on a good note…hurry up Nick and write another excellent book). Continue reading