When I was young, we had family friends that were in a unique situation – two families, each with two girls. The couples then swapped partners (not in a tawdry way, it was just how it worked out…), and then both had two more girls each. My family was friends with both families (pre and post swap) – one family lived down the road, I went to school with the kids from the other. It was this bizarre, fascinating mix of sisters, half-sisters, step-children and parents.
Those that have read Ann Patchett’s brilliant new novel, Commonwealth, will understand why I started with that anecdote. For those that haven’t read it, know that the first line is one of the most appealing I’ve come across in a long time –
“The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.”
Hurrah! A story where gin is the protagonist in the first chapter. Continue reading
I’ve read 105 Kindle samples this year – downloading sample chapters is better than impulse buying books… I think. Of the 105 I’ve read, I’ve said ‘yes’ to 57. Of those that I’ve said yes to, a bunch I’ve now read (or have in the TBR pile), thanks to the library, ARCs and a gift.
However, if I buy the remaining 49 books, it kind of destroys all the gains I’ve made on reducing the TBR stack this year. So, I’ve narrowed it down to 15 that I’m busting to read. Continue reading
This is my community service to book bloggers – a list of the books that appear most frequently on all of the lists I listed on Best Books of 2016 – A List of Lists. So before I have to write the word ‘list’ again, here it is, the 2016 Commonly-Agreed-by-the-People-Who-Publish-Best-of-2016-Book-Lists-Before-December-31 top 36 books. Continue reading
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. Continue reading
Books that intimidate. That is the topic of The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday for this week. It had me thinking for a bit… And then had me facing an uncomfortable truth.
Size of a book? Not a problem, although big books and I do have commitment issues (Edward Rutherford’s New York is case in point – at 860 pages in the world’s tiniest font I’m not sure I have the stamina).
Topic? I can’t think of a topic that intimidates me as such, although there are some things that I have simply no interest in reading about.
Here’s the thing. I’m an absolute book pusher (that’s the uncomfortable truth bit). Ask anyone who’s told me they’ve never read any John Irving. And so to the intimidating bit – books that are favourites of friends/bloggers, whose taste in reading matter I trust.
When someone says that I must read a particular book I automatically get nervous – what if I don’t like it? And yet I’m always pressing books on others. So, it’s time to man up. I either read all of the books on the list below (the favourites of friends and other bloggers, you know who you are) or I stop pressing books that I love on other people. Fair’s fair and all that. Continue reading
Let’s hope the 2012 Orange Prize doesn’t go the same way of this year’s Pulitzer! Continue reading