JUNE 2019 READING ROUND-UP

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Book Bloggers have been posting their mid-year reports: Best Reads to Date, progress with club challenges, personal targets, Goodreads 2019 goals, and the like. Way to go, bookworms! Currently I’m not in the mood for competitive statistics, so no report from me.
However, I have managed to progress through some of my languishing TBR pile. This month I tackled The Siege of Krishnapur. The small print had kept me at bay for some years, but last week, in a now or never mood, I read a few pages, and realised what a great read lay ahead of me. It won the 1973 Booker Prize. Reading the novel made me realise how Booker tastes and judges have changed over the following forty years. Farrells’s book offers a straightforward story, based on historical diaries, letters and records of the Indian Mutiny, but from a satirical and wry perspective of the British in Colonial mode. I read the book slowly, with much enjoyment and realised how grateful I am to live in an age not so hidebound by social convention, as portrayed in the novel.

 
Most unusually for me, I re-read a short French novel. Usually I am blundering around in the vast lands of the Back Lists and trying to get into the new territory of current hits, so I can’t indulge in re-reads, but The Reader on the 6.27 was irresistible.

FICTION
The Reader on the 6.27 – Jean-Paul Didierlaurent . A re-read; just as quirky and charming the second time around. If you enjoy French novels – read this.
The Siege of Krishnapur – J G Farrell. The British Raj in all their ignorance and arrogance. Authentic sense of time, place and people. Recommended.

NON-FICTION

Self-Helpless   – Rebecca Davis . An exploration of Cape Town’s Self Help & Wellness world. A real eye opener. Recommended.

The Forger’s Tale – Shaun Greenhalgh. Reviewed on this blog.https://wordpress.com/post/thebooksmithblog.wordpress.com/754

Frankly, my Dear – Shelley Klein. Wit, vitriol and barbed comments from Hollywood. Stars, screen writers, gossip columnists, the famous and the infamous – they’re all here; a wonderful book to dip into for a quick five or ten minute read.  Each read ending in a laugh.

4 thoughts on “JUNE 2019 READING ROUND-UP

  1. I didn’t know what to expect when I read The Siege of Krishnapur and ended up thinking it was utterly brilliant. You’re so right about Booker tastes changing, though. I can’t imagine Farrell getting anywhere with it in 2019. I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing (hooray for opening up the academy!), but it’s such a stark reminder when you read something that’s, in some places, almost willfully opaque about its tone–whether it’s meant to be dark satire or totally straight or something in between–that there are a trillion different ways to write a novel.

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    1. As you so correctly remark”|: a million ways to write a novel. I think everybody is so achingly politically correct that Farrell’s book would not get a look-in nowadays.

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      1. I think I concluded that it was satire, and I’m not sure if it’s the content that would debar Farrell in 2019 so much as it is the style. But then that changes every couple of decades anyway!

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